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Namco Museum  Volume 3


1996 Namco

Sony Playstation


Volume 3 in the Namco Museum leaves a little bit to be desired. As with the rest the museum bit ends up more fun than the actual games for the most part. There are six games included with this one:

Ms. Pac-Man
Dig Dug
Pole Position II
The Tower of Druaga

This time around the arcade offerings are a mixed bag - Ms. Pac-Man and Dig Dug were hits and remain classics, Pole Position II and Galaxian have other (better) sequels/prequels. If you're scratching your head at those last two it's because they were losers at the arcade, although apparently Tower of Druaga went on to spawn it's own franchise that continues to this day. The actual games themselves are realized via the arcade ROM (including start up screens) so no real need to describe anything there. They are arcade perfect.

What makes the Namco Museum series worth collecting in this day of emulators are all the little extras one can check out in the Museum portion. In each respective game's room you can check out arcade artwork, sales pamphlets, assorted merchandise like Pookah Dolls, Ms. Pac-Man plushies, Dig Dug arcade strategy guides, as well as high resolution pics of the arcade boards themselves with included dip-switch schematic. Each game room is made up to look like you've "walked into" the game, for instance the Tower of Druaga is in a castle, Galaxian is in a space station, while the Ms. Pac-man room is actually Mrs. Pac-Man's house (with Pac-Man on the toilet (!) Each game also has a "How to play" section and a few hints as well.

Aside from the individual game rooms is a "Library" where one can observe Japanese Newtype Magazine covers that featured Namco games, various pieces of concept artwork (most of it for Tower of Druaga, shame the actual game is so bad,) as well as a high score counter in the guise of an alligator in a phone booth (I have no idea,) and a "Theater" where one can watch replays of stored games. In the Theater are various Namco characters like the Pac-Family, Dig Dug & enemies, etc. They don't really do anything but stare (would have been nice if you could have interacted with them in some way) but what the hey.

Only bad thing I can say about the museum portion is that there really isn't enough of it. Come to think of it there really isn't much going here in the way of unlockables. There are two alternate versions of Tower of Druagua to find, however you couldn't have chosen a more uninteresting game to include sequels to. Should've stuck Galaga or Mappy Land on here too, true they are included in other Volumes but that's no excuse. These ROMs are extremely small - a normal CD has the capability to hold hundreds of these early arcade games. Even with all the pics and artwork there was probably tons of room left over for more.

This lack of content is what keeps these from being a "must have." Compilations like this were more useful a decade ago,  but today when we have access to nearly every arcade game ever made via emulation such collections are not so relevant. Recommended to collectors or Namco fans only.

Graphics: The included games use the arcade ROMs and are thus arcade perfect. The museum portions are somewhat blocky but use bright colors and leave one feeling generally positive. It would be nice to have "Free look" in the museum, so one could look at the ceiling at things out of your line of sight.

Sound: Very happy music, that does get a bit repetitive. But it is happy.

Gameplay: Somewhat weak choices for games this time around, the only winners being Ms. Pac-Man and Dig Dug, really. Pole Position II is horribly dated, Galaxian is like Galaga but suckier since you can only shoot one bullet at a time. Tower of Druaga is a really, really, really primitive maze game that runs extremely slow, and Phozon is just weird.

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