Namco Museum Vol 1 on the original PlayStation was an endless source of fun and information as a kid. I could explore a 3D museum about old arcade games as well as experience said games for myself. The Namco Museum series continues today with two new releases: Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 and Namco Museum Archives Vol. 2. While each volume includes a brand new game alongside 10 other games each, the packages as a whole don’t do the legacy of these classics justice.
While Namco is known for their legacy of arcade games, many of those games were remade for the NES as well as some original games made for the console. I’m all for preserving these titles, and the games themselves are emulated well. Each volume contains 11 games, 10 classic games and 1 original game exclusive to these collections. Many of the expected options such as scan lines and screen sizing are here, and there’s even an option to add anti-aliasing and replicate the bleeding pixels of old tube TVs. As far as the games included go, there’s the expected Pac-man and Dig-Dug as well as rarer titles like Pac-Land and Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti which was only released in Japan. I haven’t played the original versions of these titles, but they all play perfectly fine here, complete with typical NES slowdown and sprite flickering.
Unfortunately that’s all this collection is: fine. There are no manuals to peruse nor cover art to gawk at. The games do include a rewind feature that has been a wonderful addition to many recent compilation games, but even that is lackluster at best, bringing you a few seconds backwards like a savestate instead of actually rewinding or letting you choose where to pick back up. While the two brand new games are a nice touch, Volume 1 has a demake of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Volume 2 contains a pseudo-sequel to Galaga called Gaplus, they’re not enough to make these collections stand out amongst the Sega Ages re-releases or even Nintendo’s own much maligned NES Online service. Everything Namco Museum Archives does here has been done better elsewhere. There are great games included in these packages, personal favorites being Legacy of the Wizard and Galaga, but they aren’t given the respectful treatment they deserve.
NAMCO MUSEUM ARCHIVES Vol 1
Namco Museum Archives is a collection of the company’s NES classics, no more, no less. While the emulation is great and the original games are a good touch, the “Museum” part of the title rings hollow.