Full Review: Old school gaming without the old person smell!
The Xbox is a fairly powerful gaming system but it's still a young gaming system however, so its history does not date back very far unfortunately. Namco Museum gives Xbox owners a rare chance to play old arcade favourites on their machine. Here is a great collection of arcade legends from the 80's that now arrives to the Xbox. This game even includes rare 1995 arcade remakes as well so certain games may be new to some players out there. The controls are flawless and the replay value is quite huge but is these 12 games enough to lay down the 50 bucks (although I only paid $30 for it), read on and found out if these games interest you? Here are the Namco games in this collection:
Here is the original 1980's classic that rocked the world! Pac Man's creator (Toru Iwatani) actually got the idea for the legendary character by eating a pizza with some of the slices missing, he wondered what if the roles were reversed and the pizza itself was hungry? Pac Man is born! Not only did the cute characters appeal to the masses but the simple game play of eating an entire board of pellets and avoiding those pesky ghosts made this an instant hit back in its day. There are no polygons, 3D effects, or any else over the top. Heck, the game board doesn't even change from level to level so what you see is what you get. Thankfully the game is so challenging and so intense that it holds it own even today just like a Tetris or a Super Mario Bros. game. This version is virtually arcade perfect and the controls work great with the Xbox controller but I wish that there was a way to get rid of that stupid looking border though because the North American Midway cabinet is the one I remember.
Pac Man Arrangement
This game was part of a special ?Arrangement' series of arcade remakes in 1995 and some players may like the new touch ups here while others may prefer the more basic Pac Man to this upgrade. Pac Man Arrangement still has the traditional 2D view so you can see all the action but now the stages are nicely detailed in 3D with lots of colours all around. The stages even change this time as you advance plus there is also has some cool new background music too. That's not all though because this Pac Man also has new tricks up his sleeve like earning bigger points for eating the new super ghosts and there are some new power ups as well to increase your speed or create a mirror image of yourself. Pac Man Arrangement is a nice edition to this collection and although this is a too easy. A little change never hurt anyone.
Here is another popular retro arcade hit here on the disc. Galaga was not only an intense shoot em up where you kill tons of killer bugs but this game introduced a very unique power up system to the gaming world. To earn double the fire power you have to risk losing your current ship to the evil leader bug's tracker beam and then you must get it back by killing the abductor. If you are successful in getting the old ship on your side again than the two of you now get to team up to help even out the odds. Galaga is easy to learn and easy to play but it's still virtually impossible to master, just like most great video games.
Being a huge fan of the TurboGrafx-16 game Galaga 90, I was very excited to see what Namco did with the series now. Sadly, this is easily one of the worst games on the collection. Don't get me wrong, the crazy graphics and furious action is great but the sound system was very buggy here at best and getting a high score is meaningless because the numbers don't reset when you continue a game. This eliminates the need for true skill! This could have been so great but Namco and Mass Media didn't translate this game very well here.
Love it or hate it, here is everyone's favourite dirt digging hero ready to take on the balloon men and dragons of the underground. The only problem with this innovative game is the lack of variety. For example; why are there only 2 different enemies in the entire game and digging through the same patch of dirt can get pretty boring after a while, eh? It's still fun to go for the high score here.
Dig Dug Arrangement
This is pretty much the same dirt filled game but now there are some new enemies, new rendered backgrounds, and bigger rocks so now it's easier to score even bigger points. The only problem I had here was seeing all the small characters.
This classic shooter actually dates back the furthest here because it was released way back in 1979. Although Galaxian was just a Space Invaders clone because you have to kill rows of aliens to beat the level, there were some unique features. What made Galaxian so different though is that the aliens zoom in for their attack instead of remaining stationary. This game also wins serious points because this was one of the first true video games to be in colour and this is also the prequel to Galaga. Too bad for all its groundbreaking achievements, it's a really limited shooter today that doesn't age very well. The main problem with Galaxian is the pacing: this game is super slow! It takes forever for a single shot to reach across the screen and it also doesn't help matters when your star ship moves like a snail. Galaxian fails to provide the excitement of the other games here.
