IGN Review of Namco Museum Remix
By this point gamers should be familiar with the age-old art of retro game compilations. As long as people cling to the nostalgia and familiarity of old school titles like Pac-Man, Galaga, Rally X, Pole Position, and other arcade greats, companies like Namco will find a way to repackage and sell them off bit by historic bit; it's just the way the industry works. So when a game like Namco Museum Remix lands on our desk it's no wonder that we're tugged in two directions by each side of our gaming brains. One half lights up at the possibility of re-made retro goodness, while the other humbly reminds us that we've purchased and played all these games dozens of times before.
With Remix, however, Namco tried to dive a bit deeper into the untapped potential of its old school titles. The package boasts 14 games, but what Remix is really focused on are - naturally - the five fully-remixed titles. Rather than slapping a bunch of classics onto the disk and calling it a day, Namco has taken five games and revamped them for the Wii hardware, in some cases changing them completely. Players that drop a cool $40 on Namco Museum Remix will get totally remade designs of Pac'n Roll, Galaga, Pac-Motos, Rally-X, and Gator Panic. Along with the five remade games there's also a retro museum which includes nine classic Namco arcade elders.
It sounds like a decent package, but once you dive into what Remix actually offers you'll quickly find just how overpriced the $40 price tag really is. For starters, the retro titles included to fill out the package are mainly C-list games, with the list including a few classics such as Galaxian and Dig Dug, coupled with Mappy, Xevious, Gaplus, Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal, Pac-Mania, and Cute Q. No Pole Position, no regular Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man, and no retro versions of the included Galaga or Rally-X titles. We understand the risk of continuously releasing the same retro titles over and over again, but with Remix being the first of its kind on Wii, and with the system catering so much to the "new gamer" crowd, why not seriously bulk up the collection?
As far as the actual "Remixed" titles go, the package is hit and miss across the five. Pac'n Roll is the obvious focus of the compilation, with the actual game interface acting as an intro to the Pac'n Roll world, as players will need to roll around the level and go into buildings to access the different games and retro museum. This hub world is an awesome idea, and actually makes it fun to navigate the different areas, as you can screw around by hitting jumps and collecting dots, or just boost over to the intended game in very little time at all.
In fact, a couple of the games - Pac'n Roll and Galaga Remix specifically - actually have a pretty large amount of depth, each containing dozens of levels and control options for varying types of play. Galaga has been morphed into an IR-based shooter, while Pac'n Roll uses the analog stick to roll around levels, with a shake of the Wii-mote sending Pac into a boost. Both of these games have some serious replay value, as Pac'n Roll remains virtually unchanged, and Galaga changes just enough to give it an actual Wii feel, but we wouldn't pay any more than a few bucks on Wii Ware to experience either of them, as they feel more like deepened mini-games than anything else.
As for the other remixed titles, there isn't a ton to experience. Gator Panic is astonishingly basic, having the Wii analog stick move a cursor from section to section of the level, with Wii-mote waggle for slamming down. Granted the actual arcade game wasn't too deep either, but at least you had a huge foam mallet to beat the ever-loving crap out of the critters with, and friends could team up and slap the gators with their bare hands for uber-cheap high scores. If you're going to go that basic, why not just remix Namco's Flamin Finger arcade game. That game is painfully simple too, but at least it'd make sense with the Wii IR. As far as the other two go, Rally-X Remix is basically the same game with Pac-Man driving the car, and Pac-Moto equates to a remixed version of Monkey Fight from the Monkey Ball series. Neither have more than a few minutes of replay value, and are hardly worth mentioning, much less putting down money for.
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