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Midway has lost around half a BILLION dollars in the last 10 years. That's alot of scratch, but considering the US Economic Bail-out is running around $700 billion, Midway's losses seem like chump change. But, Midway, alas, is about ready to run its course, maybe to be absorbed into Microsoft, or Sony, or Electronic Arts, or a Sarlac. Your games treated me well at times, yet sometimes, lit seems I would feel the tell-tale tickle of a coathanger on my brain every now and then. Yes, I've downloaded some stuff I shouldn't have, but I always reflexively bought the collections and treasures and various other trappings to alleviate the guilt of doing so. And hey, remember me? I'm the one who bought BioFreaks!

Their legacy of gaming is sometimes as (arguably) awesome- The Suffering, Hydro Thunder, Total Carnage, Tapper, as it is poor-Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold, WWF Wrestlemania, NBA Showtime - NBA On NBC. Now, the Midway legacy may finally be what is all that remains of Midway.

Your Cruis'n games, Hydro Thunder, and were nice to see, and ate quarters like a beast with a voracious appetite. Your Off Road Challenge and Off Road Thunder brought us back to earth.

Mortal Kombat II and Killer Instinct were counter-balanced by Bio-Freaks and War Gods. War Gods. Unlimited potential, itty-bitty playing space.

Somebody dumped your Judge Dredd ROM onto the internet. I played it, I wept, I cried, I laughed harder than I ever laughed before. Insanity would be poetic diversion, Judge Dredd, even in an unfinished state, showed how much it would suck when it was finished.

Revolution X. Killer CDs. Aerosmith. Aerosmith? Not a band like GWAR or even the newer Lordii, but fekkin' Aerosmith is the rebel force? No way, give me the keys to the Death Star, this rebel force needs an enema. Terminator 2 was great if not simple, but you somehow lost your way. With Aerosmith. AEROSMITH!

Licensed Gorf and Pac-Man, awesome old stuff. Kick Man, bizarre but cool! Such smooth sailing.. wait, what's that dark cloud? Oh, damnit. Professor Pac-Man. Wait, a clearing! It's Rampage! YES!! Followed by.. Rampage World Tour.

Some sleeper titles here and there- Timber. Strike Force. The Grid.

We forgive you for the Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam and NFL BLitz cheating sh*tting scumbag AI computer. The first time I ever called a computer an asshole was watching my butt get slammed constantly in Mortal Kombat II. Hell shouldn't be too hot for you and your AI, but I can't make any promises. Purgatory should be long and boring if we're only counting NBA Ballers and the Blitz games you've soiled my home consoles with, which I welcomed with open expecting arms. Midway, my prodigal son, what happened?  Well, they've gone to the home systems:

Midway Arcade Treasures.. These collections of games is probably the one of the best of the classic collections available for those of us who enjoy the crusty, old games of our youth, and some titles before the inception of some of the gamers alive today.  The first title, Midway Arcade Treasures, focuses on the truly crusty titles.  The first collection included 24 titles:

  • 720, a more or less forgettable skating game

  • Blaster, a sort-of shmup, with waves of baddies attacking the screen which doubled as your ship

  • Bubbles, a game where you were a bubble collecting bubbles in a sink, avoiding ants and brooms (what?)

  • Defender and Defender 2

  • Gauntlet, the grand-daddy of dungeon crawling videogames

  • Joust and Joust 2, two insanely difficult games that have you, as a knight, controlling an ostrich, crashing into other knights on buzzards and turning them into eggs, and fighting the occasional Pterodactyl and avoiding demon hands from molten lava, with Joust 2 allowing you to change into a horse and do the same thing.. yep, really.

  • Klax, an addictive rectangular block-dropping game

  • Marble Madness, a labyrinth game that truly needs a tracball controller, but is otherwise solid and very difficult

  • Paperboy, one of the more difficult, frustrating, annoying games that keeps you coming back to play, and gives you no joy for success

  • Rampage, a primitive bulding-bashing game, where you control a large monster and punch buildings, airplanes, smash cars, eat people for health- pretty much a destroy everything game.

  • Rampart, a forgettable castle attack game

  • Road Blasters, a fun and, yes, difficult racing game with weapons, enemy cars, planes, and motorcycles, and the wonderful Atari voice insisting you "Watch for cross traffic!".. say this to any nerd from the 80s about this, they'll understand what your talking about

  • Robotron 2084, the game to blame for all of those dual-joystick control-shoot configuration rampant throughout the XBLA

  • Root Beer Tapper, a family friendly change-over of the popular Budweiser Tapper beer serving game

  • Satan's Hollow, a Galaga type game, I think, maybe a little more like the Galaga game in Gorf

  • Sinistar, an awesome 8-directional space shooter, where you battle the evil skull ship Sinistar, who mocks you repeatedly throughout the game and will kill you often

  • Smash TV, a great take on the Running Man theme, killing hordes of enemies for cash and prizes, and a trip to the elusive Pleasure Dome.

  • Splat!, which is complete and total garbage

  • Spy Hunter, a top-down driving shooter with the cool sounds of Pete Gunn to keep you entertained, and another game where you will die quickly and often

  • Super Sprint, another older racing game that loses a bit of playability without the steering wheel and pedal present in the arcade version

  • Toobin', to my knowledge, the only inner-tube rally race game in existence

  • and Vindicators, a fun tank battle game with controls that put the "FU" in "fun"

These titles are the really old titles, and I have to admit, they are an acquired taste.  But blowing up things in Smash TV and flinging glasses down a bar in Tapper never really gets old.  And they look old, which adds half of the charm to the deal.

