Namco Museum DS
A poor translation of the classics
Sept 27, 2007
What's a few pixels among old friends? That's the question Namco Museum DS asks - you love old-fart games like Xevious and Galaga so much, you'll accept it if they, you know, don't look like they should, right?
We won't dive into the technical side of games too deeply here, but stick with us. The screen size of the original Pac-Man was 224 pixels by 288 pixels. The native resolution of the DS is smaller, just 256 x 192. So in order to make Ol' Yellow Mouth fit, Namco had to… squeeze. And at screen sizes this small to begin with, that means that some pixels just disappear, making fonts harder to read and - worse - maze walls harder to see. On Galaxian, all the colorful little aliens kinda looked crippled, like one of their mighty claws or feet or whatever was slightly withered.
The alternative is to run Pac-Man in its larger-than-the-screen true resolution and scroll the playfield a little bit, which makes it more playable but still looks funny, since the playfield dims whenever it scrolls. That stuff was less of a problem with the other six games, which include the-mouse-is-a-cop-how-cute actioner Mappy, the amazingly boring dungeon crawler Tower of Druaga, and the inferior-to-its-parent Dig Dug II. But playing any of them vertically is better than the super-squished horizontal screen modes, since all seven oldies in this collection were originally presented on vertical monitors. So the only logical way to play them is vertically, like Brain Age, right? Sure… but then you look (and feel) like a moron when you try to use the d-pad and buttons sideways.