Midway Arcade Treasures 2
In today's article I will review all Midway Arcade Treasures Compilations that include Mortal Kombat games. I will try to describe some of the flaws of what could have been an amazing opportunity to bring the classic Arcade games into the new millennium. Actually some of the high-level MK2 players I know even prefer MAT2/MKSM versions because of the speed, but thus imo still does not make the games better than the original arcade versions. And let's see why.
Midway Arcade Treasures 2
The Mortal Kombat II versions are supposed to be arcade perfect, but they really aren't. Side note: The version of Mortal Kombat 2 included in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is actually the same as the one from MAT2. So, everything written below applies to it too.
Although the MAT2 versions should be the same as the Arcade, there are small differences here and there. First, they are faster. On some arenas the game becomes even faster, especially on Shao Kahn's Arena (most noticeable on XBox). The PS2 version of the game drops frames in Dead Pool when 1 player game cause the words Press Start flash on 2 player's side. The game mechanics and physics should be identical with those on the arcade but there are little differences here too. For example crouch HK for female ninjas could stop easy Raiden's Torpedo, but in the MAT2/MKSM versions it just doesn't work. aaHP seems to be fast as hell and is very easy to be done on PS2 and XBox. The GameCube version acts more like the arcade, but the sound there has some awful lag (actually that applies to all games in MAT2 games on this console). The character shadows in all 3 compilations are flickery (notice how they appear when you jump or if the opponent is in the air). In the PS2 and GameCube versions the game often slows down in the Living Forest stage.
Mortal Kombat 3 was another "arcade perfect" port. On all three systems the versions of Mortal Kombat 3 are almost identical, For example, the sound on GameCube is delayed, being even more muffled and irritatingly trembly than the MKII's one. Despite of that the GameCube version keep up reasonably well.
Remember the shadows problem in the Mortal Kombat II version of Midway Arcade Treasures 2? You have it again, but here it is even worse. If you beat Shao Kahn on The Pit 3 stage the music continues to play and you cannot hear the victory fanfare. The gameplay is an arcade emulated, so basically all the stuff and combos that work there will work here too. I haven't noticed any slowdowns in either versions, except sometimes on PS2/GameCube while doing Shoulder Slam with Nightwolf on the Soul Chamber. Despite the glitchy sound and the the faster gameplay everything else is the same as the arcade.
The Mortal Kombat 1 version that appears in this compilation has adopted almost every single glitch/issue that exists in the PS2/XBox versions from the Mortal Kombat: Deception Bonus Disk: No Palace Gates background music, no credits background music, choppy controls (delay similar to the one in the XBox version only worse) but surprisingly no slowdowns. All this, plus the fact that the game is faster than the arcade makes it really annoying at times. Also the PSP monitor's resolution is weird (i'm not sure what exactly resolution it uses (Editor's not: 480px x 272px)). The game, even not stretched, doesn't look as good as it was on the PS2 and the XBox. Kano's victory yell has been replaced with Goro's roar. Sonya should have separate jumping sounds for straight and diagonal jump, however both have been replaced by the sound of her attack. Sonya only has one voice sample when being killed. Various intro screens are missing. The "Goro lives" screen does not darken when the text appears. The Throne Room does not scroll as far to the right as it should. Arcade perfect? I really don't think so.
At first the versions of the Mortal Kombat games that appeared in this compilation (MK1, MKII, MK3) had all the problems that were present in the MAT2 and the Bonus Disk for Mortal Kombat: Deception (MK1 was on it). As the fans finally started to get pissed of, Midway was forced to release 2 (TWO!) patches to fix some glitches. One to fill missing music for half of the games that was accidentally left out of the shipped version, and a second one to correct a button function oversight that prevented Random Select and Smoke battle Easter eggs in Mortal Kombat 2 (these were bugs that plagued the console versions of Midway Arcade Treasure 2). I really haven't noticed any slowdowns while playing Mortal Kombat 1, but the missing and glitchy sounds existed here too. Sometimes, mostly when you play on Palace Gates, the music will just switch into the Courtyard's one. Overall, I'd say that this version is better than the PSP, PS2, XBox ones. The version of Mortal Kombat II is completely identical with the one that appeared in Midway Arcade Treasure 2. Every single glitch/difference that exists there is here too, except the slowdowns. The game is still faster than the arcade, but now it's way more acceptable. You can configure a pad for the games but what could be a little annoying is that you have to configure it separately for every single game. The compilation has potential of course, but it's not better then the Arcade in any way. And finally MK3 - again, no slowdowns which is good! As for the gamepla, it's still like the MAT2 versions. Don't forget to install the patches first to skip at least some sound issues.
