CGRundertow NAMCO MUSEUM: 50TH ANNIVERSARY for Nintendo GameCube Video Game Review

Namco is almost always the first thing to
pop into my mind when I hear someone say “arcade game.” The company has produced more great
arcade titles than just about anyone. From Galaga to Pac-man, Xevious and Dig Dug, Namco
dominated the arcade age with some of the best games ever made. Now recently, Namco’s
best success has been as a publisher, with titles like Dark Souls under the Namco Bandai
label. That’s not to say that they haven’t developed some great titles like Tekken or
the too-harshly critiqued Star Fox Assault, but Namco’s best games were released many
years ago, and they aren’t afraid to point it out with their Namco Museum games. This
is Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary for the GameCube.
Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary is a really simple title. When you start it up, you’re
immediately greeted with your choice of Namco arcade game. Pretty much anything you could
think of is available. Both Pac-man and Ms. Pac-man, Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaxian, Xevious,
Pole Position 1 and 2, Rally-X, Mappy and several others. Now, I just reviewed an Atari
arcade collection the other day, and although that was on a handheld console and this isn’t,
the amount of content is just stunning. I was trying to think of any games they missed,
and I just couldn’t. In fact, the only thing about the collection that I didn’t care
for was that Galaxian was included. Galaga is a game that bested its predecessor in every
way, and it’s always curious to me why Namco always chooses to include both of them on
these collections. While the amount of content on the disk is
incredible, the GameCube’s controls do not do the games any favors. Pac-man and Pole
Position are especially tricky, as neither the analog stick or d-pad seem to want to
cooperate. It really depends on the game, though. While titles like Rolling Thunder
and Bosconian feel a little sloppy with the GameCube’s controls, Dig-Dug, Rally-X and
Xevius all play excellently. It’s strange to see, as the issue doesn’t even seem connected
to particular genres. At museums, some people like to sit back and
enjoy how well art has stood up over time. That’s what makes things classic, and why
the items are in the museum in the first place. For the most part, these games do just that.
With a few, personal exceptions that I won’t mention, as they are just my own tastes, every
game on this disk is just as much fun as when it first came out. My favorite Namco game
is Dig-Dug, and blowing guys up with that pump is still a blast.
The visuals of the original arcade games also remain unchanged in this collection. Every
game looks exactly as you’d remember it, and the game audio also stays the same. It’s
kind of charming to hear how Namco used some similar sound effects in different games to
accomplish different things, and just because your brain sees something different happening,
it doesn’t sound the same. Namco was the king of arcade games back in
the day, and Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary is a terrific collection of the best Namco
had to offer. Maybe even get your older siblings or parents to give it a try and see which
games they remember.

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  1. If you dislike the GameCube controls, get it for the PS2. The analog stick on the PS2 doesn't feel as good as the D-Pad though, which is weird because all these games except Pole Position 1 and 2 had a joystick.

  2. I don't understand why complaining about a game like Galaxian on a collection disk when there are the other games you want to play. I get these collection disks all the time and only play about a third of the games on them… I figure "these games aren't for me, but its nice to have them anyway, besides some people who buys the disk probably enjoys them".

  3. I agree that "Star Fox: Assault" was too harshly critiqued… I mean, come on. It was actually a pretty decent game to play on the Gamecube, and it was a lot more like the true Star Fox games than "Star Fox Adventures" (which I really enjoyed after playing it for the first time).

  4. Namco ruled arcades in a different time than when Sega started hitting their stride. Namco ruled the roost pretty much in the early to mid 80's. Sega was around during this time with stuff like Congo Bongo, Zaxxon, and Quartet. But they weren't the heavy hitters like Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Galaxian (which is late 70's), Dig Dug, and in Japan Tower of Druaga. Namco also had the likes of Mappy (which did spawn an arcade sequel), Legend of Valkyrie, Marvel Land, Ordyne, Pac-Mania and more.

  5. Taito was another arcade giant at that time, there's a reason Japan got 4 volumes of compilations of 100 Taito games, and the US and Europe each got two volumes. They too ruled the 80's up till around the latter half of the 90's with quite a rich back catalog of great games. And we also have Capcom and Konami who also left a giant thumbprint on the arcade scene.

  6. Plus Namco also cares about their fans unlike C(r)apcom, who cancel games for no good reason despite high expectations for them (Megaman Legends 3, Megaman Universe) and still release alternate versions of the same game in the age of DLC (ULTIMATE Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition).

  7. I did. The Power Stone games were built for the Sega NAOMI arcade board, which made them easy to port to the Dreamcast. Did you notice Frogger in my list? Well, Frogger was distributed by Sega, and the Sega logo was on the original machine and ads–but the game was developed by Konami (Konami owns and has continued the franchise without Sega). That's not an error, that's just being liberal in crediting Sega for the arcade boards they developed. In that sense, Sega is still making hardware!

  8. As much as I love 50th Anniversary, I will say that there are many titles missing.

    Tower of Druaga, New Rally-X, Motos, Super Pac-Man, Gaplus, Dig Dug 2, and some others.

  9. "and the game audio also stays the same"
    I'd like for you to compare a good portion of the games here to other compilations and even their arcade counterparts. Almost every game (with the exception of Pac-Mania, Galaga '88, Rolling Thunder, Dragon Spirit, I think Sky Kid, and Galaxian) has the sound in an incorrect key. Dragon Spirit's ending theme is wrong, and Galaxian just sounds… weird.
    But that's my opinion. I just find pleasure in nitpicking compilations when they get the sound wrong… for some reason.

  10. This game works really well on PS2, I remember playing it as a kid
    My dad would always play Pac-Man and impress us with how good he was
    Of course since we were three children often playing two player games, I also remember getting my turn stolen

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