Namco have been putting together compilations of their various arcade and console titles for a very long time; ever since the very first Namco Museum title arrived on the PlayStation in 1995, in fact. Though these early compilations focused on recreations of Namco’s arcade titles, this ‘Archives’ release is a bit of a strange one, as it features games released for the NES (and its Japanese equivalent, the Famicom).
It’s a bit odd to have access only to NES versions of these games when the arcade versions were so much more competent from a technical standpoint, but there is at least a good selection of titles included and even a ‘demake’ in the form of a new, NES-style version of Pac-Man Championship Edition. Along with that, cutesy oddity Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti is also featured – the first time it’s been released outside of Japan.
The rest of the titles are a mixed bag of familiar faces – Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Xevious, Galaxian and Mappy, for example – and slightly lesser seen titles such as Dragon Buster, Dragon Spirit and Sky Kid.
The emulation is great and the usual rewinding and save state features are an absolute godsend; the number of games included (eleven in total) does give a good sense of value too. The exclusive Pac-Man Championship Edition demake is the collection’s big selling point – along with the curiosity value of including Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, which is actually quite a fun little game – but by this stage, retro gamers must be getting sick of seeing the same old titles making up the numbers on these compilations. It doesn’t help that this collection focuses entirely on NES versions either, as the arcade versions of each title are better and barely any more technically challenging to reproduce, if at all.
A decent enough collection then, but perhaps one for fans who have nostalgia specifically for the NES titles in general – or who at least don’t mind shelling out to get access to two genuinely interesting experiences that’ll be new to them. Most retro gamers will already own superior versions of many games featured here, which seem to have made their way to so many Namco compilations over the years.
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