I have to admit that I was immediately confused when I first saw Namco Museum Archives , Volume 1 , coming to the Nintendo Switch. Didn’t I review this game a few years ago? Doesn’t seem to be, not really. This game was simply called Namco Museum and featured a collection of classic arcade games. This version is a collection of ten classic NES games, most of which originally appeared in arcades. So there is some overlap in the games, but I’d say this collection is much better because of the lack of must-have games and the fact that these console games are better suited for home use than the hardcore quarter-turn arcade versions.
As always in these kinds of anthologies, the question is whether the games in the anthology are interesting to you or not. If you’re a child of the 80s or have a soft spot for classic arcade games, Volume 1 of the Namco Museum Archive is probably worth buying. It’s useful for having a selection of eleven games, and the price is only $19.99, or less than $2 per game (a good deal compared to the old price standard for the virtual console, which was $5 per NES version). The deal is even better when you know that you have two really great games that you probably can’t get anywhere else: Notebook: Wanpaku Graffiti and 8-bit demo Pac-Man Championship Edition. I’d say this collection is only worth it for these two games, the others are just gravy.
So let’s start with my favorite game in the collection: Pac-Man Championship Edition. You may have played it on the Xbox 360 Arcade in all its neon glory. The developers have reimagined the experience as an 8-bit NES game, and it works surprisingly well. The game is played just like a normal Pac-Man game, except the craziness goes up to 11. You walk through the maze, eating dumplings as usual and trying to avoid the ghosts while taking care of the corners. If you’ve eaten enough points, fruit will appear, and if you’ve devoured them, more points will appear and, most importantly, power pellets, which you can use to jump the ghosts chasing you. This game focuses on points and attack time. So you have to time your feeding frenzy to eat the four ghosts and score those precious points.
If you keep eating everything you see, the game will go faster. Before you know it, you’re dragging yourself through life and making lightning-fast decisions to avoid death. The screen is always filled with exciting maze walls, and every time you inhale a piece of fruit, the screen lights up as dots appear around you, allowing you to eat a delicious pixel smorgasbord. The more fruit you eat, the more points you earn per point, and you can chain energy spheres together, as it were, to keep the blue ghosts on the screen and increase the score like never before. All this is accompanied by an energetic soundtrack that gets even crazier as the five-minute countdown begins. There’s about a minute left on the clock, and everything is moving so fast that it’s better not to blink, or the game might be over. The adrenaline rush you feel while playing this game is similar to being one of the last survivors of a round of Tetris 99. If your heart rate hasn’t increased and your palms aren’t sweating, you may be a good candidate for a stressful job! Seriously, it’s a standout piece of software in this collection and I keep coming back to it. Perhaps the only drawback is that there is no online leaderboard to challenge your friends.
Another unique name in this pack is Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, a game never before released in the United States. Originally a Famicom game in Japan, it is a kid-friendly version of the arcade game and TurboGrafx-16 Splatterhouse. You play as Jason again, with a hockey mask and an axe. In this side-scrolling action game, you have to jump over obstacles and fight your way through all kinds of monsters, including severed arms and zombies. The very first boss fight is a vampire coming out of his coffin, and before that the game plays something almost like a few bars of Michael Jackson’s Thriller as Drak and his zombies dance across the screen. Oddly enough, most of the bosses I’ve encountered don’t allow you to directly damage them, instead you have to fight through waves of enemies. There are exceptions, such as. B. the Exorcist’s possessed daughter, where her head spins and flies after you. A few blows to the head should help.
While this game is definitely cuter with its big elves and such, it’s not really a game for kids. The difficulty is about the same as the other games in the series, with some levels being more platformer oriented. The graphics are quite impressive in some parts of the game, with some parallax scrolling and larger characters. One of the interesting game mechanics is that you start with four health bars, and there’s a counter on the screen that keeps track of how many enemies you’ve defeated. When it reaches the required number (10 in the first step), you get another piece of health. So to maximize your chances with the boss, you need to kill as many bad guys as possible. You also have to fend off paranormal enemies, including crosses on tombstones that come to life and try to wake you up, and books that fly off shelves and try to make you read them. It’s not necessarily the best game I’ve ever played on the NES, but it’s great that it’s finally happening and it’s worth spending time with.
