If you enjoyed the selection of 8-bit classics in the first compilation then you'll be delighted by what's in Namco Museum Archives Vol 2.
Namco Museum Archives Vol 2 continues the tradition of the first Archives collection by including 10 NES games and a brand new 8-bit demake. However, this collection features many more obscure titles and oodles of Famicom exclusives which I'll discuss first because they're more interesting. First, Battle City is a Pac-Man style maze game where you can shoot through walls as you drive a tank. It's very simple but I enjoyed it a lot as it's reminiscent of classic games such as Bomberman and Combat. Next, Dragon Buster II is unlike its predecessor as you control your hero in an overhead perspective and the core gameplay involves bouncing arrows off walls as you defeat enemies while trying to earn the key and find the exit. In my opinion, it has held up much better than the original. Finally, Mendel Palace is a quirky action game by Game Freak where you flip floor tiles and try to push your opponents into the walls. I like it!
List of games in Namco Museum Archives Vol 2
- Battle City
- Dig Dug II
- Super Xevious
- Legacy of the Wizard
- Rolling Thunder
- Dragon Buster II
- Mendel Palace
The next batch of games consists of easily recognizable classics for the most part. For shooter fans, there's Galaga which is the super-fun successor to Galaxian and Super Xevious which is completely different to the arcade game of the same name. In fact, the Famicom version is subtitled GAMP no Nazo and it can be quite a frustratingly difficult game but it features many elements that make it stand out as a solid vertical shmup. For platforming fans, there's Pac-Land which is a cute 8-bit version of the arcade classic and the NES exclusive Mappy-Land which is one of my favourite games here. In fact, I previously included it in my NES Hidden Gems (Part 2) and Top 10 Overlooked NES Games on Virtual Console articles. It's an incredibly imaginative follow-up to the classic arcade game.
Moving along, the lesser-known sequel Dig Dug II is featured here and I actually still own my NES cartridge that I've had since I was a kid. It's a very cool take on its precursor's gameplay and features a fun layer of puzzle-solving to the action. There's also Rolling Thunder which is an okay 8-bit port of the cover and shoot arcade game and Legacy of the Wizard which I actually just bought about a week ago so it's weird to play it again here. For the unfamiliar, it's a 2D action platformer with RPG elements that's great fun, especially if you have an active imagination. Last but not least, a modern 8-bit demake of Gaplus (AKA Galaga 3) is included and it's more enjoyable than Galaga but it's nowhere near as fun as the NES iteration of Pac-Man Championship Edition from Namco Museum Archives Vol 1.
Well, there you have it; all 11 included games in Namco Museum Archives Vol 2. Overall, I had a bit more fun with this collection as there aren't any duds to be found which is impressive. Plus, the fact that most of the games are on the obscure side means that long-time Namco and NES aficionados like me will be able to finally enjoy a few hidden gems. Thankfully, the emulation is handled excellently and there are welcome display options and control modernizations such as rapid-fire. Of course, the fact that there are no arcade games or museum-style content is disappointing but if you go in knowing that it's merely 11 enjoyable NES games, you'll have a great time.
Although the Gaplus demake isn't as cool as the 8-bit version of Pac-Man Championship Edition, the other 10 games are what make Namco Museum Archives Vol 2 a slightly superior product. I've never seen a niftier treasure trove of NES hidden gems.
- + Features 10 classic NES games, many of which are very nifty obscure gems
- + Every game is actually fun in its own way
- + Fantastic emulation and welcome options
- - The 8-bit Gaplus demake is neat but not that great of an addition
- - Again, no museum-style content