Namco Museum, much like its predecessors, is a collection of Namco-created titles from the ’80s and ’90s. These titles have been ported over from their original programming, given a slight clean up for the capabilities of the Switch, and put together for your playing enjoyment. Since this is the first one for a new console, Namco went ahead with what you would probably call a “greatest hits” package by including your usual classics. That way a younger generation is introduced to these titles while those familiar with them have the ability to play on a new system.
This version of Namco Museum had eleven titles in all, ranging from all-time greats like Pac-Man and Galaga to popular titles like Dig Dug and Sky Kid to arcade favorites like Rolling Thunder and Tank Force. Each of them includes the year and how many players you can get into a single game, most being one to two players with a few exceptions for four players. Each game comes with two modes: Normal and Challenge. Normal is your classic adventure down memory lane are you play them like you remember. Going back through and trying my hand at them, I can tell you there’s no changing the difficulty, for better and worse. I was still able to do my normal patterns in Pac-Man and secure victory for six levels before running into trouble. Meanwhile, I still had to deal with the menace that is the never-ending pile of enemies in Splatterhouse. If you wish, you can adjust the screen by 90 degrees and play it like an arcade monitor, which makes for an interesting time holding the Switch itself.
Challenge Mode is a bit more on the hard side of things by comparison. You’re given a series of tasks to complete in a certain amount of time and are scored based on your performance. A good example of this is in Pac-Man, the first challenge is to eat as many ghosts as you can in a three minute period. You’ll do your best and then be given a global rank. (I’m #127 as of when this posts, so I did alright compared to the thousands online.) Every game has its own set of challenges for you to overcome as you will find they help you get better at each game.
The highlight, at least in our opinion, to this collection, is the addition of the 2003 Game Cube title Pac-Man Vs. Using the joy-cons you can relive the four-player glory of the game, with cleaned up graphics and what I would call a better working interface from the original. You have the option of play the original version for two to four player, or a single console version for one to three players. You can choose between being a ghost and being Pac-Man as you make your way around the board. The best part is the online mode, as you can play with anyone else who happens to be on the servers, and that makes for a much more interesting time as you’re not splitting the screen and have a great sense of where you are.
I couldn’t have wished for a better set of games—there really isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to Namco Museum for the Nintendo Switch. You have a selection of titles that anyone would love to play from Namco’s golden and silver eras of gaming, and you got a classic four-player battle game that Nintendo fans adore. There’s really little wrong with this game, other than maybe wishing there was a wider selection from the past like Ms. Pac-Man, Xevious, and Dragon Spirit. But hey, it’s the first one for this console, so it’s forgivable. Hands down, one of the best purchases for the Switch so far.
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