REVIEW: Midway Arcade + iCade Support [iPad]

I am what could be called a hardcore retro gaming fan. What a lot of people might not realise however, is that I actually love playing modern games as much as I love playing retro games! I’m also a bit of a gadget freak as I’m always keen to read up and immerse my mind in geeky tech.

One of the things I really love: Peripherals for modern computing, like the iCade for the iPad. For those of you who don’t know what an iCade is, what started as an April Fools prank from Think Geek became reality: A mniniature arcade cabinet into which you slide the iPad and play arcade games!

Thankfully these days there are a multitude of games on the App Store that support the device, but the one in particular I was quite excited to check out is the Midway Arcade series. I didn’t think I’d feel quite the same as I did when Atari Greatest Hits came out for iOS, but it looks like Midway Arcade has struck the same chords – I grabbed it without hesitation, a decision which paid off when the latest update for Midway Arcade finally introduced support for the iCade.

[img_big]center,9323,2012-04-25/narc_033.png,navigate around the virtual Arcade to play those classic games[/img_big]

I know what you folks are wondering: What’s included in Midway Arcade?

“Out of the box” you get the standard non-video games, like roll ball (or skeeball), basketball, air hockey, and pool. As well as that, you get a handful of classic Midway titles too. I won’t go into too much detail about the games as there are so many, but I’ll briefly describe each game.

  • Defender: Side-scrolling shooter with the objective of protecting Astronauts from alien enemies.
     
  • Spy Hunter: An over-the-top shooter where your car is loaded with numerous power-ups to defend yourself with from other enemies on the road.
     
  • Rampage: A classic – the objective is to smash down buildings and fend off armies in cities as an enormous monster.
     
  • Root Beer Tapper: You are a bartender and you must serve angry customers as quickly as you can whilst collecting empty glasses before they smash.
     
  • Arch Rivals: Where the two-on-two basketball genre began, but this time, you’re allowed to attack other players.
     
  • Joust: You are a knight on an ostrich and you must attack other knights on the level.

At the time of writing, there are also two game packs available for purchase – Fantasy and Action.

The Fantasy Game Pack includes:

  • Gauntlet 1 & 2: An overhead action game where you’re thrown into a dungeon whilst fending off hordes of enemies and working your way through 100+ stages.
     
  • Wizard of Wor: Side action game where you must attack the space dragons in a maze.

Inside the Action Game Pack, you’ll find:

  • NARC: Violent side-scrolling shoot’em up where you play as a NARC agent fighting drug dealers.
     
  • APB: Over-top driving game where you clean up the highways as a rookie police officer. (Think GTA with the roles reversed!)
     
  • Total Carnage: over-top shooter and spiritual successor of Smash TV. Think what Gauntlet would be like, with a shooting mechanism and a steeper learning curve. Fun, violent and very challenging bosses.

[img_big]center,9323,2012-04-25/rampage_013.png,Rampage in its original glory[/img_big]

The overall presentation of this app is fantastic. Plenty of games, plenty of options for controls (especially now that it has support for iCade) and design which takes advantage of the hardware. Holding the iOS device in portrait orientation lets you see the cabinet artwork, whereas landscape gives you the game in full screen. The look of the arcade itself is simple, and that’s all you need when navigating between machines in your virtual arcade.

The in-game graphics vary from title to title, but what you see is what you get: Original classic titles in their original arcade form. The sound is also what you expect from original games from the arcades – bleeps, bloops, lasers and explosions. It’s great to see the more recent games incorporating “photo-realistic” graphics (like NARC) providing more realistic sounds and voices.

[img_big]center,9323,2012-04-25/ma_arch_rivals_068.png,Arch Rivals defined 2 on 2 basketball video games[/img_big]

Midway Games had a lot of influence in the video arcades and have been responsible for many classic titles (like ’em or not), like the early Mortal Kombat titles, Galaga, NBA Jam, Robotron 2084, Satan’s Hollow (which debuted in the 80’s shlock film Joysticks) and Timber just to name a few. This app already includes a great selection of games and I for one am looking forward not only to what Midway Arcade will offer, but plenty more companies following suit. (Atari and Namco have already jumped onto this bandwagon, and now Warner Bros Interactive has joined in. Who’s next?)

Like other similar apps on the App Store, this is a must-get title for those who appreciate retro gaming as much as modern gaming on your iPhone or iPad. Playing these on the iCade brings a fantastic dimension to your gaming experience and a great hit of nostalgia from the days in the video arcades.

PS: Dear Warner Bros, please bring Mortal Kombat 1-4 out for Midway Arcade in the future, please please please! 🙂

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