Sunday, May 23, 2010

Namco Museum 50th Anniversary (Namco, 2005, Playstation 2)

Classic collections are a dime a dozen nowadays. Well, now there a little off-put by Virtual Console and Live Arcade. 1n 2005, the Japanese video game company Namco reached it's 50th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the released, wait for it........a Classic Collection. Something Namco is no stranger to: There is more than likely a version of their famous classic collection series, Namco Museum, on at least ONE of your consoles.

This one in particular contains most of their well-known ones, like Pac-Man and Galaga, that kinda thing.
The interface for NM:50th is noted on the back of the disc case, "Brand new retro-cool interface-explore a virtual arcade." This sounds promising, but this is borderline false advertising. This "Virtual Arcade" is a total waste. All it is, is the games, in their arcade forms, underneath a horrible looking Namco sign. What a disappointment. Namco could of at least made it like the PS1 Namco museum titles, where you actually moved around a virtual museum filled with cool extras........

On that subject, NM:50th has no extras. This is your 50th anniversary celebration? No history videos or old artwork for the game on the disc? This collection doesn't seem worth it, but I didn't get to the quality of the actual games yet. And how they stand......they are actually almost perfectly emulated, aside from minor sound issues. The controls are spot on for most of the games, except for Pole Position, which is still playable, but the controls aren't nearly as good as the arcade original. It comes with:

Ms. Pac-Man
Dig Dug
Pole Position
Pole Position 2
Dragon Spirit
Rolling Thunder
and SkyKid, also two unlockable titles: Galaga '88 and Pac-Mania

So as you can probably tell, the game does come with all of the well known titles from Namco's retro library.
But SkyKid and Dragon Spirit? Hmm. Kinda peculiar titles to include in a 50th anniversary collection.

Let's recap. We have a lazy interface with a choppy framerate (on the PS2 edition) and poor graphics, a complete and utter lack or extra content......and yet excellently emulated retro arcade games with spot-on control (aside from Pole Position 1 & 2). So I'm kinda on the fence on this one. If you just want some way to play Pac-Man and Galaga at home, this will do the job. But if you're a retro arcade enthusiast who wants info on Namco's history will be very unhappy with this merely-okay compilation. As a added note there is a authentic 80's soundtrack on the game select menu, but the music's only played on the selection screen, making the soundtrack a complete afterthought and utterly pointless.

+ Well-Emulated games with great control
+ The soundtrack on the menu is kinda awesome.........

- ............the 5 seconds you get to listen to it.
- Bad interface with a horrible framerate and terrible graphics.
- Absolutely NO extra content.
- Low-quality obscure titles such as SkyKid and Dragon Spirit. The unlockable games aren't very good either.

Overall score: 6 out of 10