Namco Museum 64 (Nintendo 64, 1999)

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Description

Namco’s first cartridge for the Nintendo 64 is a classic compilation in the same vein as the Namco Museum series released on the PlayStation. Six different coin-op games of the 1980s are featured in this ode to oldies, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Galaxian, Pole Position and Dig Dug.

All featured games retain the same look as they did during their run in the Arcades, so players should not expect 3D graphics, different modes of play or revamped sound effects. Yet there are a number of custom “tweaks” players can perform as if they were owners of the original machines; each game offers dip switches that can alter the number of starting lives, change time limits, and increase or decrease bonuses used to receive extra lives.

For those who have never experienced the games in their original forms, the styles of play can be broken down into three areas: racing, maze action and shooting. Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, two of the biggest successes in the history of the coin-op industry, both star pie-shaped characters doomed to eat everything in their path.

Fortunately for them, there are plenty of things to eat in mazes filled with dots, bouncing fruit and Power Pellets. Only one thing is standing in their way (actually four): ghosts that chase them throughout each maze. Eat all of the dots within a maze and play will resume on a faster board with a different layout!

Galaga and Galaxian are derivatives of Taito’s Space Invaders in that the object is to move a ship from side to side as you shoot aliens that fly into rows at the top of the screen. Only there’s one small catch: these aliens will periodically dive at your blaster in an attempt to ruin your chances at success. The object is to keep shooting until all of the creatures are eliminated from the screen or you lose all of your blasters.

Rounding out this Arcade anthology are Pole Position and Dig Dug. Pole Position involves first completing one lap to qualify for a race before competing against computer-controlled drivers in a series of four laps. Keep up the pace and cross the finish line before time runs out or the game is over! Dig Dug is a maze game variant that involves digging below a garden’s surface instead of following a fixed route. Various creatures are lurking beneath the ground, and Dig Dug must use his retractable pump to inflate and then “pop” his enemies.

Namco Museum 64 supports the Controller Pak to save high scores for each game as well as custom settings. Players will be able to adjust the sound effects and music volume, choose from three screen sizes and toggle the original start-up sequences for each of the six games on the cartridge. Having a little trouble figuring out how to play a certain game? Each coin-op also offers some hints to boost your scores and keep you racing, chomping, pumping and blasting for as long as possible!

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