The Game: Old games never die – they get emulated. Fortunately, one of Japan’s greatest makers of video game hits has built a museum around several of its most popular titles. With Pac-Man still underfoot, you wander the corridors of the Namco Museum yet again. (Namco, 1995, for Sony Playstation)
Memories: It’s hard for me to really justify blowing $25 on this particular import. Maybe it’s just the perversity of having two different versions of Namco Museum Vol. 2 when the American edition is hard enough to find as it is. Or maybe it’s because I want to be able to play as many classic arcade games as possible on my Playstation.
The one game that distinguishes the American and Japanese editions of Namco Museum Vol. 2 is Cutie-Q, a colorful video pinball-style game with cute critters – which also happens to be the final coin-op designed by Namco’s Toru Iwitani before he embarked on the design project we know now as Pac-Man. The only problem with this nicely emulated version is that the game was originally designed to be played with a paddle, and the Playstation’s D-pad just isn’t adequate to the task. The manual is peppered with pictures of a special Namco-made Playstation paddle controller which I’d dearly love to find. However, chances of finding one outside of Japan are pretty slim. It’s still a fun game though. (The game which stood in for the incredibly obscure Cutie-Q in the U.S. version of this collection was the more popular – and American-made – Super Pac-Man.)
Other than that, the differences are very minor. The opening animation, however, features some surprises – it’s the same cinematic involving Pac-Man and Mappy piloting the Gaplus and Xevious ships and blowing up dragons, but here, Pac and the Police Mouse blow up more dragons. A lot more dragons. And Pac isn’t playing Super Pac-Man in the opening cinematic – he’s playing Cutie-Q, which in a way makes for a better in-joke.
Also included in the manual are floor plans for the museum explored in the game. Just in case you want to build one.