Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Namco Museum DS

It's official now - I have to get another Nintendo DS.

Namco revealed the inevitable DS version of its ever-popular Museum series at E3. Probably not too much to get worked up about, considering that they've done little beyond repackage the same titles over and over again. Well....they're still doing that. But they're doing some great things with the DS version. In fact, I'd say this is the best Namco Museum since the Playstation originals.

Reason one...drum roll, please.....

Pac-Man Vs.! Online!

One of the great "lost" triumphs from the last console generation, Pac-Man Vs. was Shigeru Miyamoto's own unique take on Pac. This game is, essentially, Pac-Man deathmatch. Players either take Pac or one of the ghosts and start chasing each other around. This was a GameCube title that also used the Gameboy Advance for the Pac player, who alone could view the entire map. The ghosts can only see their immediate area in splitscreen.

The DS is a perfect fit for a game like this. It was one of those beautiful little Nintendo experiments that takes on a life of its own, kinda like the DS itself. And did I mention it's playable online? The only addition I imagine anyone asking after all this would be more mazes, but I suppose there could be a Ms. Pac-Man Vs. for that.

Anyway, back to Namco Museum. Eight games are included, which is a good sum, considering the short shrift previous portable versions have been. It's great to see Xevious included, which, as everyone knows, is one of my faves. Also featured are Pac-Man (duh), Galaga, Dig Dug 2, Galaxian, Mappy, and Tower of Druaga. You can download any single game to another DS to share. The library mode from the Playstation days finally makes its reappearance, which includes trivia and artwork. And you can manage the arcade dip-switches with the stylus.

All in all, an excellent little cart. The game choices are interesting, and sure to tick off a few here and there, but at least the door's open for a Namco Museum 2 on the DS. Heck, given the handheld's booming popularity, I'd expect it - Rally X, Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Rolling Thunder, yadda yadda. Yeah, definitely scoop this one up when it appears on the shelves.

Thanks to IGN for these wonderful screenshots, which I, ahem, borrowed. See? I'm giving credit where credit is due! Are we taking notes, people?

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