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Namco Museum 50th Anniversary PC CD-ROM

Published by Namco
Developed by Digital Eclipse
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, an introduction.

Whilst we've looked at plenty of classic game compilations over the last 12 months or so, most have been for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. In fact we've already taken a look at the PlayStation 2 version of Namco Museum 50th Anniversary and it's fair to say that the compilation on the whole was lacklustre. Here we have the same compilation for the PC. Essentially it's feature identical although with the game being on the PC, there are a few other things to take into account.

What's the game about?

Namco Museum 50th Anniversary is a collection of 16 games from Namco's illustrious past. The usual suspects are here including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaxian and Dig Dug. Galaga, Rally-X, Pole Position, Pole Position II, Xevious, Dragon Spirit, Bosconian, Rolling Thunder, Mappy and Sky Kid are the other titles you'll initially have access to whilst there are two extra unlockable games, Galaga '88 and Pac-Mania.

What's good about the game?

The games are essentially arcade perfect versions and play exactly the same as the original versions. The game allows you to use either the keyboard or a joystick/gamepad. Controls can be redefined for each game. We used an Xbox 360 corded controller and it worked well. We were able to configure Pole Position to use the left analogue stick to steer and the triggers to accelerate and brake. It was actually a pretty comfortable setup and worked very nicely. It may seem a little time consuming having to redefine your controls for each game but at least you get a control scheme you're happy with and given the addictive nature of most of the games on offer here, that's very important.

What's not so good about the game?

Given the rather crude appearance of the games on offer it's a little surprising to find the game for sale at £19.99, which seems well over the odds for what you're getting. The chances are that you already own most of the games in this compilation as various compilations have appeared on the PC over the years that have featured quite a few of the games on offer here. Like in the PlayStation 2 version you select your game by moving a rotating display of arcade cabinets left or right. Whilst this may look OK, a simple list would have been far more pleasant and allowed you to choose your desired game far more quickly. The presentation of the games leave a lot to be desired. There's no detailed history of each game or developer interviews. Instead you'll only get to alter a few settings, such as difficulty levels and the amount of lives you'll have in the game.

How does it look?

I was disappointed to find the game is locked at a resolution of just 640x480. This tends to indicate the game was a no fuss port from the console versions, which is unfortunate. There isn't even an option to run the games in windowed mode so if you are playing on a TFT screen the whole thing just looks pretty awful. You would have thought either a windowed mode would have been offered or at the very least, high resolution versions of the games should have been optional (whilst I always prefer the original look of classic games, they look pretty horrid when running on a TFT screen). There is a smoothing option that attempts to take out some of the jagged edges (which is enabled by default) but when a game running at 640x480 is running full screen on a TFT, it doesn't really do that much as the poor scaling of most TFT screens just makes the whole thing look a mess.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

There are no problems with the Namco Museum 50th Anniversary for deaf gamers. As with many classic compilations the games use very simplistic sounds and none of these are important. The game manual explains how to play each of the games with rules, tips and also lists the configurable options for each title.

Final thoughts.

There's little doubt that Namco Museum 50th Anniversary contains some of the true early gaming classics. The collection is not as good as most would have hoped for though. The presentation is lacking, the method of selecting a game is rather annoying and it's a decent bet that if you are a huge fan of some of the games on here, you'll probably already own them in one form or another. The PC version feels like a quick port from the console versions, which wasn't anything special to begin with, and although it's nice that you can redefine the controls for each of the games individually, it's a shame that you have to endure the forced full screen resolution which is a pitiful 640x480. It would have been OK in 1996 but in 2006 it's awfully crude.

Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

Whilst this is essentially the same game as the PlayStation 2 version, no special effort has been made to make the game more suitable for the PC's higher screen resolutions and as such it looks pretty messy.