Game: Midway Arcade Origins
Platform: PS3, X-Box 360
Publisher/Developer: Midway/Warner Bros Games
Genre: Various (Full game list at end of article)
Describe This Game in Three Words: Total Carnage Rocks!
Plot Synopsis: 31 games from the classic Midway arcade library are all gathered together for one outing on your seventh generation system. You know how weird it is to watch Super Off Road on a widescreen plasma TV? Still fun though.
Up Up: Back when I was a lad, the difference between arcade and home versions was pretty well defined. Sure, the NES version of Rampage and Spy Hunter were fine, but they didn't hold up to the dedicated arcade cabinets. Now, we get a picture perfect translation of all the classic games in one convenient package.
And you know what? Games like Gauntlet and Smash TV and especially Total Carnage are still fun as balls. Why did the multi-directional top-down shooter have to die? It's custom built for the dual joystick world and the only game I've played in two years to really try and capture that magic was Voltron. Even that wasn't as cool as attacking the giant robotic head of Hitler in Total Carnage again. It was like Rambo meets Zelda, and every moment of it is a cackling good time.
Not to mention the fact that games like Spy Hunter and Toobin' still hold up perfectly well, even though they are probably geared more toward the handheld and phone crowd. On the other hand, we saw what the handhelds did with Spy Hunter already, and I'll take the 8-bit original over the mediocre follow up any day.
Down, Down: Strangely, playing the game on free play, which was every kid's dream back when you got to watch the machine eat your quarters, isn't nearly as fun as you'd think it would be. By limiting your ability to infinite continue you can compete on a leaderboard, but even that seems sort of pointless really.
The game could also use a bit more controller customization. The shoulder buttons in particular suffer from a lack of use.
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Left, Right, Left, Right: These are games from when you had only the most simple controller technology, so you really can't complain. That being said, playing Marble Madness with a thumbstick is not nearly as easy as you would think it would be. On the other hand, that game was already ridiculously difficult, so maybe it's just me.
B, A: Rampage was one of my favorite games as a kid. What kid wouldn't want to be a giant monster eating people. It was nice to finally get to play as Ralph the giant wolf. Granted, there is not noticeable difference in play, but it was still kind of neat to have what was taken from us in home adaptations.
Did you know they are thinking of making a Rampage movie?
Start?: This is a toughie. If you happen to know a gamer in his 30s, I would recommend it strictly for the nostalgia value. If nothing else, I cannot stress the worth of killing Hitler's giant cybernetic head in Total Carnage. That alone is worth the price of play. At times, the games merely remind you that stuff like Gauntlet and Marble Madness deserve some remakes, but it's still a hell of a way to kill an afternoon. Look at me. I have an entire arcade at my fingertips and I'm bitching.