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February 6, 2006
Namco Museum: Battle Collection - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
Traveller's Tales
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It's updated Pac-man!
You can't go wrong with Pac Man. Or can you?

Further adding fuel to the accusations that the PSP is merely a port-able system, comes Namco Museum Battle Collection, a best of collection featuring arcade highlights such as Dig Dug, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, Galaxian, Rally X (featured on PSP's Ridge Racer - you know the one that you have to turn off so it doesnít auto load), Xevious, Bosconian, Mappy, Tower of Druaga, Dragon Buster, Grobda, Dig Dug 2, and King & Balloon.

Whilst a fair few of these games have attracted classic status, the lack of new material of any worth smacks of cheapness, and the newly remixed versions of these classics, (a case in point is Pac Man: Arrangement) smack of mediocrity. With collections like this, it becomes pretty obvious why Sony is really trying to crack down on homebrew games and especially the ability to run emulators - these games are achingly simple to emulate well and are available relatively easily (albeit illegally).

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Time to start blasting...
What confuses me is the pricing that Sony have put on this title: $79.95. Things arenít quite right when very well made, original games such as Gripshift are released at bargain basement $49.95 pricing, whilst relatively quick cash in jobs like this are released at full price.

The emulation for each and every arcade port is pretty flawless. From my eyes, it seems that every intricacy of the original code has been kept intact and not really tinkered with. The AI is still quite basic, where applicable. A nice touch during Pac Man is the ability to tilt the screen to view it horizontally, closer reflecting the original coin machine.

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One of the boss encounters.
Retro gamers will be happy to know that although the game play is still as limited, itís still as riveting as they were all those years ago. The controls migrate fantastically onto the PSP, and are pretty intuitive. Although they should be, because, yíknow, there were only a few buttons then.

The disc supports the game share function from one UMD, but itís pretty hopeless. Who wants to play one level and then manually start it all again? What could have been a very good feature has been reduced to a pretty worthless feature.

I was pretty disappointed to see a complete lack of extras. Small bonuses like original covers, pictures of the original arcade machines and maybe a few commercials would have rocked and would certainly have gone a long way to justifying the premium price.

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One of the better games.
The arrangement versions of the games utilize more of the PSPís ability to render 3D graphics, and make for an Öinteresting enough take on the originals. Each game manages to retain the essence of what made the game good in the first place, but like an attention starved child, needlessly draws attention to its technical attributes. Most fans, myself included, will quickly poo-poo these re-imaginations in favour of the real deal.

Audio wise, Namco Museum Battle Collection is pretty limited to the original bleeps and bloops. The newly arranged versions of games have a bit more going on, but the music can be a bit irritating, especially so as in Pac Man. I defy anyone to play that for more than 15 minutes before muting it.

Overall, Namco Museum Battle Collection is a relatively solid collection, highlighting some of the best arcade games ever made. Unfortunately, as a whole the collection is let down by a lack of polish and the absence of any form of extras. I thought a museum should have more in the way of items.

Review By: Ben Gourlay

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GRAPHICSFaithful replications of some of the finest and timeless games ever made. However, a poor attempt is made of remaking some of these.
SOUNDThe emulated games sound perfectly fine and exactly how they should. The new sound mixes are poorly conceived.
GAMEPLAYJust as addictive as they ever were - 30 years later.
VALUELike an addict pouring coin after coin into the original arcade machines, you will definitely come back to this collection, although the high price of the set diminishes the score.
OVERALLIf you are a retro gamer and you know it Ė buy this game.

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