Namco Museum Volume 5 (“O”)

Namco Museum Volume 5Buy this gameThe Game: The Namco Museum is open for business one last time! Today’s exhibit features games of the late 1980s, and of course Pac-Man – being the prideful little single-celled organism that he is – simply must see all the displays. You wander the halls one last time, visiting some really cool themed rooms for each game, with the yellow one underfoot. Games included this time around are Metro-Cross, Pac-Mania, Dragon Spirit, The Legend of Valkyrie and Baraduke. (Namco, 1996)

Memories: For the final installment of their series of classic arcade emulations, Namco mined their late-80s games, concentrating on fighting and quest games primarily. The only relatively simple title included on Volume 5 (a.k.a. Volume O) is the final arcade appearance of Pac-Man in Pac-Mania, a very simple updating of the original Pac-Man set in a vaguely Zaxxon-esque three-quarter perspective. In a way, Pac-Mania is the direct predecessor of the 3-D “maze mode” of Namco’s recent retro revival Pac-Man World.

Namco Museum Volume 5I have to admit for a liking to Baraduke, the game in which you’re a jet-pack-wearing sniper blasting away at hideous, multi-eyed alien nasties. Seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and blow their asses away! I’d never seen that one as a coin-op, but I kind of like it in the comfort of home on my Playstation.

Dragon Spirit is a Xevious-esque shooter, while The Legend of Valkyrie is another of the seemingly endless stream of martial arts games which were filling arcade games – and cartridges – at this point in video game history. Metro Namco Museum Volume 5Cross is a specimen of another now-common genre, the sports simulation – in this case, a foot race with a lot of obstacles. Actually, Metro Cross is rather fun too.

4 quarters!Namco Museum 5 also brings the refinements of this emulator series to a conclusion, with nifty features I wish they’d worked into re-releases of earlier volumes: you can bail out of any game, any display, at any time. I like that a lot.