Genre: Classics Collection
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Date: October 2007
The endless repackaging of decades-old classic games has been one of the least admirable developments in the modern era of gaming, and the Namco Museum series has led the charge with iterations for nearly every major system released since the original PlayStation. Luckily, Namco Bandai has sensed the series’ dwindling necessity and will be shaking things up a bit with Namco Museum Remix for the Wii.
Namco Museum Remix will pack a total of 14 games within its digital confines, but just nine of those will be pixel-perfect ports from the past. The other five may bear familiar names, but the classic concepts have been brought into the 3D realm, with some taking advantage of various abilities of the Wiimote. With the addition of four-player support on at least three of the remixed titles, Namco Museum Remix may establish a new legacy for these re-imagined favorites.
Two of the remixed entries were playable at a recent Namco Bandai press event, and we got a chance to try out Galaga and watch a hands-on demonstration of Rally-X. The other three titles – Pac ’n Roll, Pac-Motos, and Gator Panic – were likely being held for the E3 Media & Business Summit in July.
Galaga makes use of the Wiimote’s infrared pointer to deliver a unique take on the 1981 shooter. As Pac-Man rolls like a marble along a series of slides suspended in outer space (what?), a bevy of bugs and other flying creatures will attempt to attack the spherical hero or block his path. Your task is to zap the endless swarms with the Wiimote until Pac-Man reaches the end of the stage. The demo level seemed to lack both challenge and depth, so we are particularly interested to see how the experience scales in difficulty and just how much content is actually contained in the remixed iteration of Galaga.
The Pac-Man proliferation continues in Rally-X, which puts the bulbous icon in a go-kart to nab flags within a wacky maze. Viewed from a three-quarters overhead perspective, Rally-X appears to closely resemble the 1980 original in gameplay and structure, despite the obvious visual upgrade. Though we did not have a chance to try this particular remix, it appears that the Wiimote is used to steer the character through the mazes and around the mud, oil slicks, and rocks that attempt to block Pac’s path.
Pac ’n Roll takes the 2005 sleeper favorite for the DS and bumps it up to the Wii (presumably with motion controls), while Pac-Motos seems to be a battler of sorts, with Pac attempting to push his opponents off of the stages. Pac-Man even wormed his way into Gator Panic, which patterns the Wiimote as a hammer used to bash in the skulls of crocidillian invaders. It’s probably not nearly as graphic as it sounds, but it could be a blast if executed properly. Four-player support has been confirmed for Galaga, Rally-X, and Pac-Motos, but the other two are still up in the air.
All nine of the classics included in Namco Museum Remix were kept under wraps at last week’s event, though it appears that they will be straight ports and likely will not include extensive motion controls (if any at all). The nine titles included are as follows: Cute Q, Dig Dug, Galaxian, Gaplus, Mappy, Pac & Pals, Pac-Mania, Super Pac-Man, and Xevious.
Namco Bandai hopes the shift to 3D and motion controls will endear these aging concepts to a new generation of gamers, while the included classics will satisfy the parents that pick up the tab for the title. That tab has yet to be determined, though we’re certainly hoping for a budget price when Namco Museum Remix hits stores this October.
Preview by: Andrew Hayward
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