Fans of retro gaming rejoiced when they discovered that TT Games was planning a Level Pack based on Midway's classic arcade games. After waiting almost six months since the launch of Lego Dimensions, they can finally get their hands on it.
The Midway Arcade Level Pack comes with a Gamer Kid figurine, G-6155 Spy Hunter car and Defender Arcade Machine. Being the first Level Pack that didn't have an existing character-backed franchise to base its design on, TT Games had to work extra hard to make this pack match the caliber of the others. Gamer Kid is a character created just for this Level Pack. Outfitted in a leather jacket and jeans, and holding a can of pop and a nickel, he looks fit for any retro arcade. Despite the odd choice of making the Defender arcade machine green, they did a good job at emulating a dumbed-down version of the real thing, complete with Defender artwork and joystick. The Spy Hunter vehicle copies the simplistic model in the original arcade game as closely as it can, which means it doesn't really stand out from similar vehicles that come with other Lego kits.
List of included Midway Arcade games
- Championship Sprint
- Cyberball 2072
- Defender II (AKA Stargate)
- Gauntlet II
- Joust 2
- Marble Madness
- Robotron: 2084
- Spy Hunter
- Super Sprint
The following abilities become available for you to use throughout the Lego Dimensions universe when you purchase this Level Pack:
- Gamer Kid: Super Strength (destroy cracked walls), Laser (destroy gold bricks), Invulnerability, Stealth and Speed
- Arcade Machine transformations: Arcade Machine (place on arcade docking stations to unlock and play retro games), 8-Bit Shooter (fly), The Pixelator (special attack)
- G-6155 Spy Hunter transformations: G-6155 Spy Hunter (activate accelerator switches and use tow bar), The Interdiver (sail on water and destroy silver blocks), Aerial Spy Hunter (fly, use flight cargo docks and hooks, and destroy gold blocks)
Unfortunately, the story level is pretty lackluster. The world and included Midway Arcade games more than make up for it, but I'll briefly talk about the level so that you know what to expect. Gamer Kid finds himself in what looks like an old arcade basement. The scenery is pretty typical of the dark cityscapes pictured in other Lego levels and doesn't do much to set itself apart. Your main goal is simply to build your arcade machine and place it on six different docking stations in order to play some retro games. Enemies from the games are dotted around and you have to choose a special ability at the right time to defeat them. To equip an ability, Gamer Kid can drink a can of pop in the flavour of his choice including: Super Strength, Laser, Invisibility, Invincibility and Speed. In order to unlock the next portion of the level, you have to get a bronze medal on each arcade game. Achieving these medals is easy if you're familiar with the games but pretty tough if they're new to you. Once you reach the roof of the arcade, the level comes to an end and you see Gamer Kid transform into George from Rampage. Placing your machine on each of the stations means that you can now access these games in the adventure world, so you do get something out of playing this simplistic level. Now comes the fun part: the life-size world of Midway Arcade!
The adventure world is a mash-up of many Midway Arcade games amplified to be hundreds of times the size of little Gamer Kid. The best way to enjoy it is to equip a flying character or hop in a plane to take in the sights of massive Marble Madness, big Badlands racing, gigantic Gauntlet and many more towering retro game incarnations. Once you drop to the ground, you'll be sporting around with the robots of Cyberball, riding ostriches in Joust, and rampaging with George, Lizzie and Ralph. The representation of these familiar franchises is spot-on, and the requests and puzzles for gold bricks emulate their gameplay, too. For example, you complete a request by shooting down twenty racers on the Badlands with your gunner vehicle, and collect a gold brick after blasting at aliens above Defender Mountain. Playing this adventure world is a delight for fans of the represented series and newcomers alike. Plus, if your main reason for purchasing the pack was to get your hands on the actual retro games, you have your choice of 23 classic Midway Arcade games accessible through the adventure world hub after you unlock them in other Lego Dimensions levels.
Seeing as my gaming career didn't really kick off until well into the 90s and early 2000s, I had to do a lot of research to get an understanding of the games represented for this review. However, a great game appeals to gamers of all backgrounds, so I expected to find it easy to pick up and enjoy. One thing that let me down in this regard was the controls for some retro games. I found it extremely difficult to get to grips with the games that were designed more than thirty years ago and the awkward controls that are implemented for many of the games here sure didn't help. Lego Dimensions has done a great job at simplifying controls in its base game and making it accessible, but the same can't be said for these arcade games. Too many buttons are used and they simply aren't intuitive.
Most of the arcade games are undeniable classics yet some of them are hard to enjoy in this day and age. Therefore, you're left with quite the mixed bag. On a positive note, my husband owns almost every Midway Arcade compilation and he has never played Blasteroids so he's very happy to be able to finally enjoy this 1987 sequel to Asteroids.
The amount of content in the Midway Arcade Level Pack is the best yet out of all of the sets simply due to TT Games' decision to pack in over 20 full arcade games. The level itself is kind of drab, but there are some great retro moments. Where the Level Pack really shines is in the carefully crafted adventure world that boasts a genius amalgamation of many Midway franchises.
- + Contains 23 classic arcade games
- + Adventure world modernizes many of the arcade games in imaginative ways
- + Gamer Kid has some radical abilities
- - Story level is very short and uninspired
- - The variety of arcade classics is a mixed bag of great and subpar games
- - Some games' controls don't hold up well