The coin-op arcade may be dead, but they live on in their original form on the Wii Virtual Console, Xbox Live, and finally making a debut on the PS3 Network. Six classic Midway games are PS3 bound as individual downloads: Mortal Kombat II, Rampart, Gauntlet, Joust, Championship Sprint, and Rampage World Tour. With the exception of the analog-adapted gameplay of the racing game, the experience is exactly what the hardware gamer wants -- responsive no-fuss classic joystick control with a few extra bells and whistles. Screenshots, impressions, launch details follow.
Here's some quick notes on what you need to know:
Gauntlet: 4 players multiplayer support, original arcade rom running on emulation, co-op buttonmashing fun. We approve!
Rampage World Tour: original 1997 arcade rom, three player support, ability to beat each other up, eat people and punch buildings and airplanes. We approve!
Joust: If you don't know what Joust is, we're going to kick your ass. Seriously. 2 player multiplayer support, flying ostriches, 200 point eggs, good stuff. Original arcade rom. How could we not approve? Sony, make it clap.
Mortal Kombat II: Original arcade rom, full gore and fatalities are in there, all the sound effects you've been screaming at your friends since the 90's. Thank you Sony for getting it right -- we know that when it's time to do Street Fighter II on the PS3 we're going to be very, very happy.
Rampart: Best. Game. Ever. We played all six games on test hardware and our favorite, by far, was Rampart. The basic concept of the game is building walls around castles using a Tetris-like timed construction mode, then button mashing cannon shots to the guy across the way. It's so simple, but so addicting. We can't wait to have this at home and party like it's 1990. The game was originally trackball-based and ported perfectly to the analog. It works, approved! Two player premodern RTS bliss. If this game catches on it would be cool to see USB trackball support added on in the future.
Championship Sprint: The toughest game to port was this old school Midway racing game which had the infinite spin wheel at the arcade with extreme sensitivity. On the analog, we found it tricky to control and ate the walls constantly. After a few minutes we were able to recoup a little and improve, so we're confident that it's going to work if you're dedicated and practice. This is the one title you're not goint to be able to rock right off the bat. It would be interesting with steering wheel support (Logitech USB wheel, etc) were supported.
So what's new? Online multiplayer support out of the box, trashtalking via Bluetooth mic, and competitive leaderboards -- with more coming soon. SOE would not comment on price or exact release date for each title, but you can expect "somewhere between $1 and $10" with releases trickling in starting in March.
Look for more insider SOE stuff later this week.