Namco recyles its classics... again.
You know, I really enjoy retro collections. Even if I own some of the games in their original form, I just like the idea of owning many classic games on one cartridge or disc. Thus, I love the concept behind Namco Museum Megamix, which is to have ready access to all of your favorites, along with new mini-games to spark your nostalgic arcade memories. Unfortunately, the execution here leaves a lot to be desired, especially when you consider that this is an "enhanced" re-release of 2007's Namco Museum Remix. Yes, for some odd reason Namco decided to release this game again. This time they included a new retro game, but it isn't enough to mask what is in reality a mediocre collection.
The minute you load the game, you encounter the first problem. Rather than a menu from which you can select which game to play, you are taken to a hub world that forces you to roll Pac-Man into buildings to play each game. It is a neat idea that adds a lot more character to the presentation, but Pac-Man is hard to control, going very fast and making a full stop a chore. This is more notable in the arcade section, where the classic games are stored. You must stop right in front of the arcade cabinet before you can select a game, and often you'll end up in front of another cabinet if you are not careful. As ingenious as the idea may have seemed on paper, its execution is very poor.
The original arcade games run very well, so no complaints there. The problem is that they are a rather bland selection; you get the expected Namco classics such as Pac-Man, Dig-Dug and Galaga, but then you have titles like Pac-Mania, Super Pac-Man, Mappy, and Rally X. While fun, they don't leave a lasting impression, lacking the nostalgic appeal of some older titles.
One glaring problem lies in how the game maps the controls. You are forced to use the Nunchuk for the hub world, but when you play an arcade game, you have to switch out to your preferred control method (or just stick with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk). This is a problem that could have been solved with a traditional menu, but instead it complicates matters.
The remixed mini-games are okay, if rather forgettable. The idea behind them is that they take the basic concept of one of the arcade games, such as Galaga and Rally X, and place Pac-Man in them. It is a very neat way to add something new to the collection, but the gameplay becomes very repetitive.
Retro collection titles are not known for their graphical prowess since they are a showcase of older titles, but Namco Museum Megamix tries to liven things up with the previously mentioned hub world. Unfortunately, both it and the remixed games look very basic. It does sport some nice details like the individual designs of the arcade cabinets, but overall, it is unimpressive. The original games look just like they did all those years ago, so for retro junkies it is a treat to experience them in their glory.
In summary, Namco Museum Megamix is, for all its ambitions, an average classic games collection. The idea of the hub world makes navigation a chore, the actual collection of arcade games lack that endearing magic that makes revisiting these titles so great, and the remix games lack any real purpose. There are better classic compilations out there.