Proof that games have gotten better.
Although the prospect of playing games of your youth (those classics by Namco)
may have sounded exciting when they first announced the product, it has quickly
gone down hill since. The first collection had several great games almost everyone
remembers - like Pac-Man and Galga. If they had ended the series with just that
collection it would have been adequate.
Namco continued to release version after version of their virtual "museum."
This got ugly quick - obscure and bizarre games that sometimes weren't even
released in the United States started appearing in the collections.
That brings us to Namco Museum #4 - containing only one game that is
worth playing (and albeit, that one gets boring too) and a bunch of other games
that you should steer clear of.
It's hard to review a pack of 'classic' games. You can't comment on the graphics
or sound - since they are exactly the same as they were in the arcade. So instead,
I'm going to do a bunch of mini-reviews for each game. I may seem overly harsh
to your halcyon memories of these games, but most of these games truly do suck.
Pac-land -- One of the stupidest games of all
time. All you do is walk to the right and jump over things. Sounds a little
like the original Mario Brothers, but it's different in that it's boring
and has absolutely no fun factor. Stay away from this stinker. F
-- An obscure, but surprisingly fun shooter. Will actually entertain you, unlike
other games in this collection. This is the latter half of the two games that
you might actually want to play in this collection. B-
The Return of Ishtar -- A boring dungeon crawler
that has you controlling two different characters at the same time. Confusing
and difficult, Return of Ishtar proves only one thing: games that sucked in
the 80's still suck now. D+
The Genji and Heike Clans -- A blatant rip-off
of Ninja Gaiden, The Genji and Heike Clans is a Japanese game that most likely
never saw US shores. And that was a good thing too, the game tries to meld three
different playing styles together - what does it end up with? Mediocrity. C-
Assault -- By far the best game in the collection.
You drive a tank around and blow up things - a plot that is still intriguing
by today's standards. However, unlike some repetitive blow-em 'ups that exist
now, this one is actually fun. B+
Namco Museum 4 could have been saved by a slick interface, and although the
3D first-person walkthrough is interesting, it's more annoying than anything
else. This collection truly has no classics - you're better off getting one
of the earlier editions instead. And I mean, come on, who in their right mind
would ever want to be reminded of (shudder) Pac-Land?