Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits: Vol. 1

AMG AllGame Guide:

Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits: Vol. 1


Game Description

Get a blast from gaming's hallowed past with Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits: Volume 1 for the Nintendo 64. Six ravenous quarter-munchers from the early 1980s are included: Defender, Joust, Robotron: 2084, Sinistar, Root Beer Tapper and Spy Hunter.

Defender, the world's first side-scrolling shooter, hit the arcades in 1980. As the pilot of a starfighter that can shoot right and left, drop smart bombs and warp into hyperspace, your job in the game is to save a planet from wave after wave of hostile alien forces. Landers, Bombers, Swarmers and other alien vessels fill the skies, attacking your ship, laying mines and swooping down to kidnap surface-dwelling Humanoids. You should rescue the Humanoids before they reach the top of the screen and blast everything else in sight. The action scrolls horizontally in both directions and your ship can maneuver up, down, left, and right.

A 2D action game from 1982, Joust puts you in the role of a mounted knight taking flight on an ostrich in order to duel with a fearsome army of evil, the Buzzard Riders. As the dark skies swarm with evil knights, you must win joust after joust. The winner of a joust is the rider whose mount is highest at the moment of contact. When you win a joust, the loser's mount lays an egg in frustration. If the egg doesn't fall into the lava pit below (beware the Troll of the Lava Pits!), it will land on one of several platforms; pick up the egg quickly or it will hatch another enemy.

Released to the arcades in 1982, Robotron: 2084 takes place in a dark future where humanity has been all but wiped out by Robotrons, manmade robots gone berserk. Armed with a robot laser gun that shoots up, down, left and right, you and you alone must defend the last human family on the planet. Each screen in this game is a rectangular, 2D playfield in which you are surrounded by Grunt Robotrons, Hulk Robotrons, Spheroids Quarks, tanks and other enemies and obstacles. You must run around like mad while avoiding contact with and blasting at most anything that moves. To score bonus points, you should touch as many humans as you can, effectively placing them under your protective powers.

An Asteroids-influenced game from 1982, Sinistar puts you in a free-roaming ship deep in outer space. Hidden within the planetoid fields of this vast region of the universe is an ageless phantom face known only as Sinistar. To form its giant, scary shape, it collects floating debris. When the Sinistar has been formed, this fast and powerful being will attack and belt out a fearsome warning. To destroy Sinistar, you must gather minerals from planetoids for use in forging bombs. While collecting minerals, you must shoot warriors, workers and other enemies and obstacles floating in space.

In Root Beer Tapper (a 1984 sanitized release of 1983's Tapper), you are the last of the Root Beer Servers, and your places of business (a saloon, a sports bar, a punk bar and an alien bar) are packed with thirsty customers. You must tap "root beer" and dish out mugs of the frosty stuff as cowboys, atheletes, punk rockers and aliens enter the scene and sidle up to rows of bars that run horizontally across the screen. Each customer will not leave until satisfied, so keep dashing from bar to bar and serving mug after mug. If you let a customer reach the end of a bar, you lose a life. If you pick up a tip left by one of your patrons, dancing girls will temporarily distract the customers. Every few screens you can play a shell game-like bonus round in which the Root Beer Bandit shakes and mixes up cans of root beer.

Spy Hunter (circa 1984) is an overhead view, vertically scrolling combat racing game in which the freeways are no longer safe (as if they ever were!) and BADGUY spies are on the rampage. Your job is to destroy tire-disabling Switchblades, bullet proof Road Lords and other enemy vehicles while making sure you don't accidentally take out innocent motorists. Your super fast, super powerful car is supplied with machine gun cannons, smoke screens, oil slicks and missiles. Thanks to weapons vans located in strategic areas, armament replacements are available throughout the game. From time to time you will leave the road and take to the waterways in a prototype FB-JT101 speedboat.

Joust offers two-player simultaneous mode while the rest of the games feature alternating gameplay. You'll need eight pages of free space on your Controller Pak in order to save your high scores, settings and controller configurations. In addition to the games, this package offers a special Arcade Trivia challenge in which you can test your knowledge of videogame facts and history.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Review: Overall

In many ways, retro gamers such as myself are spoiled. What an amazing concept it is to score six arcade-perfect gamers for a measly 30 bucks. Back in the days of the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision and even the NES, 30 bucks would get you a loose translation of one of these types of games. And this doesn't even take inflation into account.

