Why do they have to ‘remix’ the classics?

namco-museum-remix

Having grown up during the dawn of the 12” single, I’m a sucker for a remix…of a song, that is. But I finally picked up a copy of the Wii video game Namco Museum Remix and find most of its appeal is in the inclusion of a handful of 80s classic arcade versions: Super Pac-Man, Galaxian, Gaplus, Dig Dug, Pac-Mania, Mappy, Pac & Pal and Cutie-Q. I’ve read online reviews complaining that this doesn’t have Pac Man or Ms. Pac Man, but both of those are on DOZENS of other compilations. It’s good that it doesn’t recycle them yet again (although I’m sure they’ll show up on the current generation of systems soon enough). Instead, it offers three more Pac sequels, Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal, and the original “3-D” take on the series, Pac-Mania. Super Pac-Man is my favorite, even though it bombed in the arcades way back when. It has such a cult following in fact that its inclusion on an old Namco compilation for Playstation One sees that title selling used for like 100 dollars.

namco museum remix super pac man

Another negative I’ve heard in reviews is that the games are small in the center of the screen with annoying artwork as a border filling the sides of the screen. Well, let’s see. Maybe that’s because these perfect arcade conversions are the same aspect ratio of the original games, which were tall and narrow, not short and wide like current widescreen televisions. This isn’t the first series to create these video game art borders, and I love them (often, they borrow the artwork from the side of the original arcade cabinet). My only problem with the classics is, I bought this cool Intec arcade stick for my Wii, and while it works with the classic games, it doesn’t let you navigate TO the classic games menu! You have to use your Nunchuck to get there, choose the game you want to play, and then when the screen comes up, you have to switch out the controllers so you can use the stick to capture that old school arcade feel.

Meanwhile, I’ve also sampled the five 3-D “Remix” games: Gator Panic, Rally-X, Pac n Roll, Galaga,and Pac Motos. Isn’t it funny how none of the remix games appear on this disc in their original classic form?

namco museum remix galaga remix

Anyway, I began with Galaga Remix, since that’s one of my favorite arcade games ever. This game is ALMOST good. The invaders swoop in from all angles while you yourself are basically the base from the original game, shooting at the invaders on screen with your Wiimote, sort of like a light gun game. If they had just stuck to this formula, it would have been fantastic. BUT, the common theme in this remix series is that EVERY game has to incorporate the Pac-Man character! Ugh. So, as you’re shooting off enemies, Pac-Man is rolling down this gigantic slide in space, and it is your goal to keep him protected from the invaders. Occasionally, there will be obstacles in Pac-Man’s way, and you have to push up on your Nunchuck to make him jump over them. So you’re supposed to be doing two things at once. There’s no way to slow Pac-Man down or stop him. However, once in a while, he stops on his own and just sits there watching invaders line up! This is actually where you get the most classic feel, because they sort of take the formation of the original game. The game is set up in “worlds” and each has three levels. BUT, there are only THREE worlds! Which means nine levels and then a REALLY annoying boss battle. There’s a tricky learning curve on this boss (basically a giant space dragon that spits bombs at Pac-Man as he travels down yet another slide), so it took me numerous retries to finally figure out how to defeat him.

namco museum remix rally x remix

I played the first world of Rally-X Remix. The game gets repetitive fast. You (or should I say Pac-Man) drive a car around a maze collecting flags while being chased by red cars that kill you on contact. It’s sort of like playing, um, Pac-Man. It’s actually also like the Atari classic car game Dodge Em (and like the classic arcade game Rally-X, duh). There are annoying oil slicks that completely spin you around, sending you in the opposite direction. You can also shoot smoke puffs from the back of your car to do the same to your pursuer if he’s getting to close. The controls are terrible in this game. For starters, it isn’t compatible with my Arcade stick, so I had to use the Nunchuck stick to steer the car. The up/down/left/right response is MISERABLE. I found my car more often spinning in circles than going the direction I wanted. The Nunchuck stick is too sensitive in all directions for a 4-direction game. Secondly, out of habit, you’re going to want to steer when you reach a wall, but the car actually automatically turns a corner when it hits a wall, so if you use your control stick at that moment, you once again send the car into a tailspin. So you sit there saying to yourself, “okay to turn now, don’t hit controller now, etc.” Horrible.

namco museum remix gator panic

Gator Panic Remix (I don’t even remember an original Gator Panic) is an annoying 3-D whack a mole game, only with—gators. They come out of three lower caves and one upper cave, while you, an old turtle, stand on an island at the bottom of the screen. What you’re supposed to do is swing the Wiimote up and down to hit them, and use the annoying Nunchuck stick again, this time to direct this little hammer symbol on screen to one of the four caves you want to aim at! Ugh! Instead, I too often found myself moving the Wiimote left and right while hammering away with the Nunchuck. Total chaos. Like rubbing your belly while patting your head. There’s really not much point to this game. But after five times of being told by the game that I’m pathetic, I finally scored well enough to get none other than Pac-Man to cheer from the top cave!

