If you're into retro arcade gaming, you've no doubt been following Namco Museum before its debut on the Nintendo Switch. It's an excellent arcade compilation that features both classic Namco Museum mainstays and several newcomers. And though the series made its home back on the original PlayStation originally, this new collection features quality emulation, excellent game choices, and plenty of charm.
A Trip to the Past
The game selection, which you're catapulted into upon starting up Namco Museum, is a solid one with both familiar and more niche selections that should appeal to a wide number of players. You get Pac-Man, Pac-Man Vs., Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaga ‘88, The Tower of Druaga, Rolling Thunder, Rolling Thunder 2, Sky Kid, Splatterhouse, and Tank Force in the package. Classics like Dig Dug, Pac-Man, and Galaga are obviously welcome additions, as is the Nintendo-published Pac-Man Vs., but some of the later inclusions like The Tower of Druaga and Tank Force seem like bizarre choices when there are excellent platformers like Mappy that could have been swapped in.
There's little to complain about otherwise given how eclectic the mix is, however, especially when you consider the game's budget price. This is a very solid offering, and you may even find that there's a new favorite hidden among the favorites. For instance, Pac-Man Vs. is a remastered version of the classic game with updated HD aesthetics and support for multiple Joy-Con controllers if you choose to play that way. One player controls Pac-Man while up to three other players slip into the role of the game's classic ghosts while trying to catch Pac-Man and gobble him straight up. This continues for several turns while the role of Pac-Man is swapped out between players.
This version of the game requires you to have two Switch consoles and a special free app you can grab from the Nintendo Switch eShop for dual-screen gameplay with one full copy of the game, and it works beautifully. I was able to play with an additional system and it's a lot more fun when you're able to play the game the way it was originally intended for multiplayer.
Beyond the obvious attraction that is Pac-Man Vs., Splatterhouse and Galaga '88 are must-plays, as are Dig Dug and the addictive Rolling Thunder. Particularly, Splatterhouse is uncut and there's plenty to enjoy with the additional games you may not have played much of even if you're a hardcore Namco fan.
Tinkering With the Classics
In addition to making an awesome selection of games available, Namco Museum displays said games with cabinet artwork on both sides of the screen with fantastic emulation. You can choose to adjust the size of your window, change up the aspect ratio, its position on your screen, or tinker with a selection of other helpful options.
While in-game you use the left shoulder button to insert a "coin" and you can access the array of menu options via the right shoulder buttons. From here you can easily swap through the selection of games and even save states, just as you would with a ROM of the game you've selected, which is certainly a helpful addition.
You can choose to play either Normal or Challenge modes of every game included in the package except for Pac-Man Vs., where Challenge mode finds you working to complete various objectives -- certainly a means for the hardcore players to go back and test their skills in more unique ways beyond what the original games offer.
Namco Museum is a fantastic self-contained package with an interesting offering of games that arcade fans will enjoy tearing into. It's found a suitable home on the Nintendo Switch. While it isn't rife with the "virtual museum" content previous games in the series back on the original PlayStation offered, it is a solid and feature-rich compilation title that's worth its asking price. Now let's just hope there's a second installment coming at some point with all the games we wish we'd seen with this one, too.
Brittany Vincent is an Editor at GameRevolution. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.
A Nintendo Switch copy of Namco Museum was provided by its publisher. Namco Museum is exclusive to Nintendo Switch.