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access_time July 6, 2020 at 6:58 PM in Reviews by Abdul Saad

Review | Namco Museum Archives Vol 1 & 2

The Namco Museum titles have been providing collections of entertaining and nostalgic arcade and NES games from the publisher for quite some time now. The latest installment arrived this year through two very similar but separate collections, Namco Museum Archives Volume 1 and Namco Museum Archives Volume 2.

These two volumes include ten classic titles with a new one also included in each volume. Sadly, this still doesn’t justify their separation into two volumes, nor its asking price.

 Namco Museum Archives

Design & Aesthetic

All the titles included in the collections ran smoothly without any bugs or glitches. The collections also include a rewind feature available at the push of a button. This feature admittedly reduces the difficulty drastically for most of the games, especially for arcade titles with a format made to be challenging to stretch out playtime. Hence, it’s no surprise that they chose to include it.

It’s a good thing too, as for the price the game is asking, it will enable more casual gamers to enjoy the experience a lot better. In contrast, more hardcore arcade players can ignore the feature altogether. However, a general flaw with this feature is the poor implementation. Rather than it being a smooth transition to previous points you’ve progressed through, it instead prompts a “yes and no” menu so you can go back just a few seconds, forcing you to use it repeatedly to achieve the desired effect making it a very janky and unsatisfying feature.

 Namco Museum Archives

What’s in the Box?

The collections include some neat features as well, such as scan lines, screen sizing, anti-aliasing, and some more features to replicate and max out the nostalgic effects. While the titles included in the volumes are quite varied, you’ll unfortunately still see a lot of similar games of the older shoot em up genre such as Super Xevious, Glapus, and Dragon Spirit. On the other hand, you’ll also see more nuanced and enjoyable titles like Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti and Dig Dug.

There’s also three Pac-Man games included across the two volumes, featuring the addition of a downgraded Pac-Man Championship Edition. It’s by far one of the more enjoyable games in the collection with a fantastic soundtrack, retro aesthetic, and fun gameplay.

 Namco Museum Archives

A Decent Trip

Aside from all that, this is just your standard collection of arcade and NES titles. While the volumes offer several excellent games to play through, it doesn’t stand out among other better collections with a higher number of titles included. What’s worse is that there’s absolutely no reason to justify the existence of two separate volumes in the first place. It really just feels like a quick cash grab. My advice to anyone interested in these volumes would be to choose them according to games they include, as the two volumes ultimately aren’t worth the asking price.

Regardless, I can’t deny that Namco Museum Archives can be worth it for some just for the nostalgic factors alone. A lot of the games included in these titles are solid, well-built, and enjoyable experiences some of us have fond memories of. With the current state of the industry compared to what it was back then, access to simple, stellar, and nostalgic titles is certainly appreciated.  

Final Score: 6 out of 10

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