Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review #403: Midway Arcade Treasures 3

 More like Arcade antiques, am I right?
 Midway Arcade Treasures 3 was the final compilation they released on PS2, this time focusing on Racing games. While this offering only housed 8 games, it features more modern, heavier games than previous volumes. It's also the only volume to focus on a single genre, whether that's a good or bad thing depends entirely on your taste.

 What I discovered while playing some of these games for the first time and replaying others is that... most of these haven't aged well, and most of them are good for arcade releases, but will feel lacking in content if held to console game standards. Also, most of the games were meant to be played with a steering wheel-type joystick, so the analog stick doesn't work quite as well due to the sensitivity of the steering.
 Super Offroad and Super Offroad track pack: An isometric four-player racing game, it's rather fun for what it is, and it's got a nice upgrade system that lets you enhance different parts of your vehicle after each race. Tracks start repeating after a while, sometimes having you race in the opposite direction, and controls are rather sluggish. The track pack is basically the same gameplay but on different tracks.
 5.0 out of 10

 Race Drivin is a very primitive 3-D first-person driving game. It's slow and clunky to a nigh unplayable degree. The game is nice to have as a curiosity of what the earliest days of 3-D were like, but as a game it's terrible.
 1.0 out of 10

 Badlands is, basically, Super Offroad on a post-apocalyptic setting. The same enhancement system is here, but now you can shoot against other racers.
 5.5 out of 10

 I think S.T.U.N. Runner could've been a fun game if only the hadn't botched the emulation on the PS2 version of this compilation. Basically the game runs faster, WAY faster than intended, which makes certain obstacles pretty much unavoidable. It's a bit different from other games, although you are being timed, you can only steer left and right to avoid obstacles, there's no acceleration button, and you also get to shoot at obstacles ahead of you. It's an interesting game, and it's possibly fun when running as intended. Possibly.
 3.0 out of 10

 Now we get into the good stuff, starting off with San Francisco Rush The Rock Alcatraz Edition, yeah, the title is quite a handful. You've probably got good memories about the game, but, sadly, it hasn't aged very well. Handling feels very clunky, and the once oh-so-fun physics now feel a bit wonky. There're 7 different tracks, and they are a pleasure to look at... sadly, the music is awful, just awful. And the sound design is absolutely terrible, the screeching tires will make your ears bleed. It's particularly grating since laps are rather long, and in between the annoying music and the horrible tire sounds... let's just say that extended play sessions will take a toll on the player.
 6.0 out of 10

 I had never played Offroad Thunder before, heck, I had never even heard of it, but boy was I pleasantly surprised! It features three different modes, which are basically all just variations of racing with a flag gimmick or a point based gimmick, that can be played on the same 8 tracks. Speaking of those, the courses are brilliantly designed, discovering them was quite a treat. The game does suffer from some hefty slowdown though.
 7.0 out of 10

 The bad news is that this is not an arcade perfect port of San Francisco Rush 2049, the good news is that this is a port of the Dreamcast enhanced port of said game. This means more modes, more tracks, more everything even a fun little multiplayer battle mode. Not only does this game look better than San Francisco Rush, it also looks better, sounds, plays better and smoother too. There're only six tracks total, with two being unlockable, but you can customize a lot of parameters, like number of laps, fog, wind or even if you want to race through the track the other way around. Rounding this up, you can also customize various parts of your car to personalize its stats, looks and style. San Francisco Rush 2049 is pretty good! Very skimpy on content, but very replayable.
 7.5 out of 10

 And lastly, the crown jewel of this collection, Hydro Thunder, and once again, we get the Dreamcast port of the game, which adds a few new tracks for a total of 12. The game plays like a dream, you must course through water and sea, collecting boost icons trying to beat all 15 other races. Tracks are gated behind how you perform in races, get Top 3 on all easy tracks to unlock medium, get top 2 on those to get hard tracks, etc. Sadly, this also means that if you're not good at the game, or don't care to get good at it, like me, you won't get the final 7 tracks, oh well! Hydro Thunder is a blast to play, and it's the best all-around package.
 7.5 out of 10

 If you ask me, how much mileage you'll get out of this compilation is directly tied to how much nostalgia these games manage to get out of you. A lot of the games simply haven't aged very well, some are better off left as curiosities, and the even a few the best games are lacking in depth and/or content.
 7.5 out of 10

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