Another game that caught my attention is Dragon Buster, another version of Famicom that has not arrived so far. Honestly, it’s not that great, but for some reason I put a lot of time into it. Interestingly, it reminds me of what the Zelda II prototype could have been: The adventure of connection. You have this rudimentary outside world where you can move your character to different destinations. The game then turns into a 2D action platform where you attack monsters with a sword. There are several boss rooms that store special secondary weapons of limited use that can be used against tougher enemies. These little labyrinths have multiple passages, so there is a bit of exploration. The main drawbacks of this game are the repetition of enemies and bosses and the low attack range, meaning you almost have to hit the enemies to get a hit. It could have been something very special, but in the end it’s not polite enough to be a certified success. But there is something here that has kept me busy longer than it should, so you should definitely check it out.
The rest of the collection consists of standard objects from the Namco museums, though it should be noted that most of these objects are actually new to Western NES owners. Namco did not publish its NES games in the United States until the 1990s, reserving the right to publish them to various outside publishers (such as Taxan and Tengen). As a result, the games you expected to see on the NES never really came. You can find the classic versions of the NES Galaxian (new), Pac-Man, Xevious, Dig Dug (new), The Tower of Druaga (new), Sky Kid, and Dragon Spirit : New legend. Depending on your nostalgia for these games, your experience may vary. Again, Ms. Pac-Man’s absence. Hey, Bandai Namco, when are you gonna give him some love?
The emulation of these games was done by master developers on M2. They are fantastic at their jobs and these games are going exceptionally well. They’ve given us some really spectacular ports from the Sega times in the past, usually with a ton of options and improvements. Unfortunately, we have received only a small number of additions to this collection. Of course, you can always save the game by saving, and you can also go back a few seconds if you make a mistake. I have three problems with the collection which, if resolved, would be even closer to must-have status.
The first problem is the lack of customizable controls. B and A are the same as on the NES, and you can’t change that, which is a shame because the buttons are on a switch (like on the Super NES) where it’s much easier to play with Y for B and B for A. Ultimately, in this day and age, there’s no reason not to include the ability to swap keys.
The second problem is that there is a tooltip at the bottom left of the screen that never disappears, showing the ZL system menu and the L rewind function. This is annoying and can cause the TV to burn out if you play for a long time. (UPDATE: While browsing Volume 2, I discovered that there is a way to turn it off! To do this, press ZL, then go to Settings, select Background Settings, then press X (or the top action button if you’re playing with a Joy-Con) and it will turn on and off in the information panel. Phew, it couldn’t be more hidden).
Third, I would like to see some historical content in these games. Both SNK and Konami have done a great job of including concept art, design documents, print ads, etc. in their collections and it would be great to see that love here as well.
Despite these problems, I had a great time with Namco Museum Archives Volume 1. In the absence of a true virtual console service on the Switch, it’s the closest we’ve come to experiencing some of the classic NES games, and it’s even better when playing games that have never been released in this country. The bonus to the edition of the Pac-Man Championship is included as an 8-bit demo and is a great pick-me-up for any fan of classic 80s arcade action.
Namco Museum Archives Part 1 Overview
- Charts – 7/10
- Sound – 8/10
- Gameplay – 8.5/10
- Late Call – 7.5/10
Final thoughts : GRAND
The Namco Museum Archive, Volume 1, is the company’s best collection of switches to date. With 10 classic NES games (most of which were never released in this country) and the Pac-Man Championship Edition demo, there’s a lot to love!
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published in various media. He is currently an editor and contributor to Age of Games.
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