The Game: Namco has even more games they’d like us all to remember, only this time, you might not remember them half as clearly as Pac-Man, who’s still dragging you through the halls of the Namco Museum, eager to play each and every one. Oddly enough, you’ve probably never seen any of these games before. The greatest challenge in your path in Volume 4? Figuring out the controls for The Genji And The Heike Clans and Return of Ishtar. (Namco, 1996)
Memories: Personally, I don’t remember any of these games, save for the bizarre scrolling exploration game Pac-Land and Assault, which I believe was licensed to Atari. Inspired by the ABC-TV cartoon series, Pac-Land may indeed be the only reason anyone might now try to track down the now out-of-print Volume 4 of Namco Museum.
Other titles include the tank game Assault, a scrolling/fighting game called Ordyne, and two fighting games with unbelievably complex control schemes, The Genji And The Heike Clans and The Return Of Ishtar. I haven’t even tried to play the latter two – that’s how convoluted the controls are. My guess is that Pac-Land and Assault were the only two of these games to escape Japanese shores, though I know a few who say they remember seeing Ordyne over here as well.
What is slightly less convoluted is the evolving interface for entering and exiting games, here becoming truly instinctive. Instead of obscure dip switches whose functions are barely labeled, we now have drop-down windows which clearly label which setting you are changing. And you can now bail out of a game in progress very easily, rather than sitting there, getting killed, waiting for the attract mode to come up, and…well, you know the drill.