Gaggle of Namco GBA games coming in 2005

New titles Ace Combat Advance, Pac-Man Pinball, Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament join Japanese import Mr. Driller 2 on Namco's 2005 handheld schedule.

Today, Namco sent out a press release outlining its handheld lineup. Besides including the already released--and reviewed--DS titles Ridge Racer DS and Mr. Driller Drill Spirits, the announcement revealed a trio of new titles for the Game Boy Advance--and one very old one.

First up is Ace Combat Advance, a handheld cousin to Namco's successful Ace Combat series for the PlayStation 2. The game casts players as a greenhorn pilot in the United Air Defense, an air force battling "an evil worldwide economic superpower" called General Resources Ltd. Ace Combat Advance will sport 10 planes in its pint-sized virtual hangar and offer 12 missions. The game is due in February 2005.

Also coming in February 2005 is Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament, another scaled-down spin-off of a PS2 game, Klonoa 2. Both games feature the same "floppy-eared protagonist" Klonoa. However, the GBA version is a side-scrolling adventure set in five worlds that combine "platform, puzzle and adventure elements," according to Namco. As one might expect in a game called Dream Champ Tournament, Klonoa's goal will be to become the Dream Champion by snatching up the most stars, sun, and moon fragments within a limited duration of time.

Another title due in 2005--though Namco didn't specify when--is Pac-Man Pinball. The first pinball game to feature the company's emblematic character casts the round protagonist as the ball itself. In order to "rescue" them, players will shoot Pac-Man at other characters from the Pac posse, like Ms. Pac-Man. Standing in his way will be his traditional enemies, the ghosts Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde. Pac-Man Pinball will also sport several minigames "to keep the action fresh," in Namco's words.

Namco's fourth "new" GBA title isn't new at all. In Japan, Mr. Driller 2 was a launch title for the handheld back in 2001. It will make its stateside debut four years later, sometime in 2005. The puzzle game features the titular hero facing off against a female competitor, Anna Hottenmayer, in three contests--Mission Driller, Endless Driller, and Time Attack Driller--where they must drill the maximum amount of blocks to win. Mr. Driller 2 also has Game Link functionality, allowing for competition between two GBA owners.

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