Having already reviewed the first cartridge in the Evercade’s growing library, the Atari Collection 1, it’s now the turn of the second compilation: Namco Museum Collection 1.

As the cartridge packed in even with basic Evercade starter packs, this one is likely to be the first one that most new owners of the console get to play. With so many Namco Museum compilations on the market and on so many consoles, is this one worth a shot too?

The short answer is yes. Let alone the fact that it contains the very first English translation of platformer Mappy Kids (which isn’t bad – not exactly a masterpiece, but definitely not a bad game as such), there’s also a number of little seen, oft-forgotten games included, that are usually overlooked in Namco’s Museum compilations – which tend to favour their very old, albeit classic, arcade titles and/or their NES ports.

So yes, alongside the expected games such as Pac-Man, Mappy, Dig Dug and Xevious (all landmark titles of course), we have some surprising titles too.

Galaxian (its sequel, Galaga, tends to be the one we most often see in Namco collections these days), is an excellent single screen shooter in the Space Invaders mould that I’m still terrible at. Star Luster is an interesting cockpit-based first person space shooter that I’ve never seen before (and would have absolutely loved back in the day). Libble Rabble is a weird, albeit quite charming, game in which you control two ends of a, well, piece of string (kind of) – from the creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani. Quad Challenge is a frankly dull 16-bit racer that’s as visually uninspiring as its gameplay.

The two most interesting titles in the compilation for me are SNES-era titles Metal Marines and Battle Cars; the former a simplified RTS that can be quite unforgiving at first, but very addictive once you’ve got over the initial learning curve – and the latter being an F-Zero style Mode 7 racer with lots of weaponry and customisation (and a crazy, unnecessarily deep lore if you want to go looking for it!).

Even with a few fairly uninspiring games (Quad Challenge, Star Luster and arguably Libble Rabble too), everything here has a certain level of curiosity value that makes them worth checking out at the very least – and at the other end of the scale, we have some genuinely timeless masterpieces in the form of games like Pac Man and Dig Dug (potential hot take: Dig Dug is totally the bad guy in his game!).

It’s genuinely impressive to see such a wide range of games here too – the lesser known titles really are a welcome addition to the cartridge.

Most of the games have aged more gracefully in visual terms than the Atari titles on the first cartridge, though as I pointed out in the review of Atari Collection 1, despite the incredibly ancient visuals the gameplay has retained a purity and immediacy that’s still pretty intoxicating.

The same applies to the Namco collection in many cases. It’s a great showcase for the variety of titles that the Evercade can comfortably handle, with pitch perfect emulation and the usual godsend of save states only adding to the appeal. With just these first two cartridges in the Evercade’s library, it got off to a cracking start.

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