There's broad genre coverage on offer this time around with sports titles Arch Rivals (the inspiration for the NBA Jam series) and Cyberball 2072; fighters featuring Mortal Kombat 2 & 3, Primal Rage and Pit Fighter; driving games Championship Sprint, APB, Hard Drivin' and Spy Hunter 2 and loads more. The rest of the list is a smattering of action games, brawlers and games that defy categorisation and include some gems from the time when arcades were well and truly on the way out: Total Carnage, NARC, Gauntlet II, Kozmik Kroozr, Wacko, Timber, Rampage World Tour, Wizard of Wor, Xenophobe and Xybots. The emulation/porting is largely excellent, though disappointingly Wizard of Wor suffers from poorly implemented samples and a difficulty setting which is too high and cannot be changed.
As with the first game you can customise controls to your heart's content, and there are fewer control issues overall. Wacko's substitution of a left analogue stick for the gimmicky trackball of the arcade has a natural feel and the driving games work well with the control stick, although Championship Sprint would still be better with the big wheel of the arcade. Certain characters or colours are mapped to specific controller ports in Gauntlet II, Xenophobe and Rampage World Tour, so you'll need to move your controller cable about or have mutiple controllers connected for those games, but this is the way it was in the arcades so don't complain! People wanting to use Classic Controllers should note that the loading process after launching a game results in a loss of controller detection; when prompted you'll need to unplug the controller from the adapter and reconnect it. Note also the number of lives and score required for bonuses can be customised or set collectively to either default or "hardcore" if you don't want to muck about with the finer details.
By contrast the list of games that didn't make the cut is a bit surprising. If you're going to include oddball titles like Wacko and Timber, why leave out Domino Man which was a great, quirky game produced by the same team? Since the inclusion of violent pioneers like Williams' NARC and Midway's Mortal Kombat 2 & 3 has garnered this collection a "Mature" rating, why not the original Budweiser-themed Tapper? In fact, why isn't the original Mortal Kombat included? Given Buena Vista interactive licensed Tron and Tron Deadly Discs for emulation on their GBA title Tron 2.0: Killer App (kudos to Digital Eclipse for the excellent job on those two), why didn't Midway negotiate a quid pro quo to include them in this collection as well? There's a whole slew of other Atari and Midway titles that also deserved consideration: I, Robot (first polygon-based arcade game), Peter Pack Rat, Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Strike Force, Food Fight, Omega Race, Sarge, Skull & Crossbones and Trog to name a few.
Whilst this collection has a few more misses (and omissions) than the first entry in the series there's still enough quality games from the 80s and 90s on offer that fans of classic arcade games should find plenty to enjoy. We live in hope that Midway's new owners, Warner Interactive, will see fit to reissue these and other bygone arcade games for the Wii in the future.
This is my favourite of the Midway Arcade Treasures collections, it really captures their arcade games from the early '90s, which was when I was going nuts for arcade conversions. These compilations set the standard for emulating loads of arcade games on one disc (except for the paltry 8 racing games on Midway Arcade Treasures 3).Total Carnage is my pick of the bunch, even if the backgrounds do get repetitive and Gauntlet II & Rampage World Tour are fun in multiplayer.I play Pit Fighter as well, it is poor by today's standards, but its digitised characters were a big deal back in the day. The music in Primal Rage sounds really glitchy on my disc, but it may have been like that in the original arcade.I never took to Mortal Kombat, like I did Street Fighter II, but it is cool to have number 2 & 3.A great collection and a great review, cheers Sean. 041b061a72