Tag Archives: Namco

Evercade A to Z: Pac-Attack

Pac-Attack is an unusual and highly memorable puzzler from Namco with a bit of an interesting history!

Those of you who listened to our end-of-2020 podcast episode will also recall that Chris declared it his Game of the Year 2020, despite the fact it released in 1993. Our recent discovery of it is all thanks to the little wonder-machine that is the Evercade — and you can enjoy it too as part of the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the system.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Dig Dug: Diggin’ Dirty

One of the interesting things about fully exploring retro gaming is discovering the subtle differences between different versions of a game.

Back in the early to mid ’80s, there were sometimes quite significant differences between the various platforms’ take on an established game. This was due to a combination of factors: most frequently it was down to the technical limitations of the host platforms, but sometimes it was due to the programmers responsible for the ports not having all of the resources they needed, and consequently having to do the coder’s equivalent of holding things together with sticky tape.

Namco’s port of its classic arcade title Dig Dug for the Famicom — easily accessible today as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform — is a good example of (probably) the former. Either way, it’s a distinctive version of Dig Dug that is well worth playing, even if you’re well familiar with the arcade original!

Continue reading Dig Dug: Diggin’ Dirty

Evercade A to Z: Galaxian

Do you like to shoot, but also to think? Then you should give Namco’s Galaxian a shot (no pun intended) — it’s a game where attempting to go in all guns blazing will quickly end in failure.

The Famicom version, seen here as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade, is a great adaptation of the arcade classic with pretty authentic sound and visuals — and a very authentic challenge factor!

Witness my intergalactic incompetence in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter

For quite some time — particularly during the crossover from the 8-bit to 16-bit home computer and console eras — shoot ’em ups were regarded as the “dumb” side of gaming; critics often thought we could “do better”.

These days, of course, the more discerning gamers among us will, of course, be able to recognise that 1) there are a wide variety of different types of shoot ’em up out there, many of which are intricately designed works of mechanical artistry, and 2) they’re absolutely not as mindless as some people might like to make them out to be. And, moreover, they haven’t been for a long time.

Not sure about that? Look back on Namco’s Galaxian, originally released to arcades in 1979 and ported to a wide variety of platforms over the following years. The version we’re primarily concerned with today is the Famicom version from 1984, which you can now enjoy worldwide as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

Continue reading Galaxian: The Thinking Man’s Fixed Shooter

Evercade A to Z: Dig Dug II

Everyone knows and loves Namco’s Dig Dug — it’s an all-time classic of arcade gaming’s golden age. But not so many people know about Dig Dug’s official sequel.

This is partly due to the fact that it didn’t leave Japan until pretty late in the 8-bit home console era, several years after its original launch — and as such, it got rather overshadowed by most of its contemporaries.

Now, though, we can enjoy it in all its glory on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. Take a look in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

short;Play: Star Ixiom

You may recall that recently I enthused about Namco’s Star Luster, a Famicom space sim that finally got a Western release on the Evercade retro gaming platform. There’s a video, too.

Well, today we’re looking at the official sequel to Star Luster. It took a very long time to show up, being a title for the original PlayStation, but it was most certainly worth the wait. Star Ixiom brings us strategy and action that remains true to the original Star Luster’s format, while incorporating plenty of Namco fanservice from the UGSF series. You can read more about it here.

Enjoy the space combat action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Star Ixiom: Still Shining

Let’s take a moment to catch up. Star Luster is a space combat game by Namco, originally released for Famicom in 1985. Despite it being an obvious homage to an incredibly popular Western game — Atari’s Star Raiders — it never came West.

35 years later, Star Luster finally got a worldwide release as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1 cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system. This was my first contact with a game that I ended up absolutely loving — and after looking into it further, I was surprised to discover it got a sequel for PlayStation in 1999. A sequel which got a fairly middling reception because the press of the time compared it unfavourably to its rough contemporary Colony Wars — and, of course, because relatively few people in the West had any clue that Star Luster existed.

35 years after the release of Star Luster and 21 years after the release of its sequel, I find myself in possession of a copy of that sequel: Star Ixiom, a game I’ve been looking forward to playing since I was first blown away by Star Luster’s sheer playability. So let’s take a look at what this space-based blastathon has to offer — and how well it holds up today.

Continue reading Star Ixiom: Still Shining

Evercade A to Z: Star Luster

Given the popularity of Atari’s Star Raiders, it’s surprising that Namco never brought Star Luster, its own take on the early days of the space sim genre, to Western NES owners.

Thankfully, we can now enjoy it officially outside of Japan thanks to its release as part of Namco Museum Collection 1cartridge 02 in the Evercade collection. And good Lord have I ever been enjoying this game; it’s absolutely one of my favourites from the Evercade’s launch lineup, and a game I feel it’s a real shame more people don’t know about.

With that in mind, then, I’m doing my bit! Check out Star Luster in action in the video below — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

The shoot ’em up genre is, it’s fair to say, fairly dominated by spaceships. It makes sense — a sci-fi tale allows for pretty much unbridled creativity, taking the player on a journey through the stars into the great unknown, battling off hordes of unimaginable horrors from many light years away.

But the fantasy genre is ripe for exploiting in this way, too; much like the more outlandish side of sci-fi, a lot of fantasy has never seemed too concerned with respecting the usual laws of physics, time and space. And as such there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have just as satisfying a time blasting our way through a fantasy tale as we could if we were behind the controls of some sort of comically overpowered spaceship.

Namco evidently felt this way back in 1987 when they released the fantasy-themed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up Dragon Spirit to the arcades. And then they remembered it was still a very good idea a couple of years later when they released quasi-sequel Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for Famicom in 1989, with a North American NES version following in 1990. And this 8-bit home console version can now be enjoyed by a whole new audience today, thanks to its inclusion on the Namco Museum Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system. So let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Dragon Spirit: The New Legend – In Case of Emergency, Use Dragon

Atari ST A to Z: Xevious

It’s dangerous, it’s devious… it’s Xevious! Again. This time for the Atari ST, after we’ve previously seen the Atari 8-bit and Evercade versions.

The Atari ST port of Namco’s classic, genre-defining vertical scroller was handled by Probe, a company whose output varied enormously from game to game. As it happens, their version of Xevious was a very solid port of the game… it was just a bit late. All right, a lot late. But at least it showed up eventually!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z