Name: Namco History Volume 4 (85.00% in 2 votes)
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Ibb
I got Namco History Vol. 4 today. With this title Namco returns with yet another forray into the classics realm. NHV4 games collection was also released on the Playstation as Namco Museum vol. 4. It contains three great games (Assault, Ordyne, and Pac-Land), and two other good ones (Genji & Heike, Ishtar). Actually, it has less old games and more post-1984 titles than the previous Namco releases in the same series. After three collections of games you remember fondly from the glory days of the arcade, Namco has finally run out of popular American games to repackage. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most of the games here, save one, are great fun, even if you haven't heard of them.
Assault: This alone would justify buying NH4. You are placed at the Battlezone-style controls of a tank, and are forced to traverse countless levels, blasting away at enemy forces in the process. The tank can also roll over onto its side, which makes avoiding unfriendly fire a breeze.
Ordyne: The package wouldn't be complete without a shooter game, and Namco 4 has Ordyne. Ordyne is a shooter that plays like a mix of Parodius and Forgotten Worlds. Fly a ship and blast flying dolphins and saucers. Pick up money and buy power-ups. There are shops along the way that allow for weapon upgrades, but these are limited in ammunition and don't last very long at all. The bosses in the game are pretty big, and all in all this is quite a good game. It's an interesting twist on a tired genre, but considering this was made ten years ago, it's pretty cool. The PC Engine had a decent port of it, but this PC translation is just like THE REAL ARCADE VERSION and makes the TG port look like crap- you'll find effects that the TG16 port had either deleted or cut down.
Pac Land: Pac Land will be most recognizable title to old school gamers, and it does offer some pretty addicting gameplay, being one of the more memorable games on this collection. It's obviously the Japanese version (Midway's U.S. version was just a little different, with the Pac Family redrawn to appear as they did in the cartoon on TV and the dog & cat running through the yard). Pac's mission is to save a Fairy Princess and return her to Fairy Land. He does this by, well, running and jumping. The occasional power pellet allows him to eat ghosts, but it's usually just easier to avoid them. The Pc Engine also has this one, but that's not a perfect conversion. This is ! It has somewhat better graphics than the PC Engine, including the parallax scrolling that was yanked from that console port.
Genji & Heike Clans (or Genpeitoumaden): Perhaps the strangest game of the bunch. Take command of an undead Samurai and hack you way through multiple perspective levels of monsters and weird creatures. There's also a separate game mode where the characters are really huge, but they just look goofy. This game was also ported, as Samurai Ghost, on the Pc Engine, but that conversion was very incomplete, missing the overhead levels). This was also the game that Sega sort of cloned with their Sega Master System game Kenseiden (which is one of their best SMS releases). While it never got a proper US release, this game will appeal to fans of the old side-scrollers.
Return of Ishtar: It's another old Namco Arcade game called Tower of Druaga and it's incredibly bad. Actually, this is the only real dog of the bunch. This mind-numbingly large top-down adventure game is sooo boring, no matter how you look at it.
Overall, Namco Museum Vol. 4 doesn't really offer anything in the way of famous games, but it does have enough old school fun to wile away any rainy afternoon. This is a collection of unfamiliar games that ends up being quite a bit of fun.
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