Arcade's Greatest Hits 2


Review by Don Rogers







This month’s review item is somewhat of a surprise as I didn’t see it coming.  Midway managed to sneak out Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits Vol.2 for the Sega Dreamcast.  I was shocked to walk into a local Best Buy store and see it on the shelf, especially this late in the life of the system.  The collection contains a mix of classic Midway, Williams and Atari arcade games featuring Moon Patrol, Spy Hunter, Paperboy, Rampage, 720 degrees, and Gauntlet.  After picking up a copy I rushed home to check out this new crop of classics but at the same time I was a little worried about how well the games would be after seeing what happened with volume 1 of Greatest Hits series.

As with most people the game is the important part so into the Dreamcast it went.  After waiting for the inescapable company logo movies and credits screen to disappear I was presented with a composite image of digitized photos of the six games.  Selecting a game was easy enough to figure out with since you just use the d-pad to highlight each machine.  Each game has its own set of options which can be accessed by hitting the START button during the game. 

Moon Patrol was first on my list since it was the one game in the collection I had played during the past several months in the arcade.  The first thing that struck me was that the screen ratio was way off.  The arcade version used a horizontally mounted monitor but you couldn't tell from this version.  It pretty much looked like you could have played it on a vertically mounted monitor.  The game itself played great though.  I found myself whipping through stages and finally through the first level.  The memories came back from my days of youth when I would play this game at a local Showbiz Pizza restaurant.  The sound and graphics (except for the screen ratio) were dead on.  So far so good!

Next up is Gauntlet, the classic four player cooperative dungeon adventure game.  The initial screen told the story, and it was at the right ratio.  A quick check of the options screen allows me to increase the stats for longer play and make sure the voice feature is active.  The graphics and sounds are great, with even the voice overs sounding the same as they did in the arcade back in the mid-80's.  I used to get a bunch of friends together during the morning and head to the local Aladdins Castle for hours of gathering treasure, hunting for exits, avoiding death and slaying dungeon beasts.  After a quick twenty minutes of hacking and slashing and hearing "Warrior needs food badly" the test drive for this game was over. 

Which brings us to 720 degrees.  Never one of my favorite games from back in the day but one I always enjoyed watching others play because of the then high resolution graphics of the game and unique 360 degree lever/controller allowing for some eye catching moves.  The Dreamcasts analog control stick lends itself well to this version of the game.  It was pretty much as I remembered it, more fun to watch good players play than to play it myself.  The graphics are crisp and clean and at the correct ratio.  The control is the same as the arcade classic and the sound is again dead on.  This is one of those games I wish I was good at but it is just not meant to be.

Ahh Rampage!  A game I can sink my teeth into (pun intended.)  Another multiplayer game but this time leaning more towards the competitive side.  This one has you playing the role of either a giant gorilla, lizard or wolf with goal of destroying tall buildings in cities all over the country.  Compared to the updated versions of this game that appeared in the arcade and on the Playstation during the 1990's it is a bit slow but still runs at the original games speed.  It's still fun to play though, especially with three players going at once.  Another great version of a classic game and a very welcome member to the collection!

Although I spent my teen years working in a grocery store I still enjoy playing Paperboy.  Another Atari classic that has seen many versions released for many different platforms over the years.  This game featured high resolution graphics similar to 720 degrees. Paperboy uses an isometric style playfield in which your mission is to deliver papers to your loyal customers and gain new ones, all the while avoiding kids, dogs, fist fighting neighbors, wreckless drivers and a host of other career ending obstacles.  So far so good!

Last but not least is an all time classic known as Spy Hunter.  Spy Hunter has had a rabid following for years.  This one presents you with an overhead view of the action as you race along in your car (and speedboat later in the game) as you destroy enemy agents, avoid road hazards, collect power-ups from your weapons van and avoid hitting any innocent civilians.  The action is fast and furious throughout the game with an added bonus of having a variation of the Peter Gunn theme song playing in the background.  The emulation on this title is top notch when it comes to the graphics, sound and gameplay.  The original game sported a custom steering wheel similar to ones found on an airplane, with the addition of two thumb and two finger triggers, gear shift lever and foot pedal.  The Dreamcast controller is one of the better controllers out there but even it doesn't give that arcade control feel to the game.  Despite this the game is a fine crown jewel in this collection.

Overall Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 2 is a winner if you're a classic gamer and a great value even if you only have a passing interest in old school arcade games.  Unfortunately the collection doesn't include any extras like video interviews with the creators or any cool production artwork like that found on other classic game collections, but given the eleventh hour nature of this release it is a welcome addition to the Dreamcast library.

 Available for $19.99 or less at your local Dreamcast emporium!!=


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:28 PM