E3 06: Merged Namco Bandai booth shows its roots

The house that Pac-Man built shows love to its original mascot, pushes latest lineup of PC and anime games.

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LOS ANGELES--Namco was built on the success of Pac-Man, and though it has since merged with fellow Japanese publisher Bandai, its roots shine through in the company's Electronic Entertainment Expo booth.

A rotating 3D likeness of the pellet-popping wonder is displayed at the front of the booth above a bank of systems running Pac-Man World Rally. The love doesn't stop there, however. Across the aisle in the company's spin-off Namco mobile arcade booth, the staff wears plush Pac-Man headgear, and attendees can get a look at a traveling Pac-Man museum and a Volkswagen Beetle with a Super Pac-Man-themed paint job.

Bandai's iconic Gundam also plays a part in the merged publisher's E3 booth, with a 5-foot-tall statue of a Zaku mobile suit standing alongside banks showcasing a playable demo of the company's Mobile Ops: The One Year War. Other anime-inspired games, such as Eureka Seven - Vol. 1: The New Wave, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja, .hack//G.U. Vol. 1: Rebirth, IGPX, and One Piece Grand Adventure, are also featured in demo form at the show.

PC games played a stronger part in the publisher's showing than in years past. An elaborate Hellgate: London display featured a gargoyle-like creature on the edge of a building, presumably about to pounce upon a heavily armored soldier with a sword in one hand and a nasty-looking gun in the other. Playable demos of Warhammer: Mark of Chaos and Mage Knight: Apocalypse also receive a push from the publisher, with prominent displays in the center of the booth.

While keen-eyed attendees can spot a poster for Ridge Racer VII, Namco Bandai seems more intent on promoting another racer, with its version of The Fast and the Furious receiving a decent-sized wall display on one edge of the booth. Other classic Namco franchises receive a little bit more attention--the PlayStation Portable versions of Tekken: Dark Resurrection and Ace Combat X are both playable on the show floor and can be found by the company's big-screen/stage show area.

Check back with GameSpot throughout the show for more coverage of Namco Bandai's entire lineup of games.

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