Call me a sucker for everything retro. When I heard that Midway Arcade Origins was coming to Xbox 360 I knew that I had to get it. Of course every time they offered a compilation of old school classics I ended up buying it no matter what console I had at the time, and Midway‘s retro offerings have been whored out on all of them to date. Sure nothing has changed since the time when I played most of these games back in the ’80s and early ’90s except for the fact is that this time there’s achievements. Challenge accepted! Now where do I insert the virtual tokens?

PROS:

More Than 30 Classic Games
Actually there are 31 games which solidifies the more than 30 games message in the advertising. Some of the games I really enjoyed including Smash TV, Total Carnage, Defender, Sinistar, Joust, Arch Rivals, Rampage, and more. Of course there’s some games in this collection that I wish would just die. Yes, I’m talking to you Pit Fighter and Spy Hunter 2. Overall this compilation of old school classics is quite enjoyable giving me some nostalgic memories of days gone by. This collection also has multiple ways of playing with Free Play where I can keep entering virtual quarters and play as long as I want, and Score Attack which only gives me a set number of lives. Score Attack is also the only way to unlock each game’s achievement.

CONS:

Terrible Controls
For a collection of games that have been faithfully emulated you would think a tweak or two in the control department would help. Sadly, that is not the case here. The main problems show up on titles that used trackball and steering wheel controls. The analog stick is the only alternative, but on games like Championship Sprint and even Marble Madness it can prove to be quite a pain in the ass to control. I’ve also noticed a slight hiccup issue with the analog controls in Smash TV. I don’t get it. The controls work great on the XBLA version. Why not on this one?

No Online Multiplayer
Multiplayer is included with Midway Arcade Origins in the form of couch multiplayer, but I think this collection would be even better with some form of online multiplayer. The games that were available on Xbox Live Arcade, before their delisting, had online multiplayer making for some fun. Sadly, the only online functionality this set has is online leaderboards. Maybe the thought of being number one on the leaderboards is enough for some people since the days of these games was achieving a high score. Then there are games like Rampage, Arch Rivals, and others that are much better with some competition both online and on the couch.

Missing Games
While Midway Arcade Origins features an eclectic collection of games there are a few titles that have been omitted. Where’s NARC? It’s on all the other collections, but not here. Why? How about Pigskin 621 A.D.? Arch Rivals is here, why not this one? Primal Rage? Hydro Thunder? I could go on and on. Some people out there on the internet message boards have even mentioned the Mortal Kombat games. I guess they haven’t noticed yet, but those games are in one “Kollection” on Xbox Live Arcade. Hopefully WB Games has plans on a follow up down the road, because there are so many titles for at least another release.

IN CONCLUSION

Midway Arcade Origins clearly fills the need for retro gamers like myself with a nice compilation of classic titles, but the control issues on some games along with the omission of other titles sort of hurts it. Some of these games are fun for a long time, but there are others that have aged so badly that I’ll just play to earn the achievement and then steer clear of them forever. This is a collection for serious retro gaming fans. Everyone else (especially those born after the early ’90s) should give it at least a rental just to see what gaming was like in the early days.

Developer: WB Games
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-2 (local multiplayer)
Price: $29.99

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