Retro gaming compilations are nothing new. In fact, they are probably more rampant than ever, springing up on every system imaginable. Namco’s latest bundle, Namco Museum Remix, gives gamers a gleam of hope to the fact that they can now play classic games with a new coat of paint while the thinness of our wallet screams that we have played (and paid) these games a dozen times before.
Remix is a good combination of old with new. The “Museum” part of this title stems from the 9 classic games that are playable in their original form whereas the “remix” comes from the 5 games that have been given a Wii-mote overhaul. Namco could have easily bundled these 14 classic games on one disc and called it a day, but thankfully they took that extra step to give us something new (which is the main reason why this game sells for $40 instead of $20). Pac’n Roll, Galaga, Pac-Motos, Gator Panic, and Rally-X have been redesigned with the Wii-mote in mind.
While having these 5 new games and 9 classic games for a price point of $40, it does not take long to realize how over priced this game really is. To start, just about every classic game is a C-list title including Pac&Pal, Cutie-Q, Gaplus, Mappy, and Pac-Mania. Where is classic Pac-Man? Where is Ms. Pac-Man? Where is Pole Position? Where is Galaga? Where is Rally-X? Since this is a Museum package, why not include these staple games that everyone knows? They have already been ported to every other system on planet Earth, why not throw them in this one?
In terms of the 5 re-mixed titles, they mostly fall in a hit-or-miss category. The game’s interface takes place in a central hub, like the castle to Mario 64. Here, the player rolls Pac-Man around to guide the player to the different games available. This hub world is reminiscent of Pac’n Roll, another full blown remixed game. Using the analog stick, the player rolls around a world collecting items along the way.
The most fun you will have in this compilation will probably be in the Galaga Remix section. Here, the player uses the Wii-Mote like a light gun, shooting the incoming aliens. And as a new touch, Pac-Man will roll through the level on a set rail, and it is up to the player to protect him from the aliens. If Pac-Man takes too many hits, it is game over. Up to four players can play cooperatively in this mode. In all honesty, even though this game is probably the best addition on this disc, I still could not shake the idea that this was nothing more than a Wii-Sports style mini game. Yes, there are many levels to play through, but there is no solid meat to this game as it is suffers from repetition. No matter which level you play, you are still shooting the same aliens while on rails.
The other remixed titles are not really anything to write home about. Gator Panic is a very basic game that actually has the potential to break your wrist thanks to all the Wii-moting you have to do. Also, this game reminds me of Hungry Hungry Hippos for some reason. Rally-X Remix is essentially Rally-X, but with polygons instead of pixels. And Pac-Moto is a dumbed down version of Monkey Fight from the Super Monkey Ball games. While all these games act as a great party game, the content within them will not last for more than a few minutes.
Namco Museum Remix is a decent compilation, but it will have gamers wanting more, especially for the higher price point. The five remixed games will not hold your attention for very long, and the classic games in the museum are probably filled with titles that the average gamer has not heard of. Perhaps these classic games would have received an extra bit of replay value if it used Wii-Connect24 to upload high scores, but of course that would be asking for too much coming from a Wii game. If you have not downloaded these classic games on your Wii Virtual Console, through the XBLA, playing them in their original form, or bought a previous compilation, then picking up this disc might be a worthy consideration if you desire to learn about gaming of the past.