Reviewed by Tinnanski
Sept. 10th 2005
Introduction:Namco has been one of the most influential gaming companies of all time. Their arcade classics are a testament to gaming and popular culture. In this release we have a collection of 14 classic arcade games including the one and only, Pac-Man. Gamers of all ages should find something enjoyable with Namco Museum .
The Game:It's hard to review a product that deals out so much nostalgic value while being technically being below the standard of today's games. Besides clearing the memories of the new systems, I'll have to forget that I used to spend all my lunch money on Rolling Thunder and think about all the fun I had playing Pac-Man. Namco Museum is fun for all ages who want to peer into the past of arcade greats.
The games included in Namco's Museum are Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Galaxian, Dig Dug, Pole Position, Pole Position II, Rolling Thunder, Rally X, Bosconian, Dragon Spirit, Sky Kid, Xevious, Mappy, Sky Kid and Rolling Thunder. If you're not familiar with these titles I will give you a run down.
Pac-Man (1980) | Ms.Pac-Man (1981) - Pac-Man and the Ms. really don't need an introduction, these two characters are iconic to videogaming. These two games are still the most frantic addictive games ever made and after all these years still hold their own. The formula is great, eat the dots and don't get eaten by the ghosts. we are going to trap you in a box and make it run faster and faster until you become one with the controller. Rivaled only by the popularity of Super Mario Bros, this yellow fellow and his lady are the symbol of 80s gaming.
Galaxian (1979) | Galaga (1981) - Galaxian and it's predecessor Galaga are similar in style but offer two different gaming experiences. Galaxian and Galaga most resemble the Atari classic game Space Invaders, take away the shields and make the enemies swarm down at the player and you have Galaxian. Galaxian was one of the most popular space shooters and it proudly the first game to feature true colour. Both Galaxian and Galaga are fun and can get pretty intense, I absolutely loved the intense soundtrack in Galaga.
Dig Dug (1982) - Man, who doesn't love this classic from 1982. Did you know it was originally published by Atari? Over all my years of gaming Dig Dug has always been one of my favorites. Dig Dug is a simple game that is still a lot of fun and keeps the action intense especially because it pumps up the speed every level. I'm glad Namco announced a new DS version of Dig Dug so younger gamers can enjoy this fun ground digger.
Rally X (1980) | Pole Position I (1982) | Pole Position II (1983) - These are Namco's racers from way back in the day. All it takes is one look at Pole Position to see how far we've come in gaming. Both Pole Positions are fun but don't translate as well as they did with the classic steering wheel arcade machine. Even though Rally X is an older game it's a little more fun to run around the map collecting flags. The racing games don't seem to hold up as well as the above mentioned games, but looking back is still an eye opener. You don't have to worry about Forza coming out of your machine. *Note: Rally X is the featured on as the Ridge Racer loading screen for the PSP.
Bosconian (1981) | Xevious (1982) | Dragon Spirit (1987) - These three games are table top shooters which inspired a whole series of games. Xevious would be the most famous of them all, but after playing Dragon Spirit I was really impressed. Dragon Spirit was a pretty advanced game for it's time and did a great job of utilizing both ground and air enemies. The prehistoric look really gives it an edge considering most other games used a space theme. Xevious and Bosconian are good to run through a few times, but if you enjoy this type of gaming Dragon Spirit will win you over.
Rolling Thunder (1986) - My favorite game on this compilation is Rolling Thunder, half-nostalgia and half because of the actual gameplay. Rolling Thunder is a fun side scrolling, shoot-duck type of game, think James Bond in Shinobi. The levels design is classic in Rolling Thunder and taking out the evil Geldra brings me back. I never finished the game in the arcade so I now have a chance to rescue the girl and do something I never achieved in the past. Although Rolling Thunder wasn't as popular as other arcade games it still is an important part of gaming history.
Mappy (1983) & Sky Kid (1985) - Mappy and Sky Kid are fun little games which I've never heard of in the past. Mappy is a little platform game where you are "taking back" stolen items from a house. You play a little mouse and half to bounce on trampolines and run through doors to avid and reclaim your items. I didn't care too much for Mappy, although it might appeal to a younger audience. Sky Kid is a fun shooting game where you control a fighter plane, you have to avoid the enemy and drop bombs on targets. Like Mappy it's simple and fun, but not my taste.
Pac-Mania (1987) and Galaga '88 (1987) - Are two hidden games offered in Namco Museum which become unlockable when you get a high score in Pac-Man, Ms.Pac-Man or Galaxian. Galaga '88 is just an updated version of the Galaga. Like Galaga '88, Pac-Mania is an updated Pac-Man game which runs in isometric, 3d. They made some changes to the mighty Pac-Man most notable is that he could jump. Pac-Mania never really captured the eye of the gamer like the original and fizzled out of arcades quickly.
How do you play?
One funny aspect about Namco Museum is the overly huge manual. Giving that all these games are pretty simple and straight forward they really don't need an explanation. The manual is thirty three pages running down each game. It was good for a laugh; at least they aren't stingy about it.
The only real downside of Namco Museum is that it only includes 14 games with 2 unlockable's, we know they can fit more on the disc and that it doesn't have any extra press material such as old art or magazine ads. Extra's like that are fun and interesting to look at, it helps build show us more of the company in which the game promotes. This is something that is a nice touch, but in the end it doesn't effect the gaming which is the most important factor.
Lowdown:Namco Museum is a fun collection of classics arcade games from the 1980s. Everyone should know a few of these games, of course we all know Pac-Man. It's good to see companies embrace their past to show all gamers how far the industry has come. With all the gaming compilations coming out lately M.A.M.E. has some serious competition, and I have another classic gaming collection to add to my shelf.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: N/A, Mojo: 8. Final: 7.5 /10