Review crazy game of Namco Museum Archives

The fascination with retro styling in modern culture has led companies to delve into dusty closets to find something interesting for pixel art fans and childhood nostalgic gamers. Namco has been at the forefront of the industry with hit after hit. Many have played Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Battle City. Now all these and many other projects can be found in collection of the Namco Museum Archives on Friv5Online, and how well this classic has been preserved - we will understand in the review.

Each volume is sold separately and contains 11 Namco projects. The main menu of the collections is greeted with funny eight-bit music and a list of crazy games in the form of a scrolling tape. Each is represented not by a box or a regular logo, as is often the case, but by a small window with rounded edges, reminiscent of the screen of arcade machines. Inside there is a starting splash screen with the crazy game's logo, and if you wait a bit, the gameplay demonstration begins.

The crazy games have been ported without any changes, but the collections provide several display modes. You can choose the original pixel ratio (Dot-by-dot), or change the aspect ratio to 4: 3. Both options save space for wallpaper not only on the sides, but also slightly above and below. 

There is also a Zoom option, which enlarges the picture to fill the entire screen, but preserves the original proportions, which leaves empty spaces on the sides. For playing handheld on Nintendo Switch, this was the most convenient option. 

In addition, there is an opportunity to stretch the crazy game to full screen, which, in my opinion, makes the picture not very pleasant. 

In addition to choosing one or another proportion, in the settings you can set anti-aliasing and enable horizontal stripes. The latter simulates the crazy game on old CRT TVs. After playing with all possible combinations, I settled on the Dot-by-dot option without anti-aliasing and stripes.

Namco Museum Archives has just four background options to choose from, including an all-black one. I liked the very first art that looked like a steel plate with a bright red stripe in the center and a small ribbed texture just below. Other options: space with stars and neon shapes on a dark background.

An important feature of such collections is the options to make the gameplay more player-friendly. The developers have provided the ability to save progress at any time, as well as roll back a second. The latter can be done many times in a row. 

Rollback is performed with one button, but each time after pressing, you need to confirm this action. Apparently, this is done so that there are no accidental clicks. Or so that the players are not too keen on it. This option allows you to enjoy old hits without much hassle, but devalues ​​the scoring in some crazy games. Of course, hardcore gamers can simply ignore this feature.

In Namco Museum Archive - Volume 1 includes:

Galaxian is one of my first crazy games on Dandy, in which I was lost for hours. It is a variation on the theme of Space Invaders, the popular space shooter of the time. We control a warship, move horizontally and shoot hordes of insect-like enemies. 

Enemies lined up in several rows attack one by one or in small groups. The player's task is not only to shoot enemies, but also to dodge their shells and ships. 

After defeating everyone, a new horde immediately appears, which must be destroyed. After each clearing, enemy attacks become more intense and numerous, which increases the difficulty. 

As in many arcade crazy games of that era, points are awarded for each enemy knocked out, and the highest score is stored in the HI-SCORE column. 

Galaxian is still capable of captivating for several hours, and all these familiar sounds from childhood evoke pleasant memories and delight the ear.

Pac-Man is one of the most recognized brands in the industry. The yellow bun that eats peas and escapes from multi-colored ghosts is known all over the world. The essence of the crazy game is simple: the main character runs through the maze, collects points and tries to evade the ghosts. It is necessary to guide Pacman so that he eats all the peas on the level and does not fall into the trap. 

When the main character picks up a large pea, the ghosts become vulnerable for a while and can also be eaten, gaining additional points. But then they come back and continue hunting. 

Ghosts behave in different ways, and in many ways their route through the maze is calculated from the actions of the player. A special algorithm comes into play, which determines the behavior of each enemy separately. Red runs to the nearest point near Pac-Man - in fact, always looking for the shortest path to him. In addition, he increases his speed several times per round. Pink hovers a few points in front of the player, allowing the ghost to intercept a target fleeing from red. Blue uses a more complex guidance system, the essence of which is that the route is built through Pacman a short distance from him. Thus, the blue ghost turns out to be the most dangerous, since its actions are often more difficult to predict. The behavior of the orange opponent is the strangest. If the player is far away, then the ghost, like red, will aim directly at the target,

This combination of algorithms ultimately leads to the feeling of living opponents who plan all actions together and easily lead an unprepared player into an ambush. 

