The Games of the Namcot Collection (Switch Import)

A few months ago, we got a couple of downloadable only collections of Namco NES and Famicom games.  I even wrote about them, which you can read here.  But did you know that in Japan, they got a physical copy of the game on the Switch, and that it had different games and a new interface?  I actually imported this game because it was only 30 bucks, which isn’t bad for an import title.  So let’s take a look at this collection and what makes it different from the ones we got in the US!

But first, why is it called Namcot Collection?  Well, that’s because the division of Namco that made Famicom games was called Namcot for some reason.  Did you know that the villain in Pac-Man World is named Toc-Man because that’s Namcot spelled backwards?  Anyway, what makes this a good import is that right off the bat, the menu screens default to English. Unfortunately, to download any new games, you’ll have to set up a Japanese account.  So I probably won’t be doing that anytime soon.

The menu where you pick the games is different on this version, too.  They have a shelf set up where you can pick the games to play, or set them up as a separate display.  I guess that’s if you have any favorites.  Each game also has a stand up figurine you can place on the shelf as well.  Only problem is there is not enough shelf space!  You can only put six games and/or figures on the shelf.

Also on the shelf are a few NG magazines.  A long time ago, Namco made a magazine in Japan to talk about their games, and they even showed a lot of them in the PSOne Namco Museums.  Click on the NG magazines here to see what games you can download from the eShop.  I imagine in the future, they could make an update to add more magazines so you can download more games.  Especially since we got some different games on our collection than they have, like Legacy of the Wizard, Dragon Buster 2, or Gaplus.  Yeah those aren’t on the Japan game, at least not yet.

Anyway, let’s first take a look at the games that are already on the cartridge.  The first NG magazine has all these games on them and says they’ve already been purchased, so I don’t know why they did that.


For 1984, the Famicom version of Pac-Man was pretty darn good.  But do you know how long it took for Pac-Man to be released on the US NES?  It didn’t come out in the US until the early 1990s!  And by then it wasn’t so impressive.  Do you know why it took so long to come out here?  Well, one, Namco never had a US office until the early 90s with Namco Hometek.  Before then, other companies like Midway, Atari, Sunsoft, or Bandai would publish their games in the US.  Also, at one point during the NES’ lifespan, Namco had a falling out with Nintendo.  Why?  Well you know Nintendo had strict rules about how many games a company could release on their system per year.  They did this to prevent the oversaturation of games that ruined Atari’s consoles.  But Namco thought they should cut them some slack since they were one of the first third party developers.  Nintendo was stubborn about their policy, and even though each side had a good argument, Namco decided to make games for other consoles for a while, that’s why you saw more games on the Genesis and Turbo-Grafix 16 for a bit.  But by the end of the NES’s life, Namco and Nintendo had kind of made up a little, and Namco officially published Pac-Man in the US.  Although Atari’s Tengen company published it a little earlier!  It gets a little complicated!


This was brought to the US NES by Bandai.  It’s a pretty good conversion of the arcade game.  From what I can tell, Galaga was almost just as popular as Pac-Man in the arcades back in the day.  I still see it from time to time.

The Tower of Druaga

This dungeon crawling maze RPG had really obtuse secrets.  It was a big hit in Japan, but never came out over here.  Because of the secretive nature of the way you get items, I imagine a home version of this game was a big deal over there.  Druaga had lots of sequels and spinoffs, as well as bunches of cameos in other games and even got an anime at one point.  I don’t like the game very much, but I like the history and lore behind it.

Battle City

In the arcade, this was called Tank Battalion and came out the same year as Pac-Man, which is pretty impressive.  It’s like Atari Combat mixed with the tank game from TRON.  You lose if you get hit by an enemy tank, or if the enemy destroys your base at the end of the maze.  I’m surprised this never came out on the US NES, as it’s pretty fun and you can design your own levels!

Star Luster

This is a behind the cockpit view space shooter and it’s kind of fun in a simple sort of way.  I’ve read that the PSOne game Star Ixiom is a sequel to this.  Also some say Namco has a universal timeline for games such as Ace Combat, Galaga, StarBlade, Dig Dug, Baraduke, and more.  Star Luster is in this timeline!

Family Jockey

This is a horse racing game.  Horse racing is actually pretty popular in Japan.  Unfortunately, this game isn’t very fun.  You can whip your horse to go faster, and jump, but that’s all the control you have.  All the while they play a dopey 8-bit rendition of Camptown Races.  Namco made a popular arcade horse racing game, too, that you might’ve seen in arcades called Final Furlong.  In this one you had to bounce on a mechanical horse to race, and it was very embarrassing if you can imagine.  Probably the most popular horse racing game to be brought to the US was Tecmo’s Gallop Racer, which got a few US releases on the PS2.  Nintendo even asked Namco for help when making Mario Sports Superstars, as one of the games was horse racing, and it was one of the best sports in that game!  My favorite horse racing game is Pocket Card Jockey, which combines horse racing with Solitaire and was made by the same folks who did Pokemon!