Ms. Pac Man
Maybe one of the biggest (if not thee biggest) arcade hits of all time! Surprisingly, Namco didn't even make Ms. Pac Man, Midway deserves that honour. This is a lot like the first Pac Man but now there 4 different mazes to learn, the fruit bonuses now move across board, and the game is even harder then ever before! A great classic if you have not already played it to death.
I loved to play this impressive racing game back when I was young. When Atari and Namco were friends, they released this revolutionary 3D game to the arcades in 1982. Pole Position was one of the first games to simulate the thrill of competing in a deadly F1 race. The controls are easy to learn because you only have to worry about low and high gear shifts and that's it. Although this isn't too much to look at in Pole Position it can be fun to get that high score in a limited amount of time. Still a good game if you can go for the simple style of first generation 3D racing graphics.
Pole Position II
Part II has only been seen on Namco's third Museum for the Playstation and the older Atari 7800 game system. Pole Position II is virtually the same as the first one but now there are 4 different tracks to select from. If you love the first then you'll like to see what Namco has done to improve on the original.
There are a bonus 2 hidden (but easily obtainable) games in this collection so if you don't want to know the hidden games in Namco Museum then please quickly scroll down:
A very cool surprise in Namco Museum here! If you never played this before on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, Pac Attack is a Tetris like puzzle game where pieces of blocks and ghosts fall from the top and you have figure out how to get rid of all the garbage. You get three different modes to pick from like an addictive arcade game to earn a high score, a puzzle mode to test your brain, and there is even a decent two-player game here as well. The game is not as good as a Tetris DX but with three different modes to try out, there is a lot you can do here. One of my favourites on the collection!
This is a strange ? isometric Pac Man game that was released originally in 1987 to the arcades. Now our little yellow hero is no longer flat and he can now jump over his ghostly enemies this time to stay alive. The objective still remains the same as Pac Man must clear the table of pellets like in the past but what has changed is the new power ups, sharper graphics, and the game even has some corny background music to add some kick to the aging franchise. Despite Namco's best efforts, a lot of people did not like the new weird angle of the game boards, plus what's the deal with the stupid zoomed in look? Pac Mania may disappoint if you are a hard-core classic game play buff or something. An ok enough game with nice graphics and all but the action is just too confusion and the music tracks are just awful!
If you are looking for a huge list of extras in this museum then you may be in for a big letdown. Sure, you get some nice bonuses like a small list of tips for each game and you are also aloud to change around certain options too so you can give yourself more lives. However, you can forget any important history, video footage, or any other goodies found in other collections like Activision Anthology and Atari Anniversary Edition. I love video game history and this game doesn't deliverer the goods.
What this game does deliverer though is almost unlimited replay value. Most of the retro friendly games here are endless in design so you may not be able to finish a particular game but you can still continue to fight for the top score as must as you want. The Xbox will even save your high scores right to the system's hard drive.
Namco Museum for the Xbox can help fill the void of much needed retro action on this new machine but are these 12 games really enough here? An Xbox disc could easily hold over 30 games here and I just think Namco is holding back on us. Most of the games are good enough to be on here but the main problem is that we have already seen most of these games before in past museum titles. Where are all the other Namco legends from the past like Jr. Pac Man (the toughest one of the series), Baby Pac Man (a unique pinball game), Super Pac Man (here you can actually play as a giant Pac Man) Galaga 90 (a rare Turbografx game), Gaplus (the first sequel to Galaga), and many more, why are they not in this collection, I wonder? Chances are that if you're a classic gaming freak then you probably already have played or still own a lot of these games here to begin with. Another serious problem with this Museum is that the graphics and sound are arcade perfect and that means these old games simply can't c