Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action & Arcade
Release Date: 28th of July (Worldwide)
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When it comes to arcade games, many iconic titles spring to mind, including the painstakingly obvious Pac-Man, and while there are plenty of arcade games worth playing, no one ever did arcade games quite like those by Bandai Namco and thanks to an all=new instalment of Namco Museum, plenty of arcade fun now awaits owners of a Nintendo Switch.
By no means is Namco Museum a new concept, as it is something Bandai Namco has been doing since 1995, a something that is released compilations of Namco’s famed titles, but now it is also on the Nintendo Switch and it is just an incredible all-round package. But what is in this package? Well I’ll tell you!
Among the incredible line-up of 11 games is 1980’s Pac-Man, 1981’s Galaga, 1982’s Dig Dug, 1984’s The Tower of Druaga, 1985’S Spy Kid, 1986’s Rolling Thunder, 1987’s Galaga ’88, 1988’s Splatterhouse, 1990’s Rolling Thunder 2, 1991’s Tank Force and last but not least, 2003’s Pac-Man Vs.! (Yes, the Switch version of Namco Museum has taken a leaf out of Namco Museum DS’ book and also supports a remake of the Charles Martinet voice acted Pac-Man Vs.!) But before we even go any further, for the purpose of this review, for those of you who have never heard of most of the games included in this list, I will be doing a quick little breakdown for each one to clue you in, which other/more informed readers can of course skip:
- Pac-Man: Arcade game by Toru Iwatani, in which sees the titular Pac-Man having to survive various mazes, eating every Pac-Dot he comes across, whilst trying to avoid the Ghosts that can’t wait to catch him.
- Galaga: Japanese shoot-‘em-up arcade game, which is the sequel to Galaxian.
- Dig Dug: Arcade game where the goal is to eliminate monsters by inflating them with an air pump until they literally explode.
- The Tower of Druaga: Maze-based action role-playing arcade game, which is also the first in the Babylonian Castle Saga series that was conceived as “Fantasy Pac-Man.”
- Spy Kid: Horizontal scrolling shooter that has the player flying a biplane and bombing targets.
- Rolling Thunder: Side-scrolling action game where a member of the World Crime Police Organization has to save a missing female agent from the secret society Geldra.
- Galaga ’88: Yet another Japanese shoot-‘em-up arcade game, which is the sequel to Gaplus, which is the sequel to Galaga.
- Splatterhouse: Side-scrolling beat ‘em up where players take control of Rick in a two-dimensional environment, who just happens to have been resurrected and wearing a Terror Mask.
- Rolling Thunder 2: As a sequel to Rolling Thunder, Rolling Thunder is also a side-scrolling action game, but this time around, two players can play together to truly enjoy the experience.
- Tank Force: Multi-directional shooter arcade game with tanks!
- Pac-Man Vs.: Players assume the role of the playable ghosts, only the Switch version has been made even better, and plays better than ever as well.
Only it’s not just the great line-up of games that makes Namco Museum feel so special, but it’s the lengths Bandai Namco went to with the presentation. Namco Museum doesn’t just emulate smoothly, but with the exception of Pac-Man Vs., every game features a well-designed border that can be a little distracting at times, given how awesome each splendid each piece of imagery is, but even then that’s that all.
On top of a decent line-up of games that are as engaging and addictive as the day they first came out, smooth emulation and a crisp look, 10 of the 11 games also support a new Challenge mode in addition to Normal mode. While each Challenge Mode isn’t necessarily all that, as they don’t really ask all that much of you, they are still pretty neat. (One example of what Challenge Mode asks for you is to eat as many Ghosts as you can in Pac-Man.) Then on top of the extra mode and online leaderboards, there’s also a range of options available as well, such as Save Game, Load Game and even rotate screen. No you did not read me wrong, Namco Museum actually lets you, the player flip the screen 90° degrees at a time, which when playing in TV mode feels wrong, but in Handheld mode, it’s actually pretty cool. (Not quite as cool as the fact that by buying Namco Museum, you will never need to spend a single quarter in an arcade ever again, but pretty close.)
Although speaking of quarters, players can enter a coin at any time they want, without actually having to enter a single coin and no that is not an invitation for you to suddenly try to put a coin into the Switch because you feel like yes. Yes you could probably stuff something other than a game cart into the card slot, but it is not an actual reason for you to do so, so please don’t. Instead why not focus your efforts on just playing the best game Namco Museum has to offer and it is of course Pac-Man Vs.!
Don’t get me wrong, Rolling Thunder 2 and Pac-Man are both top-notch fun, but they do not compare to the game that lets you and two friends or com controlled ghosts, battle it out to see who can be the Top Ghosts that puts Pac-Man in his place. We’ve all seen it from Mr and Mrs Pac-Man’s perspective, but this time we get to see it from the Ghosts and it is downright awesome! Plus the controls are simple as it’s an anthology of arcade games, which means only the A or X button really matter for action and an analog stick for movement, so you won’t ever have to worry about having to memorise complicated controls, which is an immediate win in anyone’s book!
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Namco Museum doesn’t just promise fun, it is fun. It’s also perfectly presented and has a little something for everyone that can be played at any time with anyone, so without a doubt, it is a game that you can’t go wrong with no matter how hard you try! Sure you could argue there are some games that would have been better off being left out, so that other games could have been given the chance to make an appearance instead, but Namco Museum is what it is and what it is, is downright awesome!
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Bandai Namco