namco museum remix pac motos

Another annoying game is Pac-Motos (doesn’t get a Remix attached to it, so I guess this is an original game). In this game, which also quickly gets boring, you’re Pac-Man rolling around on a platform in the middle of space. Your goal is to roll around and knock all the enemies off the platform before they can do the same to you. Again, after about two levels in World 1, I was bored. But I did make it to the boss at the end of the world, which is where I discovered that I could not figure out how to use the special power-ups you get, such as jumping, which would really have come in handy as the boss shot his long arms across the screen and swept me into the abyss of space. Eventually, I just learned the boss’s pattern of trying to knock me off the platform, and simply avoided the movements and conquered him by rolling repeatedly into his head.

namco museum remix pac n roll

My favorite game, ruined only by the Nunchuck stick, is Pac’N Roll Remix. This reminds me of the awesome 3-D Pac-Man World platformers that were available on Playstation One and PS2. It basically takes the original classic Pac-Man formula and puts it in 3-D worlds. You roll around collecting enough dots to open the gate to the next level, all the while being chased by ghosts. And of course, there are Power Pills to munch the ghosts once they turn blue, as well as fruits and other bonus items to collect. For added fun, there are higher levels of ground you have to reach by rolling up ramps and jumping across moving platforms.

Since there are absolutely no walkthrus for this game out there as far as I can tell, I thought I’d post a few tips on defeating the bosses in the two best new games on the disc: Galaga Remix and Pac N Roll Remix. Not even sure if this blog posting will come up if people Google help for these bosses, but I figure I’ll put it out there in cyberspace anyway.

GALAGA REMIX

namco museum galaga remix 1

This weird game has you shooting Galaga formations like in the classic arcade game as they sweep onto the screen, however this time, you’re using your Wiimote sort of like a lightgun—and you have the annoying task of protecting Pac Man as he rolls down a very long outerspace slide—which end up having some obstacles on it that you have to make sure to blow out of the way as well. But the real challenge is the one and only boss at the end of the third and last level of this relatively short game.

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Galaga Remix Boss

It’s a tough, but here’s what you have to do. As the Dragon goes to strike at you, you have to jump Pac Man (push up on your Nunchuck stick) just as the Dragon swoops to avoid getting hit. Also, keep shooting the skeleton bombs and eventually they turn back on the boss and hit him. Of course, if you do this enough times, eventually, he dies and you beat the game.

namco museum galaga remix 3

 

PAC N ROLL

This a pretty involved and lengthy platformer with five worlds and about 25 levels. The game gets increasingly more challenging. Some of the levels took me numerous tries, including walking away from the level for a few days and coming back to it refreshed because they get REALLY frustrating!!! I have a serious love/hate relationship with platformers. They’re so fricking ANNOYING…but I can’t help but play them. Anyway, on to the boss battle tips. Joyously, World 1 does not have a boss! So let’s move on to World 2 Boss.

namco museum pac n roll 1

World 2 Boss

The basic goal is the same in every boss battle—eat three power pills in a short amount of time so you have enough power to gobble up the boss, who shrinks once you’ve eaten the three power pills. BUT, he has a three segment life bar, so in each case, you have to perform this task three times to defeat him. What sux is, if you die at all, you don’t start where you left off—you have to repeat the entire process. So for instance, if you knock off two pieces of his life bar and you die, you have to start ALL over again. Also, if you don’t eat three consecutive power pills fast enough, you lose the power and have to start eating them all over again.

Anyway, for this first turn with the boss, it’s pretty easy. Simply stay away from him, follow the path, and eat three power pills along the way (there’s a power pill gauge on the right that fills with one power pill each time you eat one). When all three are eaten, the boss temporarily turns small and you can eat him. Repeat two more times to kill him.

World 3 Boss

1st Phase:

Power pill locations are: platform West (with wind and a trampoline to challenge you), North (annoying walls that you bounce off) and East (safe spot). The boss follows you, trying to blow a fan at you to knock you off (press Z or B to stay in place) and swinging a guitar at you. If he hits you, you lose a segment of your life bar. And of course, if he blows you off the platform, you die.

2nd Phase:

Same as before, only now the power pill locations are West (wind and trampoline), North (bouncing walls) and South (safe spot).