Pac-Man's ghost behavior has long been an industry standard. These algorithms are disassembled and studied in various lectures and training seminars for novice crazy game makers. 

Despite the fact that forty years have passed since the crazy game was released, it is still fascinating. Even if you have no nostalgia, while passing the time, for example, at lunchtime or standing somewhere in line, the crazy game will help. 

Xevious is a vertical scrolling shooter in which the player controls a plane. The main task is to destroy enemies, which can be located both on the ground and in the air. 

Each type has its own ammunition. Air opponents often look like abstract geometric shapes and attack in groups, which, after the attack, can hide off the screen. Ground targets seem less agile, but in the general mass of opponents they can be very dangerous. 

On occasion, you can find empowered enemies that are notable for being considered one of the first bosses in the history of the gaming industry. 

The rest of the crazy game seems rather monotonous and outdated. The green-brown background of forests and fields practically does not change, and the music, consisting of several repeating notes, begins to annoy within a few minutes. 

Xevious is one of those crazy games that hasn't survived well. If you do not have feelings of nostalgia for her, then it is unlikely that now she may like.

Mappy is a platformer about a mouse of the same name in a police uniform. The player's task is to move around the level, dodge cats and find stolen things. 

Locations are divided into several floors with partitions in the form of doors. If the cat catches up with Mappy, you will lose and the level will start over. 

To make life easier for himself, the player can wait for opponents near a flickering closed door, which temporarily knocks out a nearby cat. 

Having collected all the stolen things, the policeman proceeds to the next stage, of which there are 256 in the crazy game. They are generally similar to each other, including bonus sections where there are no opponents and it is necessary to collect all the red balls in a short time. 

As in the case of Pac-Man, this project is great for short crazy game sessions during a break, but it gets boring much faster.

Dig Dug is a logic arcade crazy game about a digger who must defeat all underground monsters on the level. Digging tunnels, the player can bring down stones on enemies, and when facing face to face, he is able to inflate opponents until they burst. 

The monster can not be completely inflated and run past. In this case, it will slowly deflate. This feature is useful if the main character is surrounded or if you want to drop a stone on several enemies at once in order to get an additional bonus on points. 

Having defeated all the monsters on the screen, the player moves to the next level, where everything is repeated with an increased number of opponents. 

Dig Dug is unlikely to captivate for a long time, however, like other crazy games in the collection, it is well suited for short sessions.

The Tower of Druaga is a RPG puzzle about a knight in golden armor. Here the player must take the main character across the floors of the castle (there are 60 of them) and defeat the demon who wants to subjugate humanity. 

Each level is designed in the style of a labyrinth, and in order to move to the next floor, you need to find the key to the door. On the way of the knight, various enemies await, such as slugs, sorcerers, ghosts, other knights and even fire-breathing dragons. To defeat the villains, the protagonist uses his sword. However, at first, difficulties may arise with this: due to the short radius of the strike and the long rollback animation, opponents have time to successfully counterattack the player immediately after a miss. 

The limited number of lives also adds complexity. 

Despite the functions of rewinding time a second back presented in the collection and the ability to save progress anywhere, The Tower of Druaga makes even hardcore players sweat. 

On the levels, you can find secret items that appear after the golden knight destroys a certain number of opponents. Pickaxe destroys some walls and boots increase movement speed. 

There are no task lists inside the game, and without some items the game is simply impossible to complete. For example, if you do not get a candle, then the player will not be able to see the ghosts, so at some point the game may turn out to be impassable and you will have to start over. 

The Tower of Druaga makes a double impression: on the one hand, it has an interesting concept for a 1984 project, and on the other, it is excessively complex and outdated design, which requires you to start the crazy game from the very beginning. 

Sky Kid is another side-scrolling shooter, only this time horizontal. The player controls a plane in the style of the First World War and must destroy air and ground targets, for which points are awarded. 

