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Namco Museum Megamix

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Developer: NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Classic/Retro/ Arcade/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

How can you really be a critic of the graphics of games that are pretty much the same age as yourself? Namco Museum Megamix has a nice selection of classic games like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga. What they didn't have in graphics, they made up for in simple, straightforward design. It's like the pixel art trend you see all over the internet: when you limit yourself in the amount of pixels you can work with, you really get creative in how you use them to convey an idea. Nothing is wasted, in a sense. So generally, these games are all colorful and eye-catching (important in the days of crowded arcades competing for your quarters) and simple with purpose.

The sound is a similar story. You couldn't have background music and sound effects without getting pretty creative. Of course, that never stopped Pac-Man, and the "wakka-wakka" sound of him moving around the maze is pretty much ingrained in everyone's minds now. There's a lot of primitive bleeps and bloops, but for the nostalgic at heart, this is just sweet, sweet music.

Namco Museum Megamix also has a few remixed and updated games that feature the retro characters and concepts from the old arcade games. In Galaga Reimix, oddly enough, Pac-Man rolls through space in a big slide, and you have to defend him from those Galaga space bugs. The remixed games generally feature pretty good, catchy beats, and of course, very much updated 3D graphics. It's all bright, cheery, colorful stuff with plenty of flashy, sparkly effects to show that it's really new. It doesn't quite have a lot of charm, however. It kind of feels like they just took the classic games, stuck Pac-Man in somewhere, and very literally converted the old graphics into 3D form.


Gameplay:

You run into the same problem trying to critique the gameplay of Namco Museum Megamix as you do with the graphics. Basically, these games were reflex intensive, though you could develop strategies in the long term. After all, we wouldn't have huge competitions for high scores still going to this day if there weren't a little something to it.

There are also several Remix versions of the old games. These games do feel like a bit of unecessary fluff, and none of them are really that complex. The Galaga Remix game I mentioned earlier is just a simple shooter. You have the additional task of keeping Pac-Man from harm, but really this just means shooting more and shooting faster, which is kind of the point in the first place. Besides, having Pac-Man roll down a giant slide in outer-space just seems, well, strange? In fact, Pac-Man somehow finds his way into all the Remix games, for some reason. I probably don't have much right to say anything though - I am wearing Pac-Man pants while writing this review...

A quick note about the Menu system in this game: it's also a little silly. You select games by rolling a Pac-Man head around a field, and into the different games. You can make him squash himself down, and there are some ramps to roll up on, but the question again is just why? And if you want to get to a certain game quickly, then it's going to get aggravating dealing with the Pac-Man head method of selection.


Difficulty:

Namco Museum Megamix is a collection of classic arcade games. These games, for the most part, weren't meant to be easy. After all, it's hard to make money off a game that lets players beat it on the first try. So basically, that's the mentality you have to take to these old games. It's going to take practice - grinding, grinding practice. You're going to want a really good 80's song, because you're gonna need a montage. Yeah, that type of difficult.

That being said, you'll still be able to enjoy many of these games without conquering them. After all, the games are designed to get more difficult as you progress through the stages. Generally, enemies get faster and more numerous as you progress to the next stage. This means you can enjoy the first few levels, as long as you don't worry too much about getting through all the levels. This might seem like a silly mindgame to play with yourself, but the endings aren't that spectacular anyway.


Game Mechanics:

Namco Museum Megamix has some simple, old-school games, but somehow it doesn't feel like the controls follow suit. If you're playing with a Nunchuk, sometimes it just feels a bit wobbly when you're using the Analog Stick. It may just be that the responsiveness of these old games just feels off, but then, it may just be that these games were darn difficult. Of course, the Classic controller is always an option, if you want a sturdier place to put your thumb. As for the Remix games, there are a few waggle controls thrown in, as well as some Wii-mote aiming. The waggle controls work fine, especially for one game in particular that I never thought I'd see get a console translation. You might know of a ticket-dispensing game where green plastic gators would slide out of holes, and you had to bop them with a mallet (and maybe cheat by using your other hand when there were too many). Well, that game is Gator Panic and it's a perfect application for using the Wii-mote to "bop" gators.

If you're looking for a compilation that includes Rally-X, Dig Dug, Pac-Man, Galaga, Mappy, Xevious and more, then this title easily satisfies. Some of the Remix games seem a bit unnecessary, but then they are just icing on the cake if you're only after the retro games. With a bargain price point, you can't ask for much more.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Related Links:



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