Review: Namco Museum Megamix

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I’m as much of an admirer of Namco’s classic arcade titles, such as Pac-Man, Galaga, DigDug and so on, as anyone, and have been a consistent player of the publisher’s ongoing Namco Museum compilation series going back multiple console generations now. But at some point, enough is enough – and I’m afraid we have reached that point with the new Wii release of Namco Museum Megamix.

Namco Museum Megamix is billed as this uber compilation of retro Namco titles, with a small collection of ‘remixed’ games—those updated with 3D graphics and, in some instances, waggle controls—thrown in to appeal to modern gaming sensibilities. In a vacuum, it’s a solid retro compilation. But here’s the problem: I’ve played this game before, and it was called Namco Museum Remix for the Wii…which came out over three years ago.

What’s ‘new’ in Namco Museum Megamix is purely a numbers game. The hub world and interface return unchanged, and the remixed games are identical to the ones that really were new in Remix (the levels are all the same as far as I can tell); only this time one more remix has been added for the top-down tank shooter, Grobda. Namco also doubled the number of original arcade ports from nine in Remix to 18 in Megamix, including the following:

* Bosconian
* Cutie Q
* Dig Dug
* Dig Dug II
* Galaga
* Galaxian
* Gaplus
* Grobda
* King & Balloon
* Mappy
* Motos
* New Rally-X
* Pac & Pal
* Pac-Man
* Pac-Mania
* Rally-X
* Super Pac-Man
* Xevious

That list reads great on paper until you realize that many of the nine extra games are completely superfluous, like Dig Dug II on top of Dig Dug, Galaga on top of Galaxian, both Rally-X games when one would suffice, multiple Pac-Man titles (and not commonly asked for ones like Pac-Land and Ms. Pac-Man), and so on. Many of these games have also been in the countless Namco Museum compilations that have released on basically every platform since the PS1, and at this point the notables of the collection, like Pac-Man, Galaxian, Xevious and Dig Dug, have been re-released to death.

As for the remixed games, there are six in all, including Galaga Remix, Gator Panic Remix, Grobda Remix, Pac-Motos Remix, Pac ‘n Roll Remix and Rally-X Remix. These remixes feature updated 3D gameplay and graphics with new Pac-Man themes and basic multiplayer options for family play-a-longs. Pac ‘n Roll and Galaga are easily the best of the bunch, with Galaga morphing into a psychedelic on-rails shooter and Pac ‘n Roll returning as an updated version of the DS game of the same name in which you roll Pac-Man around in a 3D world to collect dots, avoid/eat ghosts, and navigate tricky platforms and obstacles. Both are fun remakes of classic games, but they certainly aren’t worth getting this collection for on their own

Unfortunately, the other four remixes aren’t particularly interesting, and they sure won’t pull you back in for multiple play sessions. And worse still, these classic arcade games just don’t control that well in 3D, even the two aforementioned standouts. Rally-X, for example, is completely unplayable. Steering the car around the Pac-Man-esque mazes is far too imprecise, as you’ll come up to a turn, press the appropriate direction, and then watch as your car fails to respond or turns in a different direction than what you intended and drives directly into danger. Steering the tank around in the new Grobda Remix is just as twitchy, and Gator Panic, Namco’s answer to whack-a-mole, is a pain in the ass too because the controls just don’t react quickly enough to accommodate such a reflex intensive game.

As someone who has already played many Namco Museum compilations before this, already owns Namco Museum Remix, and expected Namco Museum Megamix to be more than a 90% direct rehash of a three-year-old game, perhaps my perspective here is unfairly tainted. I surmise that if you missed out on Remix and/or somehow have yet to experience the joys of Namco’s retro arcade catalog, you’ll probably find some old-school fun here. But I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to view this game as anything more than another third-party Wii cash grab, and I just can’t get myself to recommend it.

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Pros:
+ Pac ‘n Roll and Galaga Remixes are pretty fun
+ Good collection of retro arcade games for an affordable price

Cons:
– Mostly a rehash of a decent, three-year-old compilation
– Remixed games don’t control well in 3D, and most aren’t that entertaining anyway
– Too many of the same retro arcade games that have already been re-released ad nausea

Game Info:
Platform: Wii
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Date: 11/16/2010
Genre: Arcade Compilation
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-4
Source: Review copy provided by publisher

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!