The front of the box tells me that Namco Museum Megamix features 24 games, including remixed versions Gator Panic, Rally-X and Galaga. The artwork promises racing, alligators and Pac-Man spinning down a bug-infected waterslide. Best of all, this giant Pac-Man collection is a budget title. All this is perfectly fine, but I have just one question: Haven't I already reviewed this game?
As it turns out, I have ... kind of. The game I reviewed
was Namco Museum Remix, a 2007 compilation offering old gamers young and old a chance to relive nine classic Namco hits and suffer through five additional 3D "remixes". This Megamix version features almost the the exact same cover art and many of the same games, so it's incredibly easy to be confused. Unfortunately, I didn't like the game three years ago, and I dislike it just as much with the brand new name.
The good news is that Namco Museum Megamix still features a solid collection of old school arcade hits. We get the classic line-up from 2007's Namco Museum Remix -- Cutie Q, Dig Dug, Galaxian, Gaplus, Mappy, Pac & Pal, Pac-Mania, Super Pac-Man and Xevious. This $20 package adds an additional nine old arcade games, including Bosconian, Dig Dug II, Galaga, Grobda, King & Balloon, Motos, New Rally-X, Pac-Man and the original Rally-X.
Assuming you missed the 2007 Remix, this Megamix collection has a solid collection of old games. You get 18 old games for $20, so you're paying just over a dollar a game. Then again, some of the selections are questionable at best. Bosconian and Grobda? King & Balloon? And even though Dig Dug II has a famous name, it's nowhere near as good as the 1982 original. Still, the various versions of Pac-Man, Rally-X and Mappy keep this from being a compilation disaster.
Had Namco simply left it at that, then this would be yet another non-offensive compilations of old school arcade games. But alas, they go one step further and add the remixed games to the mix. We get Galaga Remix, Gator Panic Remix, Pac 'N Roll Remix and Rally-X Remix, all from the appropriately Remix collection. Megamix offers one additional remixed classic - Grobda Remix. That's right, Grobda Remix.
To Grobda's credit, the original game is a lot of fun. This wacky 1984 arcade game features a tank clearing out arenas of enemies. While few gamers remember this obscure Namco release, Grobda manages to hold up remarkably well. The remixed version, on the other hand, comes off as incredibly unnecessary. The camera position has changed and the graphics are different, but the premise is basically the same. Yet none of the fancy improvements add much to the game and ultimately this remake left a bad taste in my mouth. Ignore this update and discover how addicting the old school arcade game was.
I'll be honest with you, this release baffles me. I'm not one of those people who is against classic game compilations, but it's perplexing why Namco decided to simply repackage a three year old game. Although I certainly enjoyed playing through Motos and Galaga, I don't see the purpose of this product. Instead of adding ten so-so games to a mediocre compilation, why not create a comprehensive collection that mixes the new with the old? What we have here comes off as lazy. I'm flabbergasted that Namco didn't even decide to change the cover art. If they care that little about this product, then why should I even bother?
The truth is, I didn't bother with Namco Museum Megamix. I had a reasonably good time playing through the 18 classics, but most have been featured on countless better Namco discs. The remixed games continue to miss the point, but they are easy enough to ignore. At $20 you're getting a competent old school compilation disc, which isn't a bad deal. Still, you're better off spending your money on a game that Namco actually put some care into, like Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.