Namco Museum Battle Collection
Reviewed by Minna Kim Mazza
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-09-15 PSP Arcade E10 (Everyone 10+) Namco

I am a sucker for trying to get as many games out of a title as possible... so this collection of classics was good enough to tempt my curiosity. I grew up being a Pac-Man fanatic (well, actually a Ms. Pac-Man fanatic) so I thought it would be a neat way to be able to play these games without pumping the quarters into arcade machines. Yes I see the irony in having my shiny new PSP and wanting to play old school games. Oh well!

The only issue was that I was going to have to figure out how to steer Pac-Man with the analog "joystick", or more appropriately the "nub." To help a little bit, there is an option to change the orientation of the game 90 degrees, so the nub is on the right side (being right-handed) and also the resolution is a bit larger. This was probably the best setup - although I still had some trouble getting used to it, sometimes it would respond differently than expected. You can of course use the directional pad to steer, though this isn't exactly the way the game was meant to be played in my opinion. Nevertheless I enjoyed my "free" games of Ms. Pac-Man.

Obviously this isn't just about Pac-Man, otherwise I wouldn't be bragging about how many little games I got in one title. There are 17 classic Namco-produced arcade titles, including Rally-X, New Rally-X, Galaga, Galaxian, Dig Dug, and Mappy. Frankly I never played the other titles, but they seemed entertaining enough. All of the games that I am familiar with were dead-on exactly like their arcade version.

There are also 4 "updated" versions of Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, and New Rally-X. These are more stylized versions and are barely similar to their counterparts, though still entertaining. I'd almost say they were a little less challenging than the classic version, though there is a difficulty setting. The variations on the game and the presence of a "storyline" make it a little more interesting. For example, some Pac-Man levels feature a super large ghost chasing you, and once you eat a power capsule it blows apart into lots of little dark blue ghosts, and the object is to eat them as fast as possible until the power-up wears out and combines back into the mega-ghost. The level is complete when you have been able to eat all the little ghosts.

Frankly I wasn't all that crazy about these new versions at first, but after playing them for a while, the new spin on the classics seemed to grow on me.

Another interesting thing you can do is save your progress, even in the classic games (try that in an arcade!) That way you can start from the last level you completed.

It is definitely a thrilling collection of old-school favorites, and any die-hard Pac-Man fan should enjoy having this in his/her collection.