Midway GAH 2 - Mini Review

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Dec 2, 2001, 10:54:10 PM12/2/01
Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 2: I picked this up yesterday at
Best Buy for $10. I've got to admit a little bias because I feel good
about supporting:

A) Anyone releasing a new Dreamcast game these day
B) Legal emulation

The six games in the collection are:

Spy Hunter
Paper Boy
Moon Patrol

No sense describing the games. Let's face it, if you don't already
know what they are, this disk isn't for you. But I can talk a little
bit about the emulation and how these games hold up.

The fact is, this is a cheapo-quickie release and it shows. But it's
priced at $10, so you should expect that and can't really compain. You
get no extras with this disk, just the games themselves and one menu
screen with really cheesy rederings of six arcade machines. Oh wait,
you do get some loooong unskipable spash screens, including the
developer, Digital Eclipse. Note to Digital Eclipse - long unskipable
spash screens *do* make people remember your name - and HATE you.

As I said, it's a rush job and it shows. The lack of extras hurt the
visual presentation. MGAH1 did a really good job showing some of the
portrait mode arcade games on a landscape TV. Borders were filled it
on some, others allowed you to expand the screen giving you a bigger
picture, but losing pieces of it. No borders here, no special options
other than just being able to move the picture around. The manual
claims that you have an expansion option, and perhaps I'm just too
dumb to figure you where that option is, but I sure don't see it.

So the portrait games end up looking really ugly - especially Rampage.
Gauntlet doen't really have screen fitting problems, but looks much
blurrier than it should. I know that the tan blob is an XXX-jug
representing food, but I doubt anyone who has never seen the game
could possibly see what it is. Paperboy is really the only game that
looks good (and even there, there are either some color-palate issues,
or I'm just misremember the original colors.)

The emulation itself is somewhat spotty. Take Paperboy. There is very
noticable disc access between the delervery sections of the game and
the trainging courses. So all of a sudden the music cuts out, you hear
loud disc access, and then the training course music cuts in 4 second
late. Why you can't fit Paperboy into the Dreamcast memory is beyond
me. Or why it takes 14 blocks of memory to store the high scores and
setting really is equally baffling.

These are mostly minor peeves that don't affect gameplay. The one
thing that does really bug me is that there doesn't seem to be a way
to play anyone other than Warrior in Gauntlet without plugging in
multiple controlers. (Again, I may just be really dense and there is a
way to do this, but it ain't obvious.)

With all the complaints aside, I'm happy with my $10 buy. It's $10 and
I'm going to get a lot of fun out of it. Gauntlet is going to be the
real winner here. The game gets old quickly single player, but is
going to be a blast 4-player multiplayer (something that just doesn't
work with MAME and a computer.) The gameplay in Paperboy really holds
up well over the years, and the control works well with the Dreamcast
controller. Moon Patrol is probably going to be most people's least
favorite game, but it has huge nostalgia for me, so I like it.

On the other hand... Spy Hunter has always been too hard to be fun for
me, and it seems extra hard with the Dreamcast pad. The gameplay with
Rampage has always been terrible - it's the fun visuals that make it
work. None of the charm of those visuals comes through with the extra
ugly picture you get here, so I don't expect a lot of play.

720's the one game I'm not sure about. The control seems really off
with the Dreamcast pad, so right now I can't get anywhere with this.
But I had the exact same problem with MAME and 720. Then, once I got
used to controlling it with a Gravis Pad, I had a blast, so I hope the
same thing happens here.

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