Namco has always been very good about bringing its classic arcade games to every platform imaginable. Now the Game Boy Advance is getting the classic treatment, and the quick-play nature of the arcade games on the cart lends itself very well to the portable environment.
While the front and back of the box show only four arcade games, Namco Museum actually contains five games. Galaxian and Galaga are shooters that took the Space Invaders concept and moved it forward. Ms. Pac-Man is the maze-and-ghost sequel to one of the most famous games of all time. Dig Dug pits your tunneling character against Fygar and Pooka. Pole Position is an early arcade racing game that translates pretty well to the GBA. All the games are designed to play like the original arcade games, complete with attract modes that roll while you aren't playing and options that are based on the arcade games' original dip-switch settings.
Since every game other than Pole Position was played on a vertical monitor, the games typically don't take up the whole screen. Galaga and Galaxian fill most of the screen, while a bar that takes up the right third of the screen is used to display your score and other info. Dig Dug takes up the whole screen, but it now scrolls a bit instead of fitting the whole level on one screen. Ms. Pac-Man gives you the option of playing with Dig Dug-style scrolling, which makes it difficult to keep track of the ghosts, but you can also opt for a shrunken-down version that gives you the whole maze (while sacrificing arcade-quality graphics in the process). It would have been nice if Namco had included a vertical screen mode that required you to rotate your GBA to see properly. Pole Position was originally played on a horizontal monitor, so no visual sacrifices have been made. All the games play incredibly well, though Pole Position suffers a bit without its original analog steering wheel. The games also sound just like their arcade counterparts.
The Game Boy Advance version of Namco Museum isn't the best translation that these arcade classics have ever seen, but the ability to take them with you wherever you go makes this version of Namco Museum the most compelling version to date. Any fan of classic arcade games should be happy with it.