3rd Phase:

Immediately head South to grab the power pill when it appears! This turns the two ghosts blue. Eat them because, they have the other two power pills on their heads! The boss will shrink and you can eat him. Battle finished!

namco museum pac n roll 3

World 4 Boss

Don’t forget, if you lose all four of you life bar pieces at all, you have to start the boss all over. You’re on a circular platform that moves and tilts, and the idea is to grab 3 power pills and then head to the boss’s platform at the top of the screen and eat him before beginning the next phase. Falling into the goop that surrounds your platform causes you to lose a life bar segment.

1st Phase:

If you act quickly, you can run to the right and wait for the platform to rise on that side to get pill one. Then hurry to the bottom of the screen and wait for that side to rise for that pill, and finally rush to the left to wait for the side to rise so you can get the last pill. Then carefully move to the boss’s platform and gobble him up. When he’s gone, hurry back onto your platform.

2nd Phase:

Basically, this one’s really easy if you quickly get to the top most part of the platform after the boss tilts it, which should be near the top of the screen (where the boss is). If you stay at the highest part and just put on your brakes and sit there, the platform rotates you right over all three pills. Hurry back to the CENTER of your platform after you’ve gotten them all and gobbled up the boss.

3rd Phase:

The platform sinks a lot more here, so just try to move to stay on it if the section you’re on starts to go under. The best pattern is to immediately get the pill in the middle of the platform, then aim for the left pill (making sure to stay centered on your platform as it sinks), then hurry to the bottom pill. You may have to use your energy burst to rush up to the highest points in time (but be sure to brake so you don’t fly off the other side).

World 5 Boss

This is a dreaded TWO PART boss with 3 phases in each part. And since there’s only an automatic save system between levels, if you defeat the first part of the boss battle then lose all your lives on the second part, you have to start all over at the first part again! UGH! Expect to be repeating the first part many times. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy and you can blow through it pretty quickly without losing a life once you’ve done it a few times.

Part 1, 1st Phase:

Pretty easy. There are 6 turning, interlocked platforms…Two big ones in the center, two smaller ones up top, and two smaller ones at bottom (closer to the screen). You’ll start on the big platform closer to the screen. One power pill is on the small platform on the bottom right of the screen. The other two are on the small top left platform and the right of the big platform closer to the top of the screen. Just be aware that the boss sends a target out—if it lands on you and you don’t move out of its sights, it’s just a matter of time before he jumps onto the target and squishes you.

Part 1, 2nd Phase:

This time, the power pills are in the lower right small platform, upper left small platform and upper right small platform, but the boss blows wind to try and knock you off. If you eat the three power pills fast enough, you can pretty much prevent him from ever blowing the wind at you.

Part 1, 3rd Phase:

This time, the pills are on the bottom left platform, bottom right platform, and at the top right platform. Get them all and eat the boss.

NOW we go on to the second part of the final boss—and a much harder part.

namco museum remix pac n roll2

Part 2, 1st phase:

Now you’re on spinning platforms with bounce pads. The first power pill is right there on the main platform. To get the other two pills, you have to use a bounce pad to get across to the other smaller platforms at the top of the screen AND to bounce up to catch each power pill, which is in the air, and then bounce BACK to the main platform to continue on, which means you have to be FAST in each case! A good idea is to first bounce to a platform, get the power pill, wait for the bounce pad to spin closer to the large main platform, bounce back, eat the power pill on the main platform so you extend the life of the power pill, which gives you time to bounce onto the other platform to get the last pill. Then quickly jump back to the main platform to get the shrunken boss as he quivers somewhere nearby. Just be aware that a couple of ghosts are on the main platform to get in your way—spinning around in these little annoying bumper car thingies.

Part 2, 2nd phase:

A little more challenging, with more ghosts in bumper cars, but the deal is pretty much the same as phase 1. However, you need to rotate your camera to see the other small platforms surrounding the main platform, initially out of sight at the bottom of the screen, so you can locate the platforms with the power pills. Two are on the smaller platforms and one, again, is on the main platform.

Part 3, 3rd Phase:

The power pills are all on smaller platforms surrounding the main platform this time so you really have to use camera work to find them because they only appear one at a time. After you get to the platform with the first one, you have to rotate your camera to find the second, then do the same for the third. To add to your troubles, the boss is much more aggressive—more wind, more guitar smacks. PLUS, you have targets on you, flinging bombs at you, and now there are four ghosts spinning around in bumper cars and getting in your way. VERY challenging. Honestly, the only way to beat this section is to be REALLY good and fast at using the bounce pads. Most frustrating is that, just like on all levels, if you don’t grab all three power pills in time, you have to start all over again collecting them, which means repeating the tedious bouncing from platform to platform—the reason you want to collect them as fast as possible to eat that shrunken boss one last time and defeat the game.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES.

I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.

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