Namco Museum DS Review

Namco Museum DS is exactly what one would expect from an arcade compilation title — it’s old-school to the extreme. This may appeal to the older gamers who grew up with these games, but everyone else who is testing their brain age, collecting monsters or cooking their next meal will unsurprisingly give Namco’s Arcade Collection a pass.

The seven games included in Namco’s Arcade Collection are: Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug II, Xevious, The Tower of Druaga, Mappy Galaxian, and Pac-Man Vs. Of the seven, the two superstars are the classic Pac-Man and Galaga titles, which are ports. For those who have been living under a rock or are too young remember the huge arcade cabinets sitting in the local YMCA or Pizza Hut, Pac-Man charged gamers with guiding a small, yellow, pellet-eating sphere as he attempted to clear the entire board of pellets while avoiding ghosts. Galaga gave gamers the chance to fend off wave after wave of aliens to defend the galaxy while riding in a super-powered starship. Just remember, these games were meant to chug quarters. Don’t bother complaining about the unfair gameplay; they were meant to do that.

And while these two classics are intact, one has got to wonder if this compilation is even worth a purchase. In the videogame world today, arcade compilations likes Namco Museum DS feel unnecessary, as if the company is trying to make a quick buck. As I played each game, not once did the thought of how much fun it was to try these classic games cross my mind. It doesn’t help either that some of the options for the games are not implemented very well.

For starters, the screen setup is weird. Either the gamer can experience the arcade titles in their true aspect ratio and attempt to fumble with the terrible control setup, or play the game in at a scrunched view and lose much of the graphical fidelity of the game (some text becomes hard to read). It’s a lose-lose situation. Making the game display so that the DS has to be flipped to its side does improve the graphics, but the act of playing a game with one button on the top and the other on the bottom is painful. So you can opt for the regular controls, but get ready for a scrunched screen.

There are some nice hidden features for those who pick up the game. Game hints, the ability to adjust several settings per game (number of lives one starts with and how many points it takes to earn the next one for Galaga), and even the ability to mess with the dipswitches for each game make the arcade titles accessible to the more casual gamer while at the same time nodding to the hardcore. Problem is, the last place the hardcore would play these arcade games is on the DS.

The one nice addition to the arcade package though is Pac-Man Vs. The ability to play with three other people is a great twist on the classic formula, and the DS Wireless never experienced a hitch with all three of us playing at once. But does Pac-Man Vs. justify buying the whole package? No.

I’m not sure why Namco even went to the trouble of releasing a game like Namco Museum DS. It won’t attract the hardcore because they play on cabinets. As for the rest of us, there are too many awesome games out there to experience. Does anyone really want to play Galaga when Halo 3 is out? If Namco had reimagined, tweaked, and improved all the titles then this would be a very different review. But I really can’t recommend picking up this game. Play the classic Namco games where they should be played: on an arcade cabinet.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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