The Namco arcade classics we all know and love
Compilation titles are a safe bet for both the game publisher and the game player. The publisher can take a set of games that have been made already, throw in a splashy menu and roll it all together for an easy buck. The player, meanwhile, gets what one assumes is a set of solid titles from gaming history, serving for a nostalgic ride. However, in the age of backwards compatibility, it can be a bit harder to justify purchasing a retail offering of titles that one already owns. The good parts of Namco Museum Megamix have been collected in pretty much every other Namco Museum title before it, while the new additions aren’t enough of an incentive to warrant a purchase.
Namco Museum Megamix boasts a total of twenty-four titles, made up of several arcade classics and a few “remixed” games. The arcade games cover some pretty familiar territory. Pac-Man fans will likely get their fill, with Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal and Pac-Mania, although purists will likely cry foul over Ms. Pac-Man not making the cut. Shmup fans will feel right at home, with favorites Galaga, Galaxian, Gaplus, Bosconian, Xevious and its spin-off Grobda. Finally, the rest of the titles include Cutie Q, Dig-Dug and its sequel, King & Balloon, Mappy, Motos, Rally-X and New Rally-X to round out the classic arcade collection. While quite the number of games, with so many titles feeling like cookie cutter copies of each other, it’s hard to think of these being two dozen individual games as opposed to a handful of gameplay styles and structures with different coats of paint.
If the arcade titles were all that Namco Museum Megamix brought to the table, it would be difficult justifying the purchase when there are already other Namco Museum iterations for both GameCube and Wii that can be played on the console; this is where the remixes come in. The remixes spiff up the graphics and alter the gameplay of their arcade counterparts. While on paper this sounds like a neat concept, the end result is far from stellar. Galaga Remix has Pac-Man rolling along a track while you shoot down an alien horde attempting to destroy him– think Super Monkey Ball crossed with an on-rails shooter, except the gameplay isn’t nearly as addictive as either of those parts.
That’s the case with every remix in the package. Pac’n'Roll Remix takes the DS design and maps it to the nunchuck, having the player control an orb of Pac-Man to collect dots. While one gets the sense that the developers were going for a Sonic the Hedgehog-style of gameplay, poor physics and loose controls result in the goal being missed. Pac-Motos Remix feels just like a minigame from the aforementioned Monkey Ball series where the player bumps others off of a playing field. Rally-X Remix is Pac-Man, except in a go-kart, while simultaneously making the controls worse. Grobda Remix puts Pac-Man in a tank, having him face off against other tanks. It, too, is boring. Finally, Gator Panic Remix is a more derivative version of whack-a-mole: use the nunchuck’s control stick to select one of four positions, then use the waggle-licious controls to bop alligators. The best part of this game is that with a poor performance (such as just putting the controller down and doing something more fun, like breathing) is that the game says your performance “was pathetic.”
The point to take away is that Namco Bandai broke the cardinal rule of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The remixes simply aren’t any fun, and only left me yearning for more of the arcade classics. Sadly, to play a game mandates controlling orb-style Pac-Man with terrible controls.
Not only are the arcade classics more serviceable in the gameplay arena, their music also isn’t nearly as annoying as the tunes associated with the remixes and hub world. A lot of 20-second MIDI tracks on repeat does not make for a satisfying aural experience. However, the game’s menus are all slick and easy to navigate, and the visuals of the remixes are serviceable; by no means are they on the same level as Super Mario Galaxy or Donkey Kong Country Returns, but they aren’t the worst, either.
It’s hard to ignore that Namco Museum Megamix is simply Namco Museum Remix with a few more titles thrown into the mix; not only that, but the remixes intended to lure in more gamers will do the exact opposite. Purchasing this title is contingent upon whether or not you have any other Namco Museum entry for GameCube or Wii and if you absolutely need your classic Namco fix. All others, it’s probably best to stay clear.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.