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Review Namco Museum Encore Review


Now, before you think I'm going to go and obsess over this again, no. That isn't what is happening. Yes, I have had the urge recently to play it again, but I don't really want to do it like I did. I have not been playing it that much (if at all) recently, and after playing it again, I wanted to change my opinion on this game. it is not perfect, but it's pretty decent, if not actually pretty good.
It starts out with an intro (like the other volumes) but this time with the ship (I will explain it later) going past all of the museums before it, with the games' characters from each museum (the ones that were the most noticeable at least) either running up to it or teleporting themselves on top of it. Afterwards, the characters from the games on this volume teleport themselves on top of it, and somehow get inside as the ship zooms off into space.

Graphically, the museum is underwhelming. It is a real step back from what the previous games were (Volume 5's museum was really good), and honestly, that would seem like a setback in quality, but they really aren't. There's a good reason for that too. Without elaborating too much, the games took up almost the whole disc this time, so (and while getting rid of the empty CDDA track could have helped) building a museum (with XA Audio, too) with about 60MB was just impractical. It would have very short museum music, o there'd be no point, even if it was in XA format. They went with (honestly) a more clever route, by using one of their previous attractions, called the "Game Space Milaiya" (it was just meant to be a futuristic space ship) to not only have a clever way to save space, but to also show it to a new audience. The museum backgrounds follow the same theme, with one being space, one being a grid drawing of the inside of the milaiya, the third one being inside the empty ship, and the fourth one being the original design (?) of the ship with the different arcade games inside if you look close enough. Overall, it's a pretty creative idea to work with what they had resource wise. The games look like they used to, the same pallettes and all, and they even have the original bootup screens that the games had in the arcades, so don't think your game is broken when they scroll through text or all the sprites.

With the sound, the museum is pretty meh. It has 4 different sounds/songs for the different background modes, with the full milaiya being just different arcade game sounds. There isn't that much to it. I honestly kind of enjoyed the memory card tune, along with the credits theme. The sound is just really ok. Nothing that good or bad, just ok. The games are different, with Dragon saber having one of my favorite arcade game soundtracks. Sky Kid has some, but it's not really that good, Rolling Thunder has this sort of 90s PC charm to it, and I do enjoy that. Wonder Momo isn't bad, just something I wouldn't normally listen to on the odd occasion. Rompers has some good music that is pretty enjoyable too. The sound for the games is ok to amazing, as it depends on what game you're playing.
With the controls, they're pretty good. I don't have much to say other than the games do feel responsive and control well without any input lag (none if memory recalls).

Gameplay wise, the museum is just sort of a more enhanced GUI of a normal game selector menu with things like the PCB and instruction cards being visible. You can only go left and right, so it feels limiting compared to the others, but as I explained before, there's a good reason as to why. There's also the memory card, where you can view your records, and the receptionist, who says "ナムコミュージアムまようこそ。" which translates to "Welcome back to Namco Museum." which, yes, in Japan, the receptionist actually talked to you instead of making beeps, which the western versions did instead of getting someone to just say one line, and that was especially weird in Volume 4, where through some button pressing, you could turn the receptionist into a human. She also says something else after you stop talking to it, but I don't really know what it is (at the moment). Anyways, that's what the meat of this review is, now isn't it? It's an arcade compilation, so I would review the games individually, shouldn't I? Well, no, because reviewing them individually would take too long for me to write and you to read.

On to the games.

One thing I will note beforehand though is that all of these games were rewritten in C, and not emulated. Emulation on the PS1 would have taken way too long, and too much of a hassle, so they basically translated the original programming languages into C and made all of the games into games by themselves. This is a misconception that these games were emulated, but they were, in fact, not.

King and Balloon
A galaxian clone with a simple premise: You can die an infinite amount of times, but you have to keep the king from being taken away by the balloons. This one is pretty fun from time to time, and it sounds funny with how it has voice clips the king in the game saying things, with how 1980 technology did it, it made it sound kind of bad and funny. I play this one every so often, and it can be fun too from time to time.

This one is fun too. The premise is that you're shoving space bugs and other things off the stage or through holes, and it can be quite a fun experience, too. I like doing it, since they can prove to be a challenge. A fun challenge.

Sky Kid
This is honestly the one I play the least. This one is a game where you fly around shooting things out of the sky and on the ground before you get shot down. I don't really like this one, but it probably has an audience somewhere.

Rolling Thunder
One of the best games on here. You take hold of Agent Albatross, trying to save your partner Leila, who has already been captured by the game's enemies, but I never figured out the name of them. You shoot the enemies, but don't let the life meter at the bottom fool you. One direct hit and you're dead. One bullet anywhere on your body and you're dead. One Punch and you're dead. One attack from an enemy that hits you directly and you're dead. run in to enemire twice and you're dead. It's a hard game, but it's really fun too.

Wonder Momo
This one is weaker, but still a fun beat em up (I guess?) of sorts. You take control of Momo, the game's protagonist. It plays like a stage show, with 4 different acts to a level and when you hold the attack button while facing the screen or you touch a whirlwind, you turn into Wonder Momo, with a hoop that she can shoot at enemies, but you need to get it back before you can shoot it again. There's also a health powerup that will restore your health by two squares, a fire powerup that gives you bullets of kinds to shoot at enemies, and a rapid fire power up where you spin and shoot bullets. It is fun, but not the best.

You play as Chap, pushing walls on enemies to crush them, trying to get your girlfriend back that was taken from you when you and her were minding your own business. This one is really hard too, especially with how you die quite easily. Touch an enemy and you die. touch fire and you die. Get crushed by a wall and you die. You will die a lot unless you're skilled at this game, which is a real skill. This one is pretty fun too.

Dragon Saber
The best game on encore, period. It takes Dragon Spirit, a really difficult game to be honest and bakes it much better. Rapid fire, Charge Shots, and the best part of all, the games isn't made up of bullet hell anymore. You are powered down when you get hit, and return to your original form when you die, but this is honestly the best game here. It is fast paced action and is even better with two players. The music makes the game better, and the arranged music from Dragon Spirit is amazing. It even has a soundtrack released for it it was that good. The best title in the whole game hands down.

Overall, I don't think this is the best game in my collection, and I liked coming back to this to prove to myself that this isn't the best game ever. I still enjoy it from time to time, but I don't think this is the best game ever anymore. I hope you enjoyed this review and now understand why I personally think it is the best Namco Museum game of the hexology, and possibly of the whole series.


I'll take my time in procrastinating until the next review that isn't just a rehash.
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