You may notice that a lot of these titles start with ‘Family’ in front.  That’s because they were made for the Family Computer.  For instance, the first R.B.I. Baseball game in the US was the first Family Stadium game in Japan.  That series is so popular that they just name it “Famista” for short, and there was even a new game in the series recently released on the Switch in Japan.  That game even has a story mode where you play on a team with characters based on Pac-Man, Toy Pop, Valkryie, Wonder Momo, and more!  Because of the popularity, Nintendo even had Namco make their Mario baseball titles!  Other fairly recent games use the ‘Family’ moniker, too, long after the Famicom.  You know the Wii games We Ski and We Ski & Snowboard?  In Japan they’re called “Family Ski.”

Yokai Dochuki

This is a 2-D platformer with basic RPG and Metroidvania elements, originally in the arcade.  It’s based on a lot of Japanese myths and folklore, so you may see some familiar things in here from your favorite anime or Japanese video game.  Has a catchy theme song, too.  Really hard game, though.

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend

The arcade game is like Xevious except you’re a dragon and the game is really hard.  The NES version is like a sequel, but the stages are the same.  At least it’s not as hard as the arcade game!  It kind of reminds me of Legendary Wings, a NES game I did have.  This did come out in the US, published by Bandai.


Now this one’s interesting.  It was published in Japan by Namco, and I think in the US by Hudson although I had never seen or heard of it back then. It’s also called Mendel Palace in the US. But the game was actually developed by Game Freak!  Yeah, the same company responsible for Pokemon!  It’s a single screen action game where you flip tiles to push enemies to the edge of the screen to dispatch them, and two players can play at the same time.  The only problem is the flicker is really bad and it makes it hard to see where the enemies are, which is important in this kind of game.  I think it would’ve been a better match on a handheld.

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti

Splatterhouse was a pretty controversial game for Namco because it was very gory for the time.  But late in the Famicom’s life cycle, they made an 8-bit version of it with silly chibi characters.  But it’s still really hard.  I couldn’t get past one part where you’re in a kitchen and knives fly at you and roasted chickens pop out of the oven to attack!  I’m a little surprised this game never came out on the US NES, as horror themed video games were pretty popular back then.

Wagan Land

This is a colorful 2-D platformer starring a cute robot dragon who can shout Japanese words at enemies to stun them.  Supposedly this was based on an older mechanical arcade game.  I first saw this character in one of the Namco Museum games, but I thought it was a Fygar from Dig Dug!  Only problem with this game is that the boss battles take the form of mini-games where you must have strong knowledge of the Japanese language, so I didn’t get very far.  It’s a shame, too, because the rest of the game looks like a lot of fun.  In Japan they had three of these games on the NES, three on the SNES, and most recently, one on the DS!

Pac-Man Championship Edition

Aww, yeah!  Namco made a new 8-bit ‘demake’ version of this!  Pac-Man: CE is one of my top favorite Pac-games and it’s the reason why I got an Xbox 360 in the first place!  I like Pac-Man: CE DX and the sequel, but the original is still my favorite.  The only things that keep this demake from being more believable is the music doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a NES, and the speed is much too fast for a NES to handle.  But then, I guess they wanted to keep the speedy gameplay intact.  It’s still a cool addition, and almost worth the price of the collection alone!

NG Magazine 2

The next NG Magazines have games you can buy on the eShop.  Man, wouldn’t it have been cool if ALL of these games were on the cartridge?  There’s really no reason why they couldn’t do that.  It may not seem like it, but I think we might’ve gotten the better deal with the Namco Museum Archives in the US.


This game was a big deal in 1979.  Most games around this time were Space Invaders clones, and this was too, to some extent.  But it was the first game where the aliens would actually dive down and attack, and it was also the first full color video game that didn’t use cheats like screen overlays to simulate color.  The Galaxian flagship makes cameos in a bunch of other Namco games, including Pac-Man, and Galaxian spawned several sequels, including the more popular Galaga.  Galaxian never came to the US NES.  Probably because Galaxian wasn’t near as popular here, and by the time the NES was big in the US, Galaxian might’ve been considered a bit dated.  But the NES version is still pretty close to the arcade, not that it would be hard to do.


It’s a shame that Mappy never caught on in the US because I really like the games.  You are a police mouse trying to take back stolen goods from a gang of cats, and their hideout is full of trampolines and doors you can use to get the better of the cats.  In Japanese, “Mappo” is a slang term for a police officer, so that’s why the mouse is named Mappy.  The Famicom version of Mappy is actually pretty close to the arcade, but it never came out on the US NES.


One of Namco’s really old games was Warp & Warp.  One screen of this game even looked like a proto Bomberman!  It was so old looking that when they brought it to the Famicom, they updated the graphics and called it Warpman.


Most of Namco’s arcade ports to NES turned out pretty good, but not this one!  Oh man, this one looks horrible.  I never was a big fan of Pac-Land, but I did like the cartoony graphics in the arcade.  Pretty impressive for 1984.  Plus it was a 2-D sidescrolling platformer that came out one year before Super Mario Bros.  Mario’s hit may not have been the first, but it certainly was the 2-D platformer that perfected and popularized the genre.  Sorry Pac-Man!  This one never left Japan.

