Everyone had figured that Midway was finished delivering its collection of '80s arcade classics to modern-day consoles. But we had forgotten about the N64. Midway, however, didn't forget, and now you can play emulated versions of games like Joust or Spy Hunter. While the gameplay is on par with the original versions of the games, the original versions managed to look and sound a bit better than Midway's N64 renditions.
The collection contains some real classics. Defender is here, complete with its overly difficult (well, when you were 8 or 9 years old, anyway) thrust and reverse controls, though you can cheat and use the D-pad to travel left or right at will. Robotron 2084 uses the N64's C buttons as the right control stick, which works incredibly well. Joust seems a little more difficult than the arcade original, mostly because it's harder to pound the N64's A button to stay aloft than it is to jam on the arcade's nice, large flap button. Tapper appears in its kid-friendly Root Beer variant. In Spy Hunter, a small informative display has been added to the left side of the screen, replacing the original version's dashboard-style lights. Sinistar rounds out the package and makes great use of the N64's analog stick to emulate the arcade original's 49-way joystick.
While the games are emulated, meaning they run using the original arcade code, the video looks a little strange at times. Televisions run at a lower resolution than your average arcade monitor, so all the games look extremely fuzzy. When you're playing Sinistar, it looks like the bottom portion of the screen is cut off. You can set Sinistar, which used a vertical monitor, to sideways mode. Then you can turn your TV on its side (don't try this at home, kids) and play the game in all its vertical glory. For the most part, the games sound like the originals. However, Sinistar speaks extremely quietly, and the speech samples are pretty low quality. Also, Tapper's music just sounds terrible - the pitch seems to change randomly.
If classic arcade games are your thing, and you haven't already picked up these games in another pack for the PlayStation, PC, or Dreamcast, Midway's N64 pack is worth taking a look at. But in the end, the emulated collection simply can't stand up to other collections, let alone the arcade originals.