I’ve not played the majority of the games in the Namco Museum Archives for at least two decades. Hell, a couple of them (Splatterhouse and Rolling Thunder for example), I’ve never even played before!
Still, with a ton of years behind them since their releases, do the games in the latest Namco Museum Archives series still hold up? Time has rarely been kind to the games of yesteryear.
Let’s find out if they still kick ass today.
What is Namco Museum Archives Volume 1 and 2?
Namco Museum Archives is the latest in Bandai Namco’s Namco Museum series. The line started during the PS1 era, bundling Namco’s old school games into handy compilations.
The latest, Namco Museum Archives, comes in two volumes, each SG$24.90 on the PSN Store. There are 11 games in each volume, with 2 (1 per volume) being never been localized into English.
In case you were wondering, here’s the list of games included.
- Dragon Buster
- The Tower of Druaga
- Sky Kid
- Dragon Spirit: The New Legend
- Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
- Pac-Man Championship Edition (Exclusive)
- Battle City
- Dig Dug II
- Super Xevious
- Rolling Thunder
- Legacy of the Wizard
- Dragon Buster II
- Mendel Palace
- Gaplus (Exclusive)
Namco Museum Archives is now available for the PC, PS4 (reviewed), Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. Porting duties are done by M2 (who’ve done wonders for the SEGA Ages game ports on the 3DS and Nintendo Switch) with publishing duties by Bandai Namco, who also provided us with a copy of both volumes.
Is it good?
That ultimately depends on whether you enjoy retro gaming (having played them as a kid or just through interest). Some games, like Dig Dug and Pac-Man are still classics. Others, like Splatterhouse, are archaic examples of what games in the time period were like.
Controls are incredibly stiff, with diagonal commands not recognized in some games. It’s to be expected, considering these are direct ports, not enhanced versions of the games.
Funky controls or not, I did have a ton of fun with a number of the games.
Dig Dug, Xevious, Galaxian and Galaga are still as fun as I remembered, and playing Battle City reminded me of the times I used to play the game with my grandfather as I was growing up. He loved the game, and would play it every chance he got before we got a Mega Drive.
The two new exclusives, Pac-Man Championship Edition and Gaplus are fun but they’re not really so outstanding that they’re worth paying full price just to play them…especially since Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 was free just a few weeks back!
Don’t get me wrong, the demake of Pac-Man Championship Edition is probably the best game overall, with its modern features (like achievements) and fast paced gameplay.
I still hate Mappy though…Stupid cop mouse and the damned trampolines! Frustrating back in the day and still as frustrating today.
It’s understandable, not every game can be a hit. Ultimately, the game list is actually pretty decent if you think about it though why they can’t all be in one volume is beyond me. I’m also wondering why Ms. Pac-Man and Bad Dudes aren’t in the collection, considering their cult status.
All of the games are the NES versions, faithfully emulated on modern platforms, warts and all. The slowdown, the flickering…it’s all there. The only things new to the game are the save states (which lets you save at any time) and the Rewind feature, which lets you go back a few gameplay seconds.
The Rewind feature is a thoughtful addition and I really like being able to undo mistakes without resorting to reloading. You can wind back to more than one saved point, which lets you try different tactics or avoid being repeatedly killed in situations where you can’t avoid death. If you’re looking for a reason to shell out the cash, this is the prime one.
I’m actually a bit saddened that Bandai Namco went this route considering the arcade versions (for the games with arcade versions) would’ve been much more visually appealing. Alternately, why not also include them alongside the NES versions? On the subject of alternate versions, why aren’t the Japanese versions included as well? Space constraints isn’t an issue nowadays, so why not give more bang for the buck to the customers?
With so many compilations on the market, it’s hard to not compare the Namco Museum Archives to other offerings like Capcom’s Beat’Em Up Collection or Konami’s Castlevania Anniversary Collection.
In that view, the Namco Museum Archives comes up short.
Not in the game list, but in the extras included.
Despite the word ‘Museum’ right there in the title, there’s no box or concept art, scans of promotional materials or anything to accompany the games. Incredibly disappointing stuff, especially for those who want to get the collection for extra material.
Even the visual modes come up lacking with only a handful of options.
C’mon guys, only 3 wallpapers out of 22 games? That’s seriously lazy.
The Bottom Line.
It’s not a bad compilation from a gaming point of view, as there are multiple classics included and the price point makes out a game to be just under SG$2.50 each. Not bad if you’re itchy to relive the old days.
The games are fun, but the lack of extras is unforgivable for a modern compilation set. Nothing’s been done at all to showcase the history behind the titles. It’s really a damn shame because as it stands the Namco Museum series isn’t really living up to its potential.
Decent games but lacking extras.
- Good pricing.
- Some great retro classics included.
- Pac-Man Championship Edition is great fun!
- Rewind feature.
- Only NES versions.
- No extra material.