Midway Arcade Treasures 2 starts to get some of the better titles out there, but also manages to slide its foot through some of the pure crap that also started to come out. The distance between the good and bad games on this disc compared to the first disc are much greater.  This disc has 20 titles:

  • A.P.B., a cartoon police car driving arcade simulator, charging you with ticketing hitchhikers and litterbugs, and busting several "boss" criminals

  • Arch Rivals, a throwaway basketball game

  • Championship Sprint, the sequel to Super Sprint

  • Cyberball 2072, robot football

  • Gauntlet II, more dungeon crawling goodness

  • Hard Drivin', a difficult semi-driving simulator that was more or less terrible, but a look into the polygonal world of gaming

  • Kozmik Krooz'r, better left forgotten

  • Mortal Kombat II and III, the ultraviolent 2-D fighters that are the two best of the Mortal Kombat series

  • NARC, a super-violent anti-drug videogame

  • Pit-Fighter, a very bad game on many fronts: gameplay, graphics, sound, music, whatever

  • Spy Hunter II, an alleged sequel to Spy Hunter, somehow taking Road Blasters and Spy Hunter and mixing it with punk rock and suck

  • Timber, a cute throw-away "sequel" to Tapper, this time as an axe man chopping down trees, and avoiding bears and bees

  • Total Carnage, sequel to Smash TV that went above and beyond the ultraviolence, and threw it in a semi-Persian Gulf War theme with dozens upon dozens of aliens and Saddam Hussein look-alikes

  • Wacko, which is another horrible title

  • Wizard of Wor, an ancient game that has you crawling around a maze, shooting enemies, and the other player, for points

  • Xenophobe, a humorous alien infestation game, which looks like it's a take on the Alien franchise, featuring independently moving split-screens for multiple players

  • Xybots, a third person shooter before the time of first person shooters, traversing mazes, picking up power-ups and bonuses while trying to get to the exit

The goods on this disc are many: Mortal Kombat 2 & 3, NARC, Gauntlet 2, APB, Total Carnage, Xenophobe, and Xybots.  The Kombat titles speak for themselves, except for Stryker in MK3. Stupid fekkin' character.  NARC and Total Carnage take ridiculous fantasy violence and throw in the kitchen sink.  Total Carnage was, of course, a sort of sequel to Smash TV, and took that blood 12 steps down the lane.  Insanely bloody and recognized anti-social simulators, these titles would get lost in the cloud of blood from videogames of today's generation, but back in the 80s, holy God, you would have thought the 7th seal was broken.  But on top of the blood, NARC showed you that the only way to deal with drug dealers is to shoot them, blow them up with rockets, or run them over with a car, while avoiding giant hypodermic needles that stuck into you, and drained your energy by way of drugs.  There was a forgettable update to NARC on the XBox & PS2, where using drugs was an option.  That may not have been a good idea, and judging by the sales of the game, and the fact it was released as a $20 budget title, nobody really noticed.  Also, in both NARC and Total Carnage, the carnage was playable by up to two players, player one being the white guy, and player two being the black guy. No shit?

Midway Treasures 3 is the smallest collection, and least bloodiest. Actually, there is no blood whatsoever.  This is the racing disc, and Midway had some pretty awesome racing games way back when:

  • Badlands, Super Sprint with weapons

  • Hydro Thunder, the true gem on this disc that wowed us back in the Dreamcast days

  • Off Road Thunder, an attempt at off-road racing with monster trucks, with races that are so long they pretty much suck the fun out

  • Race Drivin', sequel to Hard Drivin'

  • San Francisco Rush 2049 and Rush the Rock, fun racers with lots of shortcuts and almost uncontrollable speed, with Rush 2049 being a Dreamcast port along with Hydro Thunder

  • STUN Runner, a tube-shooter like Tempest, but with gravity and forward motion

  • Super Off Road, what looks like a remote control truck rally race, but which is actually a full-size truck rally racing game, with options and power-ups for quicker and better handling cars, and the "nitrous oxide" boost for those times you need an extra second or two

The two stand-outs are Hydro Thunder and San Francisco Rush 2049, all made popular by their excellent translations to the Sega Dreamcast.  Which, by the way, are the versions featured on this disc.  STUN Runner is a pretty good if not questionably controlled tube-running shooter, a precursor to games such as Nanotek Warrior or N2O.  Be warned, you may really hate STUN Runner. I mean, really hate it, but not as much as you will hate Race Drivin'.  I hated Race Drivin' when it was released, and hate it even more now, and I feel justified. It sucked.  Time has not taken kindly to Race Drivin'.  But hey, you win some, you lose some. For such a cheap collection, Hydro Thunder and Rush 2049 are worth the price of admission.


(clockwise from top left: Hydro Thunder, Dreamcast, Rush 2049, Badlands, Off Road Thunder)

We highly recommended each of these titles, and seeing the prices of them these days, they are no-brainers.  You are sure to find something you like on each disc. 

You can also find these titles on the XBox Live Arcade: Defender, Robotron, Smash TV, Paperboy, Gauntlet, Root Beer Tapper, Joust, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat III.

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