Review: Namco Museum MegaMix (Wii)
by A.J. Hess on December 3, 2010

Namco Museum MegaMix
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games America
Developer: Namco
Genre: Arcade
Release Date: 11/16/2010

Namco has long been one of the most important companies in the world of arcades. Who can say how many millions of quarters were plunked into cabinets bearing their name? Now, as the conventional arcade has given way to the home gaming console, Namco has found a way to update their catalogue for a new generation. Namco Museum MegaMix is here. Let’s see if it is worth more than a few quarters.

1. Story/Modes

Rather than try to shoehorn a game collection into some sort of plot, Namco delivers a hub-world for you to roll a Pad-Man around to play the included arcade games and their remixed versions. The box art for the game is somewhat misleading-it boasts twenty-four games, but only six have been remixed. The remaining eighteen games are in one section, a walled off arcade. Each of the remix games has some subtle tweak to them. The update to Galaga, for instance, turns the top-down shooter into a rail shooter-literally. Pac-Man rolls around series of tubes in space while you aim and fire just like a lightgun game. In fact, all of the re-mix games feature the Golden Gobbler in one form or another. Pac-Motos is-shockingly-just Motos with Pac-Man. There isn’t much story, but if you consider the twenty-plus games on the disc, it does have a ton of modes.

Story/Modes: Enjoyable

2. Graphics
For the titles held captive in the museum, the graphics haven’t been touched since the olden days. For the remixes, the graphics are often bright but suffer from an overall bland feeling. There isn’t anything awful, but a feeling that so much more could have been done. The Hub-World that Pac-Man rolls around in is similarly bland. It just feels like polishing things up wasn’t as important as it should have been. I do have one serious complaint, and that is the arcade for the untouched classics. There is very, very little way to tell them apart. Each game is supposed to be housed in a graphical representation of its original arcade cabinet, but once you squeeze eighteen of them into the screen, you can’t tell the difference. More than once I went into a game and had to back out of it because it wasn’t want I wanted.

Graphics: Poor

3. Sound
See the graphics section for my opinions. Yes, it’s nice that the original games haven’t been touched. Unfortunately, the new, remix versions don’t really have any notable sounds to speak of either. Bleeps, blips, and boops are everywhere. It’s fitting, and I wouldn’t really want Pac-Man screaming “ouch!” whenever he gets hit, but even the music seems just so bland. If I’m in space, fighting giant space insects, I want to hear buzzing, screeching, and dramatic music.

Sound: Pretty Poor

4. Control and Gameplay

There is far too much sticking and wobbling in the main game hub to have a good feeling about this title, and it gets worse when you get into some of the games. The driving portions in the Rally X update give you a car that handles like an eight-bit game in a sixty-four bit world. You can barely drive. The Galaga remix shooting is okay, but the guns seem to run out of ammo with no explanation or way to prevent it. Turning back the clock, the older games all play as you would expect. The lack of polish on the new remix games keep this from being a decent package though.

Control and Gameplay: Below Average

5. Replayability
Variety is the spice of replay value. That is something this collection does very well. Having games that play very, very differently but still in the same category, like Galaga and Bosconian, help keep you interested. It is also fun to try one of the remixed games and then try the original to see what inspired the remix.

Replayability: Good

6. Balance
Depending on what you’re playing, the difficulty curve of these games is going to be either just fine or frustrating. The old games were meant to eat quarters, not keep you playing for a long time. The remixed games are more of what a modern gamer expects-simple, playable, and not punishing in difficulty. The original games will do their best to kill you, blow up your ship, or knock you off the gaming platform over and over again.

Balance: Mediocre

7. Originality
Nothing to see here, move along, right? Not entirely. Namco did add the open world sandbox to run around in. You can pick up all the power pellets Pac-Man can eat while rolling over the hub. Sadly, only remixing six of the titles doesn’t do much to keep things fresh, and the remixes themselves are mostly of passable-but not great-quality. Putting the final nail in the coffin is the fact that this collection is itself a re-release of Namco Museum Remix, from all the way back in 2007. Really, just three years and we’re doing another version? Bad form, Namco.

Originality: Dreadful

8. Addictiveness
While the option to play a lot of different games helps the replay value, the desire to keep playing those individual games suffers. These were all games that were designed to eat quarters, but the drive to play them has lessened as time has moved on. Lacking much beyond a goal to just keep playing for High Score, you might not find a lot of reason to keep this in your console.

Addictiveness: Mediocre

9. Appeal Factor

There is a lot to like in this package if you’re a fan of classic arcade titles. Being able to pick up almost twenty titles in one box is a good thing. People who are major Pac-Man fans will also love the excessive use of him. There is a huge problem though, in that this title has already been released once as X. If you’ve already nabbed that release, you’re only getting one truly new game, and that game doesn’t control all that well. Furthermore, if you’d rather see Galaga as a space adventure instead of Pac-Man on rails, you’re going to be disappointed.

Appeal Factor: Poor

10. Miscellaneous
I can’t help but think that more updates and remixes could have helped this title immensely. Take Mappy, for instance. Mappy is a police mouse that chases criminal cats, and that kind of quirky, zany game could have made for a great stealth title. Even if it was kept very, very basic, an update along those lines could have utterly worked. Instead, Namco put their energies into a series of flashy remixes that lack substance. Yes, arcade games were known for being bright, shiny cabinets full of flashes of light, but if you’re going to update something, you should try a bit harder.

Miscellaneous: Below Average

The Scores
Story: Enjoyable
Graphics: Poor
Sound: Pretty Poor
Control and Gameplay: Below Average
Replayability: Good
Balance: Mediocre
Originality: Dreadful
Addictiveness: Mediocre
Appeal Factor: Poor
Miscellaneous: Below Average
FINAL SCORE: Below Average Game

Short Attention Span Summary

Namco Museum MegaMix might offer a bunch of games on a silver platter, but it turns out there are only a few fresh morsels. While the game boasts that there are twenty-four games, you’re only getting six new versions, and eighteen old ones. The price comes out to just over a dollar a game for the original arcade titles, but there have been other versions released before that you can probably track down for less. Some of the remixes don’t make much sense, and others have rough controls. The graphics and sound are faithful to the arcade titles in the gallery, but the remixes don’t try hard enough to dazzle. If you’re a huge fan of Pac-Man, you’ll see enough of him to satisfy your Pac-love, but if you wanted a fresh take on old games, you’re not going to find it here.

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A.J. Hess

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  • Samuraiter

    Yeah, I’m not seeing anything new or innovative in this Namco collection that hasn’t really been in any of the one million others they’ve done over the years. It’s certainly no Data East Arcade Collection.

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