Namco Museum Encore
Having run out of letters to stick on the front of their packaging with all the Namco Museum discs released already, the Japanese entertainment giant has decided to squeeze the last few yen from its back catalogue with Namco Encore. Although the idea, as always, is to sell you famous coin-op gems from the past that you fell in love with down the arcade, in reality what you get on Encore is six games you’ve never heard of – and the totally sensational Rolling Thunder!
The other supposedly classic titles in the collection range from the amusing novelty to the unplayable and eccentric. On the plus side there is the devilishly addictive Dragon Saber, that is extremely close to vertical shoot-’em-up 1942, except that in this your dragon grows extra heads to fire the multi-shot weapons!
On the awful side is the bizarre game named in unreadable Japanese, where you play a girlwho can only kick, jump and transform into some kind of Power Ranger.Odd for a game developed ten years ago! Theworst part of this one is that the entire thing takes place on a theatrical stage so you can only scroll a few meters to either sidewhilst kicking the bad guys. Youwon’t load this again.
King & Balloon is a very simple but compelling Space Invaders game with the twist being that the rows of invaders are little hot air balloons which attempt to swoop down and steal the King you’re meant to be protecting.
The remaining games (Motos, Rompers and SkyKid) offer a short period of amusement but the problem here is that ancient games only seem fantastic if you know them from the old days. Any of these that were actually released over here certainly were not hits, so you have to ask yourself: can I warrant £70 for arcade perfect Rolling Thunder? The sad answer for most of us weeping RT aficionados here is yes, but these are admittedly extreme cases. Still extremely playable and challenging 11 years on, walking around in flares, grasping your trusty automatic and blasting hooded thugs is retro bliss. At the very least, this game warrants considering Namco Encore when it is officially released over here.