Namco Museum 50th Anniversary
Ah, 1980??we remember it well, and not just for gaming reasons. But that's another story for another time, but indulge us, if you will, for a moment. Up at the Youth Club (is there still such a thing in 2006?) the half-sized snooker table had been abandoned, along with the table tennis, the bar football and the record player(!). The Pong and Breakout 'sit-downs' had come and gone and been replaced with a new configuration - the arcade cabinet! Two of the blighters! Who'd have thought that, more than 25 years later, Namco would still be trading on former glories? Not only that, but the company's been around in one guise or another for 50 years. Blimey! But then, it's hardly surprising when you consider what those cabinets contained in 1980. The consistently entertaining 'really cocky Space Invaders' thrill of Galaxians and enduring yellow fellow Pac-Man. The future had arrived in our little town.
Of course, the future in 1980 didn't last long. Due to some temporal mash-up, the next thing we were aware of was waking up with a receding hairline, fading eyesight, and a scratched copy of Ultravox's Vienna LP. Erk! The future, if that's what it really was, was disappointing, but at least the video games were fun, weren't they? Aren't they? Anyway, the good news is that Galaxians and Pac-Man both feature in Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and [i]more[/i] good news comes in the shape of a dozen more games in this generous compilation which celebrates 50 years of Namco. As well as Galaxians' aliens-with-attitude and Pac-Man's fruit-gobbling, maze-wandering antics, gorge yourself on the following nostalgia-fest: Galaga, a close relative of Galaxians, slightly less appealing - like a less fanciable twin; Ms Pac-Man - does what Pac-Man does, but with a feminine slant; Dig Dug - take up thy pump and thy shovel, start burrowing, blow things up; Pole Position - get behind the wheel of a really fast car, beat the timer, avoid other cars and obstacles, try not to explode; Pole Position 2 - same idea, more tracks to choose from; Rolling Thunder is a horizontal scrolling shooter; Rally X is a driving game in which you collect flags, emit smokescreens and try to avoid other drivers; Bosconian asks you to pilot a space ship, survive enemy fighters and destroy enemy space stations, while avoiding asteroids and other obstacles; in Dragon Spirit, you control a powerful flying dragon, harness spells, drop bombs and breath fire at enemies; Sky Kid finds you controlling a bi-plane, avoiding enemy planes using evasive loops, dropping bombs, and gunning down other planes; Xevious features a heavily armed fighter plane with which you can destroy enemies and targets in the air and on the ground; and finally there's Mappy, the police mouse who's charged with the collection of goodies from the cat house - not as sordid as it sounds.