Namco Museum Battle Collection


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: Varies

Sound: Varies

Gameplay: Varies

Overall: 8


namcomuseumpsp3.jpg (32924 bytes)Released in five different editions on the Playstation, the Namco Museum set was a decent collection, though the price was hard to swallow ($20 a disc). That collection was remixed onto a single set with the most popular titles. That has been making the rounds for some time on the current generation of consoles. On the PSP, that set has been broken down, revamped, and added to. The games are as follows:

Ms. Pac-Man
New Rally-X
Dig Dug
Dig Dug 2
namcomuseumpsp4.jpg (40657 bytes)Bosconian
Tower of Druaga
Dragon Buster
King & Balloon
Rolling Thunder

Those are all in their original forms. For the vertically oriented games, you can turn the console onto to its side to respect the original aspect ratio of these games. Stretching horizontally to fit the widescreen of the console leads to graphical problems, the PSP's refresh rate not quite what it needs to be. Emulation is spot-on all around, though Rolling Thunder seems to be moving at a faster clip than it used to (and that refresh rate issue reeks havoc on the brightly colored title). That's a small adjustment.

namcomuseumpsp1.jpg (28956 bytes)Game quality is what's important since these are emulated so well, and there are some questionable additions. Dragon Buster is a bland, frustrating early dungeon crawl, and one of the worst in this set (right down there with Tower of Druaga). The same goes for the tired and rather stupidly titled King & Balloon, a Space Invaders/Defender knock-off that's not particularly enjoyable. New Rally-X will forever remain a disappointment, and since the original is available free with the PSP Ridge Racer, neither of those are necessary editions.

The rest remain classics, including the criminally under appreciated Dig Dug 2 which radically changes the mechanics for a completely new game. That's not all Namco Museum Battle Collection offers though, and this is where things become interesting. Game sharing is prevalent, and multi-player is included where appropriate.

The biggest extras are remixes, newly updated versions of the classics. These are certainly not for purists, radically altering these games with bonuses and power-ups. Dig Dug, Rally-X, Pac-Man, and Galaga receive this treatment. The graphics are the most obvious upgrade, adding polygons and rendered sprites to maximize detail without actually losing the styles of the original. All of the music has been remixed to, falling perfectly in line with an outstanding mix of music during the start up menu. These respectful updates offer fresh experiences, without losing what made the games great in the first place. These are the reason to own this UMD.

namcomuseumpsp2.jpg (25502 bytes)It would be perfectly understandable to complain about this set, given the rather high $40 price point, and the total lack of extras. A few pieces of cabinet art or retrospectives, an expected set of features for compilations now, would have gone a long way. As it is in completed form, you'll get the largest selection of games from Namco's long running lines of re-releases, superb remixes, and some of the industries best games ever. It's a personal call whether or not the price tag is worth it.


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Last updated: Monday, September 19, 2005 02:33 PM