The Adventure of Valkyrie: The Key of Time

One of Namco’s most popular characters in Japan is Valkyrie, a warrior woman loosely based on Norse myths and would make good Waifu material (whoops did I say that last part out loud?).  She’s made cameo appearances and references in other games like Soul Calibur and the Tales RPG series.  While her most familiar role would be in an arcade game, Valkyrie’s first game was on the NES and was a crappy Zelda-like adventure.  Namco must’ve known it wasn’t very good, because when they remade this game on the PSOne later, they made it play more like the arcade game, too!

Dragon Buster

I don’t think the arcade game ever came out in the US, and I know the Famicom version didn’t.  I first played the arcade version on Namco Museum vol. 2.  Think of it like if Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link was an arcade game.  The NES version is pretty close to the arcade, but that has a lot to do with the fact that the arcade game wasn’t very graphically impressive for the time.  I didn’t get very far in the NES version because I couldn’t figure out how to jump off a vine onto a ledge without falling.  That’s one of the problems with this collection is the instructions aren’t very good.

Family Circuit

It’s just a top down F-1 racer.  Nothing special.

Kaijuu Monogotari

This is a typical Japanese NES RPG.  Namco didn’t develop it, but they did publish it.  Looks like they were trying to ride the coattails of Dragon Quest’s popularity.  Even if I did download it, I wouldn’t be able to play it since it’s all in Japanese.

Rolling Thunder

Namco’s spy side scroller certainly has a lot of style, and inspired other games like Shinobi (although it could be the other way around).  The arcade game was hard enough, and the NES version feels even harder!  I think this was published in the US by Tengen.

Keru Naguuru

From what I can tell, it looks like a one on one fighter with chibi characters and good animation.  It has RPG elements, too, like a world map to walk around in and townsfolk to talk to.

NG Magazine 3

And here’s the next magazine with more games you can download.  Again, I think they could probably do another couple of these magazines in the future with games you can download like Mappyland and such.  I probably won’t write about them, though, if that happens.


The NES version of Xevious actually came out in the US, but it was published by Bandai.  Which is ironic since Bandai and Namco are now merged!  I don’t know if Xevious was the first vertically scrolling shooter, but it was the one that perfected it.  I loved the Xevious arcade cabinet and was fascinated with the game as a kid.  One time I even took a chunk of my dad’s dot matrix printer paper and spread it out from the front door to the back door of the house.  Then on one side of the paper I drew a big Xevious map and on the other side I drew a Zaxxon map.  Then I got out my toy spaceships and played pretend Xevious and Zaxxon over the paper!  I got in a little bit of trouble for wasting so much paper, but my parents weren’t TOO mad since I kept quiet and found a way to entertain myself all day!  Anyway the NES version of Xevious is pretty good for what it is.

Dig Dug

I’m surprised this never came out on the US NES, as Dig Dug was pretty popular over here.  The game is pretty close to the arcade version, but to make it fit on a TV screen, they cut out a layer or two of dirt you can dig on the bottom.  You wouldn’t think this would make much difference, but it actually does.

The Tower of Babel

This is a 2-D puzzle platformer where you move around steps to get to a door.  It kind of reminds me of Solomon’s Key.


I really like this shooter, as it’s a cutesy take on WW1 biplanes with creative game mechanics, extra missions to increase your score in the form of bombing targets, and such catchy music.   The NES port of the arcade game is pretty well done, and it was even brought over to the US NES by SunSoft!


This is a port of the arcade game (which I saw once in an arcade a long time ago), and it’s a futuristic obstacle course where you must jump over pits and rolling coke cans.  And the music sounds like “Hit the Road Jack.”  Did you know that when Namco made the updates for Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions, they had plans for a third one based on this game, and it was going to be called AeroCross!

Megami Tensei

Atlus’ first game in their popular RPG series was actually published by Namco in Japan, so it’s available to download here, too.  But it’s all in Japanese.

The Quest of Ki

This is actually a prequel to The Tower of Druaga.  The maiden Ki, who you rescue in that game, is the star here as she climbs the tower with the Blue Crystal Rod.  Unlike the other games, which are viewed from the top down, this one is a platformer where you view the action from the side.  Ki can jump super high, and when she hits the ceiling and bumps her head, she’ll fall straight down.  You’ll use this mechanic to solve puzzles and avoid enemies.  Like Druaga, secrets are very cryptic and the game is very hard.  Plus, the game must have a sad ending since you know what happens to her!

King of Kings

From what I can tell, this is some kind of strategy game.  Didn’t look too interesting to me.

Family Pinball

Oh man, I wish this was playable from the start and you didn’t to download it.  It’s a pinball game with multiple tables, and one of them is based on Pac-Man!

Namcot Classic 2

It’s just a golf game.  I’m surprised they didn’t call it “Family Golf.”

And those are all the games, at least as of this writing.  Let me know what you think in the comments section!  Later!  –Cary

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