If the Namco Museum games were a total bust, we suspect Namco Bandai would stop making them. Fortunately, the most recent remix... or re-release... or re-released remix made us glad we came back for more. Namco Museum Megamix is a collection of 18 classic Namco arcade games, and six of those games have been “remixed” or updated to more contemporary gameplay. While the old classics retain their appeal (and, unfortunately, bad graphics), the remixed games don't all make the mark.
Galaga Remix is an on-rails shooter featuring a 3D Pac-Man rolling away from flying baddies that you must shoot to ensure he makes it to the end of the level. The graphics and visuals are pretty damn good for the Wii and kept us entertained and smiling. Although it's short, clocking in at under 30 minutes of gameplay, high scores and an accuracy count will ensure return visits. On the other end of the spectrum, Rally-X Remix looks and handles poorly, fails to be challenging and in the end left us wondering why pressing left made Pac-Man make a u-turn and crash into a wall.
Three other remixes were short, fun, and marginally satisfying. Pac-Man Motos Remix consists of some of the simplest gameplay we've ever seen: controlling a ball that bounces off other balls and trying not to fall of an edge. Gator-Panic Remix is a whack-a-mole type game that grows old after only one round. However, a multiplayer function that guarantees some funny antics as people compete to smash the most crocodiles with the Wii remote keeps the replay value above “none.” The last of the cheap bites is Grobda Remix, which actually does a good job of converting the retro tank shooter into something people could have fun playing. The controls are a bit unresponsive, but once we got the hang of it, we found ourselves competing for high scores, much like our quarter-eating arcade days.
The highlight of the compilation, however, is definitely Pac 'n Roll Remix, in which players control Pac-Man in a fully 3D world to collect orbs and advance. Pac 'n Roll offers a number of puzzles, challenges and bosses that make the game superb. Further, the combination of completion percentages and completion times seemed designed for YouTube-bound speed runs. The controls are smooth, and a button that allows Pac-Man to stop on a dime makes it all that more user-friendly.
The navigation menu features the Pac-Man from Pac 'n Roll, whom you can roll and bump into the game you want to play, which is far better than a boring point-and-click list of games. Most games offer a multiplayer element that adds a little competition and value, but it certainly isn't a game anyone will come over and beg to play.
Namco Museum Megamix is hit-and-miss, but for retro arcade gaming, it can't be beat. If you drained your allowance into beeping machines for most of the late 80s and 90s, you'll love it, but if you're only interested in the new “remixed” games, you may be disappointed.
Dec 3, 2010