The Basics: Midway's next compilation package has decidedly switched gears to offer retro enthusiasts a racing-centric theme. Players can look forward to a diverse collection of street, off-road, futuristic, powerboat, and stunt racing releases, spanning eight classic titles. Although this year's selection is substantially lower than previous installments, fans can be assured the quality hasn't come up short and they'll be entertained for hours.
The featured selection will consist of:
Badlands (arcade, 1989): A post-apocalyptic Super Sprint with weapons.
Super Off Road & Bonus Tracks (arcade, 1989): Another iteration of the Super Sprint formula, but with trucks racing over dirt, hills, potholes, and water. The Bonus Tracks add eight additional courses to Super Off Road's original eight for, logically enough, 16 tracks. 32 if racing the tracks in reverse is taken into account.
S.T.U.N. Runner (arcade, 1989): An early 3D game, with lovely retro flat polygon architecture. Race down tracks and tunnels in a futuristic hovercar, shoot enemies, and collect icons on the course.
Race Drivin' (arcade, 1990): Not just the sequel to Hard Drivin', the entire previous game is included with it. A new, much more brutal stunt track is the main draw, in addition to the original, tamer stunt track and speed course.
San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition (arcade, 1997): The ultimate version of the San Francisco Rush games, with all the original tracks as well as the new The Rock track.
Hydro Thunder (arcade, 1999): Powerboat racing. Very fast and very wet.
San Francisco Rush 2049 (Dreamcast, 2000): The Dreamcast version of Rush 2049 adds tons of new content to the arcade original, like battle and stunt modes, as well as coin collectables to allow car upgrades and unlockable tracks and arenas.
Off-Road Thunder: Mud, Sweat, 'N Gears (PS2, 2001): That 2001 is a bit misleading, seeing as this version apparently never made it to retail. It looks like a combination of Super Off-Road and San Francisco Rush.
What do we think? Midway Arcade Treasures 3 is an amazing collection of racing games, diving deep into the company's history and coming closer to present day than any previous classic game pack has done yet. Midway has even gone above and beyond the call of duty by adding the enhanced versions of all the games where available, with the crown jewel being the Dreamcast San Francisco Rush 2049. Until Burnout 3, I would have considered this the finest arcade racing game available, and seeing it return on a modern console was one of E3's pleasant surprises.
I'm a little wary about Off-Road Thunder, though. It's been resurrected from the period in Midway's past that brought forth the abomination of Arctic Thunder, which to this day I still call the single worst game available on the PS2. Still, even if they haven't taken the intervening four years since cancellation to clean Off-Road Thunder up a bit, getting to play Race Drivin's amazing stunt course, S.T.U.N Runner's twisty tunnels, and Rush: The Rock's insane jumps will more than make up for it.
Get Bonus! Any customer who reserves L.A. Rush at EBGames or Gamestop will receive a free copy of Midway Arcade Treasures 3. For those who don't mind L.A. Rush coming out two weeks after MAT3, it's a great way to snag an amazing piece of arcade racing history.
Midway Arcade Treasures 3 is also in development for the Xbox and GameCube.