Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary

aka: Namco Museum Arcade Hits!
Moby ID: 19041
PlayStation 2 Specs
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Description official descriptions

Namco is honoring its 50th anniversary by releasing this compilation of arcade classics. Using a retro interface, you check out a virtual arcade hall where you can select each classic in its original arcade cabinet.

Exclusive to the Xbox version are Live Leaderboards where you can post high-scores.

The 16 games included are:

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

68 People (43 developers, 25 thanks) · View all

Business Unit Director
Producer
Assistant Producer
Sr. Marketing Manager
Sr. PR Manager
PR Specialist
Senior Operations Manager
QA & Customer Service Manager
QA Supervisor
Senior QA Lead
QA Assistant Lead
QA Tester
Special Thanks to
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 60% (based on 34 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 28 ratings with 1 reviews)

50 Years? Really?

The Good
Namco is known for its classic Pac-Man and Galaga games, which are just as fun now as they were then. There's a charm and appeal for the bright colors, whimsical scenarios, the memorable beeps and boops that have burned into our collective brains, and the timeless gameplay that makes these games perfect for quick or extended gaming sessions.

The games are quite accurate to their original counterparts, which is kind of a strange thing to comment on, yet a lot of compilations or ports of these classic games always has a tendency to get something wrong that makes the gameplay "off". These versions are solid emulations and look and play as they should.

There's a nice little soundtrack in the game selection "arcade room". A few familiar and obscure '80's songs that make the overall experience more authentic.

And of course, it's nice to see new games finally get attention. Sky Kid enters the roster as a new gaming choice, when the staple choices of these collections are usually the same titles.

The Bad
My last "good" comment is also a leading negative. With any Namco Museum collection, you are almost always given these six titles: Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaxian, Galaga, Pole Position and Dig Dug. There's nothing wrong with any of these titles, but they've become the core focus of all of these Museum titles.

Namco Museum Volumes 1-5 had an eclectic mix of titles, many of which have never been released in follow-up "updates" to the series. Where are titles such as Ordyne, Pac-Land and Super Pac-Man? Why not include all the Pac-Man titles, including the more obscure ones like Pac 'N' Pal? For that matter, would it kill them to finally start updating the series with more contemporary classics like Splatterhouse, the first Tekken or the first Soul Calibur? Or even older titles such as King & Balloon? As it stands, for as much diversity as they have in their arcade line-up, their catalog of gaming showcase has unintentionally become limited in scope after it's umpteenth release.

Also included in the original PSX releases, they had a full museum with promotional and cabinet art, trivia, a full listing of all of their titles, and statistics from each game. If this is their "50th Anniversary" blowout, why would they not want to showcase and share more of their history? The selected titles at best highlight the late '70's and the general early run of the '80's. What about the '90's and 2000's? What did Namco do in the 1950's and 1960's? These questions are never answered.

For that matter, where are the developer interviews, videos for commercials, or even a walkable museum with themed rooms as in the first set of releases?

The Bottom Line
While the games showcased are still great titles, the Namco Museum series as a whole have become stale and uninspired. With the growing advent of digital distribution, there's not much of a foreseeable future for this series, outside of perhaps portable gaming.

Namco loves to cough this series up time and again for every new console for over 12 years now, and what started as a loving tribute to its company namesake, is now a predictable title that plays it too safe for its own good. Midway ran with a similar idea of compilations around the same time and released a slew of titles from all their "best of" eras to give players more of a background on their company. Namco's "big party" was like spending weeks to plan a great party, and then nobody cared to show up. Not even the birthday boy.

Don't misunderstand that the majority of titles are great games or don't maintain their relevance in gaming anymore. A good game is always a good game. And there are a few to choose from here. But if you're planning to buy this title in hopes of learning more about Namco and the 50 illustrious years you may not have been aware of, it's not going to happen. But you'll still get "the big six" titles you've seen on every Namco compilation, as well as a small handful of other titles to boot.

Good on one hand, really disappointing on the other. This version of Namco Museum is al wasted opportunity, with no real chance of correcting this in a series that I'd be surprised to see continue on.

GameCube · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2008

Trivia

Japanese version

The game's Japanese release, Namco Museum Arcade Hits, has a few differences from the original US/European releases: there's a different soundtrack for the main menu, and both Pac-Mania and Galaga '88 are unlocked right from the start.

Unlockables

After beating certain high score criteria, Pac-Mania and Galaga '88 become unlockable games, finalizing the console/PC roster to sixteen titles.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Corn Popper.

Windows added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Guy Chapman, Sciere, Lance Boyle.

Game added September 2, 2005. Last modified June 4, 2024.