Namco, the company famous for bringing us arcade classic hits like, Pac-Man, Galaxian, Dig Dug and more is back with a new release that puts a twist on some of it's classic hits. Gator Panic, Rally-X, Pac'N Roll, Galaga, and the more obscure Motos are all remixed into 3D Wii versions on the appropriately titled, “Namco Museum Remix”.
Also offered up, for those classic gamers are 9 more titles; Galaxian, Dig Dug, Mappy, Pac&Pal, Cutie-Q, Super Pac-Man, Gaplus, Xevious, and Pac-Mania. These titles retain their classic gameplay adapted to the Nintendo Wii's unique interface, but with so few changes that you'll instantly remember the days when you spent way too many quarters at the helm of your local arcade.
To fairly rate this game, there are several aspects that I think need to be looked at. I'll start with the interface. The Nintendo Wii controller is probably the most unique input device to be created since the light gun years ago. With this new input method, things are possible that never would have been before. Remix does use this interface in it's gameplay, but I don't think it uses it all that well.
That being said, I do think that there was some good thought put into this title. The game selection is done by rolling Pac-Man through a 3D board, around Pac-Man castle into different rooms which are portals to the games that you will play. This is a pretty good idea, in theory. The problem is, your controls are a bit awkward and moving Pac-Man around feels cumbersome. There are also yellow dots to be consumed randomly, although they don't actually do anything. Then again, when did the dots ever really do anything in the whole Pac-Man franchise?
Moving along, the arcade classics are pretty cool, but I found the selections to be lackluster at best. My favorite Namco titles were remixed and absent from the arcade classic room leaving me with the cream of the crap, so to speak. Granted, titles like Dig Dug and Galaxian were fun, but not seeing classic Pac-Man or Galaga kind of made me sad a little.
There was also no unlockable content. One thing that keeps me in a game is the idea that I get some kind of reward for completing certain parts of the game. The developers missed the boat here! Had they made the 9 classic hits unlockable by completing certain objectives within the remixed titles, I would have enjoyed this game much more. With everything available right out of the game, I was left as disappointed as a kid who peeked at his presents on Christmas morning.
The remixed titles weren't bad, however they weren't all that good either. It's easy to see that Namco really wants it's audience to remember that they stumbled on a great thing 20 years ago with Pac-Man, but they've had a hard time moving on. With the little yellow guy branded on literally everything possible in this game, I felt that the Pac-everything was just about as obnoxiously branded as the 1960s Batman movie, Bat-Shark repellent spray anyone?
Gator Panic Remix took the very simple concept of hitting gators with a padded mallet and digitized it. You do get to use the Wii-mote, but you still control the direction with the nun chuck (something I found to be a little annoying). There really aren't any levels to this game, so it feels sort of rushed to help add content to this disc.
Rally-X remix was probably my favorite to play in the given selection. You have to speed away from an unnamed assailant and collect flags before your fuel runs out. I played this one all the way through, and thought that out of all the other remixed titles, this one was the most fun.
Pac-Motos is a remix from a very old, and mostly forgotten arcade puzzle game called... Motos. The idea here is to knock enemies off the board without getting knocked off yourself. You use little power ups as you go, a the difficulty rises as squares are removed from the platform you are on and different obstacles are presented from level to level. This too was fun for a few minutes, but had very little replay value.
Pac'N Roll remix was basically an extension from the main menu, except the dots you collect are counted, and you are only allowed to progress if you collect a certain number of dots before level completion. If you don't get all the dots, a gate stands in your way until you do. This game felt a little like Sonic The Hedgehog, but the controls weren't as tight. I understand that you'd only have limited control rolling, but the tight turns and long lines of dots are just a little too much to try and collect using the joystick without an amount of care that I just didn't want to give this game.
Probably the most visually appealing remix was Galaga. Galaga Remix rolled Pac-Man down a series of half pipes while you used the Wii-mote to protect him from a swarm of alien invaders. The pace was fast, the graphics were descent but again the Achilles heel of this game was the controls. I was left underwhelmed by the fact that things just felt loose and unpolished. I didn't really feel in control of the game so much as I felt like I was a participant in a game that would have moved along without my participation. The lack of control bothered me enough that I really didn't have a whole lot of fun with this title.
So, in summation, Namco Museum Remix (which could have also been called, Pac-Man Ad-Nauseum) is fun, but not really worth the $40 pricetag. The remixed titles aren't anything that special, the classic titles aren't Namco's best and in the end this is just another re-release of something you probably already own several copies of on other “Arcade Classic” discs.