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Namco Museum Package Art
GENRE
Compilation
DEVELOPER
Mass Media
PUBLISHER
Namco
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1-2
CONNECTIVITY
no
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Namco Museum

As this collection sports three games I once owned for Atari I am both partial to their greatness and scrutinizing of their translation. I'm happy to report that in both cases I am pleased with Namco Museum; the games are as simple-yet-addictive as ever and look and sound just as I remember them. In addition to the standard versions, the game features souped up "Arrangement" versions that keep basic gameplay mechanics while improving on graphics and adding new level designs and 2-player simultaneous play.

Appropriately, games featuring Namco's endearing yellow icon comprise the core of Namco Museum. Pac Man, Pac Man Arrangement, Ms. Pac Man, and (unlockable) Pac Mania and Pac Attack are joined by Pole Position and Pole Position II, Galaga, Galaga Arrangement, Dig Dug, Dig Dug Arrangement and Galaxian - all adding up to a full helping of classic Namco goodness.

visuals

As far as I can see, the graphics for each game are just straight ports with minor modifications, if any. The difference in format between the typically vertically oriented arcade screen and your horizontal home television translates to bars on either side of the game screen, which for the classic, non-Arrangement games are filled with cabinet art from their respective arcade machines. This doesn't really affect gameplay and aside from turning your display on its side (don't attempt!) is the easiest, most sensible solution.

Namco Museum sports a visually pleasing yet simple, elegant side-scrolling interface to select games. I'd go so far as to say it's the best interface I've seen yet in a collection with Megaman Anniversary Collection in a close second followed by Sonic Mega Collection and lastly Midway Arcade Treasures.

audio

Audio is sparse in most games, reflecting their age. Sound effects and music sound quaint by today's standards, yet have become classic. The accelerating siren in Pac Man or music-when-you-move in Dig Dug are so closely related to sound effects they actually function more like a gameplay mechanic by keying you in aurally to the action on screen. Pac Man Arrangement and Pac Mania are more traditionally musical, though both scores are topped by the game's seamless main menu remix which combines audio themes from each series.

gameplay

Hardcore arcade veterans without an arcade controller may have trouble adapting to play using a standard controller. Balancing this, each title has various options you can set from number of lives, points-to-bonus, and control scheme (where applicable) allowing for some customization based on player skill level and preference. In most cases if you don't have the practice to complete levels a couple of extra lives isn't going to get you much farther, though it may give you the added edge you need to get past that one tough spot, making it a nice option.

Arrangement games emulate an arcade machine on Free Play mode, allowing infinite continues. This too is a considerate option allowing your average gamer to play through an arcade game to the end--a feat that would otherwise require countless hours and quarters.

multiplayer

Strictly speaking, most games in the anthology are multiplayer, though the older titles are, as you might remember, turn-based multiplayer. All Arrangement games are simultaneous multiplayer--a blast with a friend. Pac Attack is a seedy-looking but easy to pick up 2-player Tetris clone similar to Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and the more recent Puyo Pop Fever.

overall

While I too am still waiting for the anthology that lets me put together all my favorite classics, this title does the best it can be expected to. Namco Museum is a shining example of what an arcade collection can and should be, featuring plenty of takes on classic arcade favorites accessed through a friendly, polished interface.

final score 8.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Paul Starke
Staff Profile | Email
"In Japan this was named a 'trouble bug.' (...Is it really a bug?)"


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