At the beginning of each level, you need to take off without hitting the surroundings, and at the end - just as carefully land the plane. Unlike Top Gun, the processes are much simpler here. 

This crazy game has a local co-op for two. 

If you have no nostalgia, then the crazy game is unlikely to be able to delay more than ten minutes.

Dragon Buster is a role-playing platformer in which the protagonist Clovis roams the dungeons and kills skeletons, bats, snakes and other monsters. 

At the beginning, the player is shown a map and given to choose one of two locations where they can go. Clovis must rescue princess Celia from captivity, but he does not know which castle the girl is in, so he must visit all the nearby fortresses. 

As he progresses, he will have to fight opponents, including bosses, from which valuable items drop. 

For example, scrolls with fireballs, which will be useful for defeating other powerful enemies. You can find a reinforced sword, as well as a shield that covers the hero from the attacks of evil enemies. 

At the end of the episode, a princess awaits the character, but not the one he is looking for. The freed girl reports that Celia is in another castle, so Clovis continues to search. 

For its time, Dragon Buster was a groundbreaking project. It is believed that the double jump first appeared here. In addition, the crazy game had a health bar instead of the usual hearts, which was also a fresh decision. 

Unfortunately, in 2020, completely primitive graphics, consisting of square rooms and rectangular corridors of gray-brown-green tones, a curved combat system and general gameplay monotony, leave the game no chance. Now it is an outdated antiques that you once launch and forget forever.

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend is a vertical side-scrolling shooter with a fire-breathing dragon in the title role. This game appeared later than all the others from the collection, so it is noticeably friendly. There is a life scale and you do not need to start the level anew because of one mistake.

Dragon Spirit has two modes of passage. The first one is for the blue dragon (balanced difficulty level), and the second one is for the golden one, which opens after the first defeat and makes the crazy game much easier.

Flying over locations, the player must shoot ground and air targets with two types of attacks. You also need to collect various amplifiers and items. From some of them, the dragon grows another head, which increases the strength and area of ​​fire. 

The levels themselves are quite diverse: castles, ice fields and green forests. The picture is very pleasant for its time. Between the episodes, they show short cutscenes telling the story of the confrontation between good and evil, as well as how the main character, the prince, turning into a dragon, flies to save his sister from the captivity of the evil sorcerer Glad. 
Dragon Spirit: The New Legend will delight all fans of vertical scrolling shooters and can still captivate for several hours of play.

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti is a platformer with a dark environment for its time, referring to various horror films.

The game begins with a small cutscene where a girl stands at the grave of her boyfriend Rick. Due to a lightning strike, the man is resurrected, but not alone, but together with the villain "Pumpkin King". A peculiar symbol of "Halloween" grabs the heroine and flies away. Riku has no choice but to run after the fleeing foe. 

The design of the protagonist is reminiscent of Jason from Friday the 13th, and the overall tone strongly sets the game apart from the rest of the arcades of the period. 

As you progress through the levels, you can see references to films such as "Alien", "Fly" and "The Exorcist". 

This project is not much different from most of the old platformers, but due to the style it seems fresher and more unusual.

As a bonus, this collection contains the Pac-Man Championship Edition in the style of NES crazy games. This project originally appeared on the Xbox 360 and is now available here in the form of an eight-bit "demo". The game is largely based on the principles of the first Pac-Man, but has a number of significant differences. The Championship Edition is a much faster game and the maze is now split into two screens. If you collect all the peas in the first part, then a prize will appear in the second, and after eating it, dots will reappear in the first half of the maze.

The longer you play, the faster the process becomes. 

Session time is limited, but it stops when you eat a large pea. 

Pac-Man Championship Edition fits perfectly into the eight-bit style. If you love this series, then this port will delight you.

The name “Museum Archives” perfectly embodies the essence of the collection Namco Museum Archives - Volume 1. Not all crazy games have retained their fascination, but for those who have not found the classic projects of the eighties, this is a great way to look at the game history through the early works of Namco. Well, for those who remember Pac-Man and the same Galaxian , this is a great excuse to feel nostalgic.