One of the hardest types of game to review has to be compilations. While most of them consist of a handful of stellar titles the rest is usually filled with no-name titles that the company uses to pad the package so they can boast “over 25 games in one package”. The one exception has always been Namco with their Museum series and with their first Wii compilation the rules are no different. In addition to an amazing collection of their classic franchises Namco Museum Remix also contains new twists on the classic franchises engineered specifically for the Wii’s unique control scheme.
While most collections simply throw all the games on the disc and let you choose them from a generic menu Remix really goes all out. Instead of the traditional generic menu Namco has decided to give us control over everyone’s favorite pellet-munching hero as you move around a hub and choose which game you want to play. This feature is for more than just window dressing though as you can collect power pellets in the hub world and yes Pac-Man can jump. Granted this feature isn’t new or exactly innovative it is a nice diversion and an appreciated addition to the typical boring navigation menus found in most compilations.
Of course any classic collection is only as good as the sum of its parts and Remix is certainly no slouch in this area. The titles found on the disc may have been released in one form or another on just about every console under the sun, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care. All of the classic are here such as Dig-Dug, Galaxian, Mappy, and Xevious. There are also some unique and obscure titles such as Cutie-Q, Pac & Pal, and Gaplus. It will certainly take a while to adjust to the controls of these classic titles, especially if you haven’t touched them since their inception.
Probably the most interesting omission though is the inclusion of the original Pac-Man. We do get Super Pac-Man but why Namco would completely ignore the original is beyond me. All the games are represented great and play as great as you remember and since the games preserve their original arcade perspective we are treated to some cool backdrops to spice up the onscreen action.
If these classics were the only thing to be found in this package you might have a hard time swallowing the price tag, but thankfully there is plenty more fun to be had here. In addition to these nostalgic titles Namco has remixed some of their famous franchises into new diversions designed specifically for the Wii. The first is called Galaga Remix and finds Pac-Man rolling through space from interesting angles shooting down the infamous bugs from Namco’s classic coin-op.
The other highlight out of the four new remakes is Rally-X. If you remember the original it was basically Pac-Man with cars and instead of pellets you collected gas cans and flags while avoiding reckless drivers and giant rocks. In this new iteration you roll around as Pac-Man in an isometric view as you try to avoid dangerous obstacles. One of the coolest aspects here is the ability to import your Miis and take the track with up to three friends for some frenetic action. The controls can be a nuisance at first, but once you get them down this is one of the most enjoyable multi-player experiences in the entire package.
As for the final two games they are a little less impressive. Gator Panic is basically a whack-a-mole style of game that has been done to death on Nintendo’s motion systems and Pac’n Roll Remix is a cool idea in theory but falls short in execution. Even with these two underwhelming titles there is still plenty of fun to be had with Namco Museum Remix especially if you haven’t recently played some of the original classics.
Namco Museum Remix is a solid package with a few hiccups here and there. A complete lack of online certainly doesn’t help its cause, but the same-screen multi-player is incredibly addictive if you have the means to enjoy it. The quality of the nine classics on the disc is debatable, the remixed games are a hit or miss, and the hub mini-game (while a nice diversion) can become tedious at times, but for what it is Remix delivers another solid compilation of titles that is worth checking out if you know what to expect before going in.