Compilations of classic arcade and console games have been quite popular over the last couple of years, with the trend showing no signs of slowing down. Namco Museum Remix is another game that is revisiting the classics, but it's doing so with a twist: Five of the games will be "remixed" with fancy 3D graphics and new controls that utilize the motion-sensing abilities of the Wii. We were able to get some hands-on time with a few of the remixed games at Namco's recent press event.
The five games getting the "remix" treatment are: Pac'n Roll, Galaga, Gator Panix, Pac-Motos, and Rally-X. However, only Galaga and Rally-X (both of which support one to four players) were playable in the build on display at the event. In the new version of Galaga, Pac-Man is rolling along a rollercoaster-like track that's floating in outer space, and he's trying to find his way home. As if that weren't disconcerting enough, a whole host of space creatures have decided to make his life difficult by attacking him in waves. It's your job to save Pac-Man, which you'll do by pointing the Wii Remote to target the bad guys and pressing the A or B button to fire. Like in the original, the enemies attack in waves, so it's important to try to have some semblance of a pattern in mind when shooting, rather than simply blasting away. Not only does this increase your chances of making sure Pac-Man reaches the end of the level with his life bar full, but it will also improve your accuracy and score when both are tallied.
Once we had successfully protected Pac-Man on his journey home, it was time to do a little racing with Rally-X. Here, you control Pac-Man as he drives a go-kart around and collects flags in a large, mazelike level. Pac-Man doesn't have to deal with space invaders this time around, but there are enemy drivers who want to spin Pac-Man out to ensure the flags stay put. In the first level, you can grab the flags as you see fit, but later levels will force you to grab them in a specific order or even steal them from your opponent. Like in the original game, a large radar in the corner of the screen shows the position of each flag. This is handy because the camera is zoomed in rather close and you're unable to see very far ahead. You use the Nunchuk to steer, and for some extra speed, you can press the Z button for a boost of nitrous. If speed's not going to get you out of a jam, pressing the A button will release a smoke cloud that spins your pursuer out, should he drive through it.
Both games we played did a nice job of utilizing the Wii's controls; everything controlled smoothly and felt natural. The graphics weren't especially detailed in this early version, but everything was bright, colorful, and ran smoothly. In addition to the five remixed games, Namco Museum Remix will include nine arcade games in their original forms. These include: Galaxian, Dig Dug, Mappy, Xevious, Gaplus, Super Pac-Man, Pac and Pal, Pac-Mania, and Cutie Q. We'll have more information on the game as its late October release date approaches.