Namco Museum Switch Virtual Tour

Recently I reviewed Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch.  So now I thought I’d go over each of the games in this arcade classics collection in more detail.  So welcome to the Namco Museum!  My name is Cary and I’ll be your tour guide today on this virtual tour!  There is no smoking and please stay with the group!


There’s not much to say about Pac-Man that hasn’t already been said.  You can’t have a Namco Museum without it!  Most of you probably know it’s my most favorite game of all time.  It’s also the first arcade game I ever played.  When I was very little, my dad and I were watching the news on TV.  They showed these guys building these big yellow things that I thought were soda vending machines, since they were about the same size, had a lighted marquee, and a coin slot.  Well a few months later, my mom and I were shopping at a Kroger grocery store, and I saw that same machine I saw on TV right past the checkout lanes.  I asked my mom if I could go look at it while she was checking out, and she said yes.  She came over afterwards and gave me a quarter.  Oh if she only knew what she was about to start!  Turns out that big yellow thing was a Pac-Man arcade machine, and all the way home from the grocery store I was talking nonstop on how cool it was.  And I’ve been enthusiastic about it ever since.

One thing about the games on this Namco Museum is they feature HD Rumble that Nintendo likes to brag about the Switch having.  Well I think it’s totally unnecessary for this game.  The controller will shake violently every time you eat a power pellet or ghost, which gets annoying.  I recommend turning it off in the options screen.


Even though Galaga never got bedsheets or a breakfast cereal or a Saturday morning cartoon, it’s probably almost, if not just as, popular as Pac-Man in the arcades.  You saw it in pretty much every arcade back then, and even now.  Namco still pumps out new Galaga games every so often, most recently are ones like Galaga Legions on Xbox 360, ticket redemption game Galaga Assault in arcades, and Galaga Wars on mobile.  But did you know that Galaga is actually a sequel to an older arcade game called Galaxian?  And did you know that Galaxian was the first game to feature RGB color graphics on the screen?

Dig Dug

Another popular early 80’s arcade game.  I like this one a lot, too.  You dig through the ground and defeat enemies with an air pump.  Here’s some interesting Dig Dug facts.  Dig Dug’s actual name is Taizo Hori, and he has a son named Susumu Hori.  Susumu has his own game, too, and you may have heard of it.  It’s called Mr. Driller.  So yeah, Dig Dug is Mr. Driller’s dad.  What’s even weirder is that there is a popular theory going around, and I think Namco has even confirmed it, that a lot of their games happen in the same universe across a vast time line.  So games like Dig Dug, Mr. Driller, and Baraduke are in the same universe as titles like Galaxian, Galaga, StarBlade, and even Ace Combat!  Isn’t that crazy?

The Tower of Druaga

This game was never released in the US, but Namco insists on putting it in nearly all of their Namco Museums.  In fact I never heard of it until it was on Namco Museum vol. 3 on the PSOne.  It’s a 2-D maze game that was heavily influenced by Dungeons and Dragons themes.  It was insanely popular in Japan, though.  They had a Druaga board game, sequels in the arcade and on home consoles, and even an anime a few years ago (although I hear the anime wasn’t very good and didn’t have much to do with the source material).  The original arcade game isn’t very good because it’s so secretive.  In order to complete the game, you have to find a treasure chest on every floor that contains important items like boots that make you go faster, or a more powerful sword and shield.  But in order to make the treasure chests appear, you have to do weird things like defeat certain enemies or break certain walls, and the game doesn’t give you any clue as to what you need to do on each floor.  But even though the game isn’t very good, I’ve enjoyed learning about the game ever since I first heard of it.  Like for instance, did you know the story is very loosely based on one of the oldest pieces of literature called The Epic of Gilgamesh.  And Namco puts a lot of Druaga cameos into their games.  Even the newest Smash Bros. had Druaga cameos in the form of a Mii outfit!


This is a 2-D side scrolling shooter featuring cute characters in biplanes.  If you get hit, you’ll spin dive, but you can hit the loop button a bunch to try and pull out of it before you hit the ground.  The main theme song is also pretty catchy, and I also like it because I’ve always been fascinated with biplanes.  But I’ve never seen it in arcades very much.  In fact, the only place I saw it as a kid was at the local Wal-Mart near the entrance.  Back then, a lot of stores would put a couple of arcade games near the door.  And at this Wal-Mart near my house, they had a SkyKid cabinet for a while.  But I rarely played it because when we went to Wal-Mart, my mom would usually always give me one quarter to play a game.  And right beside SkyKid was Super Pac-Man, so you can guess which one I usually picked.  I think that’s how I got so good at Super Pac-Man was from playing it at that Wal-Mart so much!  Oh yeah, one more thing.  I always thought it would be funny to put the SkyKid biplane in an Ace Combat game.  Well I heard that in the last game, they did that!

Rolling Thunder

This is a 2-D platformer shooter with a spy theme.  It was really popular in arcades, and I saw it a lot back then, and it had quite a few home ports as well.  And it had a lot of imitators, like Code Name Viper on the NES and even the first Shinobi game played a lot like Rolling Thunder.  I never liked it much, though, because it was kind of clunky and hard.  It certainly had its own style, though.  One interesting theory I read about recently was that Time Crisis is related to Rolling Thunder in a way. I’ll have to look into that more.