Where modern (circa 2001) retro gamers lose out is in variety. Only a select grouping of early 1980s are available via classics collections, and the same games keep repeating themselves on each system, especially from publishers Midway and Namco. Forgotten greats such as Satan's Hollow, Lady Bug, Star Castle and many others may never hit the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast or PlayStation.

Predictable selections aside, Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits: Volume 1 is a killer collection of games that anyone tired of wandering through 3D adventures will enjoy. Joust and Rootbeer Tapper are good examples of the uniqueness of early '80s gaming and the broad creative license given to developers of the era.

Joust is unmatched in its emphasis on finesse; controlling your ostrich effectively requires the soft and steady touch of a concert pianist. In Rootbeer Tapper you must pay attention to several things at once, namely thirsty customers. It is a quirky game of fast reflexes and quick thinking, and it's loads of fun.

Robotron: 2084 and Defender are very different from one another, but they are two of the most exciting shooters of the era. Robotron is an immensely satisfying game in which you are the last man on Earth, constantly blasting like crazy in all directions, fighting for the survival of the human race. The controls are awkward as the double joysticks found on the original coin-op version (and on the Atari 5200 port) cannot be duplicated on the Nintendo 64, but the game is still a hectic blast. Controls for Defender work great, and the game does an excellent job of incorporating strategy (rescuing humanoids) with intense shooting action.

Sinistar and Spy Hunter were both favorites of hardcore gamers during the "good ol' days" of gaming. Sinistar is brutally difficult and will frustrate most players as destroying Sinistar can only be done in a roundabout manner. Mining for minerals is a chore, but destroying Sinistar is rewarding, especially if you manage to do it more than once or twice. The best and most memorable part of the game is when the fearsome foe appears and bellows "Beware, I live!" and "I hunger, coward!" Spy Hunter is a high-octane, very fast racer that offers both shooting and bumping action; it remains of the best combat racers ever made.

Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits: Volume 1 for the Nintendo 64 offers a fun, diverse, and challenging collection of games from the early 1980s.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Review: Enjoyment

After all these years, these games are still fun. However, some already own them on their PlayStation.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Review: Graphics

Tired of blurry 3D graphics and polygonal characters? If so, you'll find the simplicity of these games refreshing. They look almost exactly like their Arcade counterparts.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Review: Sound

The voice in Sinistar is chilling and will really take you back. Joust has memorable sound effects as well, and Rootbeer Tapper has some nifty tunes. Most importantly, the sounds in all the games are accurately reproduced.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Review: Replay Value

If a high degree of challenge doesn't intimidate you, and retro gaming doesn't annoy you, you'll enjoy most or all of the games in this collection. Competing for high score is a blast, especially if you are burnt out on adventure games and are itching for a little "twitching." However, there is no museum and no creator interviews, and the trivia section has too few questions.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Review: Documentation

The manual provides the basics, but it could be more thorough.
~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide

Production Credits

MMIDWAY GAMES TEAM Producer: David Brooks; Associate Producer: Will Shen; Assistant Producer: Jason Shiginaka; Technical Director: Paul Lefevre; Print Design & Production: Midway Creative Services -- San Diego; Testing Manager: Hans Lo; Testing Supervisor: Eric Narvaez; Lead Product Analyst: Jim McClure; Product Analysts: Steve Cupp, Eric Lafreniere, Laura Jones, Rob Parell, Kalum Truett; Technical Standards Analysts: Zach McClendon; Product Marketing Managers: Phil Marineau; Special Thanks: Deborah Fulton & the Original Game Creators; DIGITAL ECLIPSE TEAM Lead Programmer: Philip Freitas; Library Programmer: Craig Stewart; Technical Director: Jeff Vavasour; Emulation Programmer: Jeff Vavasour; Z-80 Emulation: George Phillips, Peter Phillips; Artists: Bod Burggrabe, Sebastian Hyde, Andy Chiu, Granted Savage; Interface Music: Robert Baffy; Producer: William Baffy; Special Thanks: Andrew Ayre, Emory Georges, Mike Mika
~ Keith Adams, All Game Guide

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