Packing five classic Namco arcade titles (and one "new" game), it's hard to argue that Namco Museum Essentials goes below the call of duty for its sub-£10 price-tag. But some glorious presentation and procedural unlocks really bring the old classics into the new generation.
Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, Xevious and Dragon Spirit are all names associated with video games — both by old, new, casual and hardcore gamers alike. On top of the five classics, Namco have thrown in Xevious Resurrection for good measure - a reworking of the original Xevious with re-constructed sprites and some tweaks to the gameplay.
It's perhaps a little uninspiring of us to simply state that each of the older guys plays identically to its original counterpart. Alas, it is indeed the truth. These are perfect recreations on the PS3, warts and all. That means, yes, Pac-Man is still a nightmare to control and Dig-Dug is super-sticky with its movement. But without the flaws, these would not be the original classics. The only real addition (if you can call it that) is the introduction of level-select, allowing you to forfeit scoreboard entry in order to hit those later stages you may never have experienced.
Yes, scoreboard entry. Namco Museum Essentials uses integration with your Playstation 3 friends-list in order to generate personal leaderboards with your friends. Not only that, the game has a procedural "Stamp" system, which reward particular achievements within each of the six games with "Stamps". Stamps allow you to increase your grade, and also unlock tonnes of Playstation Home content.
There's really not much else to say about Namco Museum Essentials. It very much is what its title suggests: a collection of quality Namco arcade games, presented on the Playstation 3. The inclusion of the Stamps system, aswell as integration of leader-boards brings the classics into the 21st-century - but their value will all depend on your fondness for the games on offer.
Some people will get 10 minutes nostalgia out of this. Some people will get their first-taste of classic Namco. Others will spend fifty hours trying to best their score in Galaga. And thus it's really hard to put a value on such differing opinion - but honestly, for sub-£10, it's worth the chance.