Galaga 88

Told ya that Galaga was popular, as this is one of its many sequels.  The graphics are improved and they made a few gameplay tweaks to make it more challenging and add replay value, but it pretty much plays the same as the original.  It’s a bit cutesy-er, too, which I like.  One weird thing is I think the emulation on this version of Namco Museum is the Japanese game.  Most of it is in English anyway, so it doesn’t matter, but the high score ranking screen has some Japanese characters at the top.  I don’t remember them being in other Namco Museums that had Galaga ’88 on it.  Unless I just didn’t notice it.  But I think this Namco Museum on Switch caters to more of the Japanese crowd anyway, which we’ll see in a bit.


I’m a little surprised this game is on this collection, as it was pretty controversial back then, almost as much as Mortal Kombat.  It’s a hyper violent (well, for the late 80s) side scrolling beat ‘em up that’s also like a tribute to horror slasher movies.  Your guy even wears a hockey mask as he pummels all manner of gross monsters who splat against the wall in explosions of pixelated goo.  Back then, I don’t remember seeing it in arcades, but I do remember it on home consoles like the TG-16 and its sequels.  And the game’s a bit hard and clunky and not really my cup of tea anyway.  I do have the 3-D Splatterhouse remake on Xbox 360, though. WHY in the world would I have that, you might ask.  Well it has all three of the old Splatterhouse games on it, I got the game for only 20 bucks, and it also came with a replica of the “Terror Mask.” Plus the Terror Mask in that game was voiced by Jim Cummings, so I had to see that.   I knew going in the game was going to be violent, but it was also very difficult and juvenile, so I stopped playing after a while.  I mean, one of the collectables you pick up are near-naked pictures of your girlfriend.

Tank Force

At the start of the 80s, along with games like Pac-Man and Rally-X, Namco made another maze game, this time featuring tanks.  It was called Tank Battalion and I’m not really sure if it came to the US, but it’s like an expanded version of Atari’s older Tank game, and it also reminds me of the tank maze mini-game from the TRON arcade title.  It was also ported to the Famicom under the name Battle City.  Your task is to shoot down the base of the enemy tanks at the top of the maze, while defending your own at the bottom.  It’s Game Over if you lose all your lives or if the enemy tanks shoot your base.  Most of the walls were breakable, too, so you had to use strategy when you shoot.  Fast forward to 1991.  Tank Force is pretty much the same game, except with 16-bit style graphics, obstacles like water, two player support, and power-ups.  It kind of reminds me of the “Arrangement” updates of classic Namco arcade games that would come out a few years later.  Also, I’m pretty sure this game never came to the US.  In fact, all the text in the game is Japanese.  What they did for the US version of Namco Museum was put an overlay of English text over the Japanese characters, but you can still see them underneath since the text box is slightly translucent.  I’m always happy when Namco puts obscure Japanese games on their collections, because I had never heard of this game until now.

Rolling Thunder 2

Aside from better graphics and the ability to play as either a male or female spy, this game is pretty much the same as the first, gameplay wise.  I think this game must’ve only come out in Japan as well, because like Tank Force, all the text is Japanese with an English text box superimposed over it.  And like I said before, I was never into the Rolling Thunder games much, so I don’t have anything else to say about it.

Pac-Man Vs.

This is one of the big draws of Namco Museum on the Switch.  Pac-Man Vs. is a very fun multiplayer Pac-Man game, but very few people have played it.  It was originally on the GameCube, but you needed four GBAs and four link cables to play it, so that’s why so many people missed out on it.  Plus it was a pack-in game with some other less popular Namco GameCube titles like R: Racing Evolution or I-Ninja.  There is also a version of Pac-Man Vs. on the Namco Museum game on the DS, which I like MUCH better.  In the game, three players are ghosts and one player is Pac-Man.  Pac-Man gets points the usual way, and the ghosts get points by catching Pac-Man.  Whoever catches Pac-Man gets to be him next, and whoever reaches a certain score first, wins.  The trick is that the three ghosts have a limited view of the maze on one screen, but Pac-Man can see the whole maze on a separate screen.

If this sounds kind of like some of the mini-games in Nintendo Land, you’re right, as both games were designed by the same person.  Yup, Pac-Man Vs. was actually made by Shigeru Miyamoto, who is a pretty big Pac-Man fan, believe it or not (the man’s got taste).  In fact, the GameCube version had Mario as the announcer!  Unfortunately, the Switch version of Pac-Man Vs. is based on the GameCube one, so Mario’s back here, too.  I just don’t like Mario’s high squeaky voice that much, and I never felt Pac-Man Vs. needed an announcer anyway.  That’s one of the reasons why I prefer the DS version, as it had no announcer.  Plus, even though the mazes are the same in both versions, one of the mazes on the DS one was reworked to be called Lib Rab Woods, and it was based on a Japan only Namco arcade game called Libble Rabble.  Cool thing about Libble Rabble is it was made by the same guy who created Pac-Man: Toru Iwatani.

The other reason why I like the DS version best is because you only needed one cartridge to play the game, and everyone can just use their own DS.  For the Switch version you need two Switches and the second one needs to have a separate (yet free) app to play Pac-Man Vs. on it.  It’s a bit convoluted, but not as bad as what you had to do on the GameCube!  Even so, Pac-Man Vs. is still a lot of fun.  In fact, it’s way better than the multiplayer arcade game Pac-Man Battle Royale.  Actually even though it’s an inferior game, I would’ve liked to have seen Battle Royale on the Switch Namco Museum, too, since it is a multiplayer-centric console.

Thanks for Visiting!

And that concludes our tour of Namco Museum on the Switch.  Like I said in my main review, I liked that it had a mix of popular and obscure games on it.  But at less than a dozen games, 30 bucks is a bit steep of a price of admission to this museum.  I mean, Namco Museum Virtual Arcade on 360 had nearly three times as many games and cost about as much.  Anyway, that’s all for now, later!  –Cary

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