Namco Museum Volume 4 Review

Most are little known games that were little known for a reason.

The Namco Museum series is just about out of steam. The first two volumes were spectacular; almost every game was worth owning. Volume 3 had about a 50 percent hit ratio. Volume 4 is just plain depressing. It contains five games, and most of them are little known games that were little known for a reason.

As always, the emulations on these arcade games are perfect. They have every feature and dip switch setting that the original game had, plus a crazy 3-D museum section that shows off some of the promotional materials for the game. The five games on the pack are pretty rare ones; I hadn't even heard of three of them before I saw this collection.

Pac-Land is the most recognizable title on the disc. It's a side-scrolling game that was loosely based (well, graphically speaking) on the Pac-Man cartoon. Pac's mission is to save a Fairy Princess and return her to Fairy Land. He does this by, well, running and jumping. The occasional power pellet allows him to eat ghosts, but it's usually just easier to avoid them.

Assault is the gem of the package. You are placed at the Battlezone-style controls of a tank, and are forced to traverse countless levels, blasting away at enemy forces in the process. The tank can also roll over onto its side, which makes avoiding unfriendly fire a breeze.

Ordyne is a shooter that plays like a mix of Parodius and Forgotten Worlds. There are shops along the way that allow for weapon upgrades, but these are limited in ammunition and don't last very long at all. The bosses in the game are pretty big, and all in all it's a decent game.

The Return of Ishtar is just plain weird. It uses Robotron-style controls to maneuver two separate characters around a dungeon. It's a sequel the Tower of Druaga and incredibly boring.

The Genji and the Heike Clans is a joke. Calling this an arcade classic is preposterous. You are cast in the role of a little samurai who runs around hacking stuff up. There is also a separate game mode where the characters are really huge, but they just look goofy. This one is a real loser, and it's probably the worst game on any of the Namco discs.

If you're a completist, you'll want to get Namco 4 for your collection, but it'll probably start collecting dust about two days after purchase. If you want a good arcade compilation, check out the first two volumes of the Namco Museum collection. They're packed with arcade goodness.

The Good

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The Bad

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.