Review: Namco Museum: Virtual Arcade

Namco Museum has found its way onto many of the major systems in the past decade, but never the 360. With the success of XBLA and especially the Namco games on it, I didn’t think one would surface on the console, but it has. Namco Bandai has come out with a great mix of games for their 360 debut of the series, many of which probably won’t be seen on any virtual console anytime soon.

An impressive roster of 25 classic games are included in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade. You’d expect to see a lot of Pac-Man and Galaga, and while you do, there are also a lot of very obscure and hard-to-find games in this collection. Games like Motos, Grobda andBosconian weren’t seen in arcades very often, so it’s really cool that gamers will have a chance to play these. In addition to the classic arcade games, Namco Museum also includes previously released XBLA arcade games like Pac-Man: Championship Edition and Galaga. The inclusion of these games makes it a huge bargain if you don’t already own them.

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All of the ports are very well-done. Most of these games are incredibly fun and could give you hours upon hours of fun for each game. The ones that aren’t great are still fun to try. There were no major problems with any of the games, but there were a few problems in the presentation. One issue, and this will always be a problem with arcade games ported to the 360, is that the controls aren’t always the best. This isn’t Namco Bandai’s fault, it’s just how the 360 d-pad was made. If you’re used to the joystick controls, you might have problems on some games that require precise maneuvering like Pac-Man. All of the games are still playable, but just might not be as fun as they would be with other controllers.

Anyone who isn’t accustomed to playing these in an arcade will have no problem besides one: atrocious load times. They are a big problem with Namco Museum Virtual Arcade. Each title takes about 20 seconds to load. This is pretty bad for such simple games. I stuck to playing one game on many occasions simply because I didn’t want to go through the load times. That said, once you know the main games you will be playing on this collection, constantly switching to every game won’t happen as much, so the load times won’t be as noticeable.

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Closing Comments:

Namco Museum Virtual Arcade is an impressive release from Namco Bandai that could have been even better. There is a lot of fun to be had here for the low price of $29.99. If you don’t have any of these games and would like to experience them, it’s a great buy. There may be problems with the controls and the load times, but there are so many good games in here for the price that they don’t detract from the game.
score3.5
Version Reviewed: Xbox 360