Namco Museum Battle Collection PSP Review

Released in five different editions on the Playstation, the Namco Museum set was a decent collection, though the price was hard to swallow ($20 a disc). That collection was remixed onto a single set with the most popular titles. That has been making the rounds for some time on the current generation of consoles. On the PSP, that set has been broken down, revamped, and added to. The games are as follows:

Pac-Man
Ms. Pac-Man
Galaga
Galaxian
Rally-X
New Rally-X
Dig Dug
Dig Dug 2
Xevious
Bosconian
Mappy
Tower of Druaga
Dragon Buster
Grobda
King & Balloon
Rolling Thunder
Motos

Those are all in their original forms. For the vertically oriented games, you can turn the console onto to its side to respect the original aspect ratio of these games. Stretching horizontally to fit the widescreen of the console leads to graphical problems, the PSP's refresh rate not quite what it needs to be. Emulation is spot-on all around, though Rolling Thunder seems to be moving at a faster clip than it used to (and that refresh rate issue reeks havoc on the brightly colored title). That's a small adjustment.

Game quality is what's important since these are emulated so well, and there are some questionable additions. Dragon Buster is a bland, frustrating early dungeon crawl, and one of the worst in this set (right down there with Tower of Druaga). The same goes for the tired and rather stupidly titled King & Balloon, a Space Invaders/Defender knock-off that's not particularly enjoyable. New Rally-X will forever remain a disappointment, and since the original is available free with the PSP Ridge Racer, neither of those are necessary editions.

The rest remain classics, including the criminally under appreciated Dig Dug 2 which radically changes the mechanics for a completely new game. That's not all Namco Museum Battle Collection offers though, and this is where things become interesting. Game sharing is prevalent, and multi-player is included where appropriate.

The biggest extras are remixes, newly updated versions of the classics. These are certainly not for purists, radically altering these games with bonuses and power-ups. Dig-Dug, Rally-X, Pac-Man, and Galaga receive this treatment. The graphics are the most obvious upgrade, adding polygons and rendered sprites to maximize detail without actually losing the styles of the original. All of the music has been remixed to, falling perfectly in line with an outstanding mix of music during the start up menu. These respectful updates offer fresh experiences, without losing what made the games great in the first place. These are the reason to own this UMD.

It would be perfectly understandable to complain about this set, given the rather high $40 price point, and the total lack of extras. A few pieces of cabinet art or retrospectives, an expected set of features for compilations now, would have gone a long way. As it is in completed form, you'll get the largest selection of games from Namco's long running lines of re-releases, superb remixes, and some of the industries best games ever. It's a personal call whether or not the price tag is worth it.

Comments (3)

Come on Matt. You are supposed to be giving your opinion here...

Was it worth the rental? Would you buy it? Do you really think the new arranged games are worth it?

I myself am having a lot of fun with the 4 arrangements.

The only thing I find annoying is that your friend's PSP has to be running OS 1.52 to use the Game Sharing feature. And some people are clinging to the hope that homebew apps are going to amount to something, which is quite annoying when you want to play multiplayer.

"Emulation is spot-on all around,"

"The biggest extras are remixes, newly updated versions of the classics... These are the reason to own this UMD."

"As it is in completed form, you'll get the largest selection of games from Namco's long running lines of re-releases, superb remixes, and some of the industries best games ever. It's a personal call whether or not the price tag is worth it."

I think I've provided the info neccesary. Personally, no, I wouldn't pay $40. However, some people will, and it's going to depend on the information I provided.

He he.

I guess the only thing I would add, if I were reviewing the game (which I won't be now) is that this gave is great to have for those short wait-in-line type moments. It has short load times and and seems perfect for small doses.

I bet Midway's retro collection will be better though.

But then if you starve a hungry beast for six months, it will snap up anything in sight.

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