When it comes to the arcade, Namco was always ahead of the game. I put together this list to celebrate the most underrated and hard-to-find games that were included in their Namco Museum compilations. Considering they were released for almost every console over the years, you know there are plenty of obscurities to explore. If you're ready, strap on your fanny pack. We're going back to the '80s!
Dig Dug Arrangement
Although Namco Museum Battle Collection and Namco Museum Virtual Arcade featured their own original Arrangement games, the collection simply known as "Namco Museum" for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube contained the Arrangement versions that were introduced in arcades in the mid-'90s. This new iteration allowed two players to dig simultaneously and boasted better graphics, new power-ups, different environments, and larger rocks. That'll make blowing up Pookas and Fygars even more fun than before.
Playing as a wooden toy doll is more exciting than it sounds in this overhead shooter. Namco Museum Vol. 1 was the only collection that included this odd cooperative multiplayer game. Maybe if Pino finds enough gold hearts, he'll finally turn into a real boy!
Sky Kid Deluxe
The original Sky Kid can be found in Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary, but this improved version can only be played in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade. Featuring more challenging gameplay, colourful graphics, additional missions, new enemies, and better music; landing that perfectly timed bomb on your target is more satisfying than ever.
Being exclusive to Namco Museum Vol. 3, Phozon's gameplay strikes a perfect balance between dodging enemies and carefully collecting objects to form the ideal shape for your nucleus. It may be too one-note for some, but it's still fun for the short while that it lasts.
Pac-Man has certainly seen his share of spin-offs. This Namco Museum Vol. 4 exclusive puts him on a journey to return a fairy that he keeps under his hat to her homeland. He's sure come a long way from gobbling up dots and being spooked by ghosts!
Here's another game that can only be found in Namco Museum Vol. 4. You control a tank to take out targets with precision as stages rotate left and right. If it sounds boring then don't be mistaken since the authentic tank controls and hectic levels make progression a satisfying achievement. Falling through the floor to reach the next level is consistently an awesome moment.
From Galaxian to Gaplus, Namco's static shooters have a long history. However, no game would reach the classic status that Galaga has deservedly achieved. In this remake, the gameplay is even more intense with enemies quickly moving in crazy and far less predictable patterns. Thankfully, the new upgrades provide you with the needed firepower to take them out. As an installment of the original Arrangement series, this version also contains cooperative multiplayer. Blasting Galagans is so much more exciting with a friend.
Namco's library of horizontally scrolling shoot 'em ups may not be as vast as other arcade developers, but Ordyne is a prime example of shooting bliss. This is yet another reason to pick up the eclectic collection that is Namco Museum Vol. 4. Playing with a friend and cashing in crystals at the store to become an unstoppable force within the wacky world of Ordyne is one of my favourite Namco memories.
If you want to play some classic Pac-Man but taken to the next level then Pac-Man Arrangement is a fantastic reimagining of the original that'll give you what you crave. Namco outdid themselves with this take on their classic with tons of crazy new content like hybrid ghosts, dash arrows, warp gates, themed worlds, power-ups, and an epic boss battle. An interesting addition is multiplayer where you play simultaneously yet it's not cooperative since you compete to see who can get the higher score. This is arcade gameplay at its finest.
The Legend of Valkyrie
Sometimes an arcade game simply feels too big to be an arcade game. This is the case with the Namco Museum Vol. 5 exclusive The Legend of Valkyrie. After you fight your way through countless battles comprised of hordes of enemies with your lizard pal by your side in this beautifully colourful overhead 2D action-filled adventure, you'll swear that it's a long-lost Super Nintendo game. It's this level of quality that consistently put Namco ahead of their competition and it's still a delight to play in this day and age.