Its been a big week in releases for the Wii. Highly anticipated titles mixed with blatant shovelware have all seen the light of day this week. It seems like Namco Museum Remix fell somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t exactly subject to much fanfare, but it definitely showed promise. Where exactly did it end up?
Featured all week long on our site, Namco Museum Remix is a compilation title of nine classic Namco arcade titles; no frills attached, and five new takes on some of your favorite mainstays of the arcade yesteryear. While there is value to be found in this particular title, sometimes you have to look past several blights to discover it. Hit the jump to see whether we’re happy patrons of the museum that Pac-man built:
The basic premise of such a title isn’t groundbreaking at this point: Introduce a sandbox area to roam in while deciding which game you’d like to play, and then select your desired title by heading (rolling in this case) through it’s door/gate/ portal/etc. Playing as pac-man during this part, as well as most of the games, you’re able to also practice collecting pellets in the hub area. A nice concept in theory, it quickly becomes tedious in practice. Regular menus would be a simpler solution.
Something as small as the hub shouldn’t effect the games themselves, though. Galaga, Motos, Gator Panic, Rally X, Pac ‘ N Roll are the remixed titles. Going through each in singleplayer is actually a very similar experience to their classic counterparts. Highscore is a focus, along with a heavier emphasis on collection. Unfortunately, they’re also similar in that there just isn’t much variety within each game. Galaga remixed is basically a lightgun title with a very very small hint of the original, and each level plays out the same: Pac-man rolls on a track and you defend him. It’s not that the game isn’t fun enough, because it is. The problem lies in that the fun is extremely limited. The game I actually appreciated the most was Motos, as I enjoyed the original arcade title. Besides the remix titles, the game also includes nine original arcade titles. The simple fact that a third of these games are pac-man titles should testify to the quality found there. Dig dug has aged considerably well, and Cutie Q is kind of neat, but the rest of the collection is even less compelling than the remix side. In the end, it’s subject to the same issues, and you can’t help but feel like the game as a whole could’ve seen more success if it’d distanced itself more from its historical counterparts. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have moments where it shines.
That place is in multiplayer. Sitting down to these games with family and friends is an experience in and of itself. The game takes on new life when you aren’t rolling pac-man by yourself. Rally-X, a remix where you collect flags via karts in a pac-man-esque maze, is a frenetic free for all in multiplayer mode. The controls can be frustrating at times, but we’ve all had those moments in the arcade where we know we moved pac-man out of harm’s way, but he just stood there, staring blank into the ghosts’ ominous mouths. Also, Gator Panic, a near waste of time by yourself, can be a fun whack-a-mole experience with a friend or two. The motion controls are even fairly well suited for such a game (unlike other parts of the compilation).
Its this place that we find ourselves again, offering to our readers that you might find value in the title if you have a couple companions willing to jump into the (re)mix. Even then, the $40 price point might seem a bit high when games like Mercury Meltdown Revolution offer considerably more at a much more attractive price ($20). Developers/Publishers are going to have to either start pricing accordingly or daring to offer something new when visiting past gaming heroes.
Visuals = 195
The game certainly isn’t eye candy, but its certainly not the hideous regression that some Wii titles have been.
Sound = 161
A fairly decent soundtrack, but, again, nothing stands out. The arcade games still have incredibly dull sfx and usually no music.
Fun Factor = 244
With friends, the game is a pretty good time. Even by yourself its fun enough, though at least half of the games in the compilation aren’t even worth more than a single play.
Mechanics = 173
The motion controls for Gator Panic are decent, but the other controls falter a little more often than one would want. With three options to controls (wiimote, wiimote+nunchuk, Classic Controller) you would think one would stand out as the definitive means of controlling the game.
Replay Value = 214
In a group, the game will be fun for awhile, though, eventually your friends might want to get back to the party mainstays (bowling, tennis). By yourself, its fun enough, though its very monotonous.
Total = 987