After playing Evercade a lot recently, I'm happy to now dive into one of my favourite retro developers with Namco Museum Collection 1.
Namco Museum Archives
Before discussing this lovely Evercade collection, I wanted to mention the very cool Namco Museum Archives compilations which you can currently get for every modern console as well as Steam if you prefer gaming on PC. This duology of anthologies contains 11 NES games each with a couple of them being created just for the collections; specifically, 8-bit de-makes of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Gaplus. There are also nifty features like the ability to rewind. How cool is that? Anyway, they're full of classic arcade game adaptations as well as oodles of surprises and hidden gems so if you'd like more NES titles from Namco then check these delightful collections out as well.Namco Museum Archives Vol 1 Review Namco Museum Archives Vol 2 Review
List of games in Namco Museum Collection 1
- Battle Cars ³
- Dig Dug ¹
- Galaxian ¹
- Libble Rabble ³
- Mappy ¹
- Mappy Kids ¹
- Metal Marines ³
- Pac-Man ¹
- Quad Challenge ²
- Star Luster ¹
- Xevious ¹
¹ NES | ² Genesis | ³ Super Nintendo
Arcade classics for NES
First up, there are a handful of 8-bit iterations of Namco's classic arcade games. Each one of these is impressively well-adapted for NES although it must be said that the arcade versions remain superior for the most part. Anyway, Dig Dug is as fun as it's ever been with its strategic digging and enemy-inflating gameplay while Galaxian provides simple static shooting fun that feels like a slight step-up from Space Invaders and a fitting predecessor to Galaga. Speaking of shooting, the vertical shmup Xevious has you shoot and deploy bombs as you soar through tricky situations and it has held up beautifully. Of course, its playfield is much wider than the arcade version but it somehow doesn't feel out of place. Finally, Mappy and Pac-Man are genuine classics and both are supremely enjoyable even nowadays.
For some variety, Evercade Namco Museum Collection 1 includes a couple of racing games. Battle Cars for SNES is an okay racer that was clearly inspired by F-Zero but it's nowhere near as fun and its constant jumping around whenever you collide with anything is incredibly disorienting. It's still a solid game, though, even if there are superior SNES racers. The other racing game is Quad Challenge which is pretty boring and basically feels like a slower Pole Position albeit with the occasional jump; definitely not that good.
Last but not least, allow me to introduce you to some hidden gems. Although it seems like a NES game, Libble Rabble is a SNES title that has you control 2 arrows in order to wrap a string around pegs to section off parts of the stage. It's simple and easy but it's also quite relaxing to play and I enjoyed it a lot. Oh, and it was designed by Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani so that's neat. Although I'm a big Mappy fan and love Mappy-Land, I've never played Mappy Kids and it's a pretty fun 2D platformer which gets quite fast once you collect enough power-ups. Meanwhile, Metal Marines is a fairly entertaining real-time strategy game which becomes satisfying once you learn its ins and outs and Star Luster is an okay space sim with fun combat yet its overall gameplay may be a bit too complex for the NES.Top 10 Namco Museum Hidden Gems
As a Namco fan, I'm glad that I can now enjoy some rarities from their catalogue along with a handful of timeless classics in one convenient compilation. If you're a fan of theirs, too, then you need Namco Museum Collection 1 in your Evercade library.
- + Includes 5 arcade classics that have been impressively well-adapted for NES
- + Features a bunch of hidden gems
- + Overall wide variety of games
- - Although enjoyable, the arcade versions are still better than the NES adaptations
- - The racing games aren't very good