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Namco

Gw

Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 9.0 Amazing
Your Score

 A must-buy for anyone who loves video games.

 

There's a new way to enjoy your favorite classic video games and it's called JAKKS TV Games.  TV Games are small, compact, standalone units that combine the brains of a console with the brawns a game controller.  When these two lovebirds mate, they create arcade-themed joysticks that have all the video game circuitry locked inside.  No need to get out that old and dusty Atari system -- not when you could be playing the smaller and lighter Atari Paddles TV Games.

 

Up until now my experiences with the Namco TV Games had been very brief.  We'd stare at each other from afar, looking deeply into each other's eyes.  I pondered the thought of an affair, but I wasn't sure I could do that to my PlayStation 2.  My relationship with GameCube was blossoming, and the distance that I felt with Xbox was finally depleting.  Could I really do that to them, could I really abandon them...for another gaming unit?

 

Then one thing led to another, and before I knew it was playing it.  I played it for hours, not stopping for any reason.  We knew it was bad, we knew it was wrong, but we didn't care!  Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, Galaxian, Rally-X and Bosconian – how could I resist the temptation?

 

Hardware

 

Namco TV Games is built around excellent hardware.  The unit looks so small that you might not expect it to be sturdy, or to match the feel of the arcade version.  Play any one of the five included games and you'll prove yourself wrong.  Arcade joysticks have a slightly higher amount of resistance (because they have to take a beating from punks who don't value arcade machines).  Other than that you won't find any difference between the joystick that the arcade units use and the one designed for Namco TV Games.

 

I wouldn't recommend bashing the unit when you lose, but normal use – even the frantic, move-as-quickly-as-you-can movements required for the latter levels of Pac-Man – will not harm the joystick.  I've been playing Namco TV Games heavily for nearly two weeks now.  I've shared it with my friends and family, some of whom do not treat video games with the same care that I do, but I haven't experienced a single problem.

 

 

Screen Shot for Namco® TV Games

Digging is fun.  So is dugging!

 

 

That brings to mind another point: battery life.  Namco TV Games -- as well as the other JAKKS TV Games on the market -- does not use an AC adaptor as normal consoles do.  It uses four AA batteries, which fit right underneath the unit.  Normally I am not too thrilled about using batteries for a game console that doesn't have its own screen.  However, the battery life is really, really long.  By not having an AC adaptor, you only need one power outlet.  So if you have a TV in your car, all you need to do is plug in Namco TV Games and play.  Just be sure to park the car (or convince someone else to drive) before you do.

 

Games

 

Namco TV Games features some of my favorite Namco games (Pac-Man and Dig-Dug), as well as one I didn't know I loved (Bosconian).

 

Bosconian: 9

 

Bosconian could be thought of as an evolved form of the Atari classic, Asteroids.  You can move in all directions, and when you reach the out of bounds area, your ship automatically comes through the opposite side.

 

Only four enemies are prepared to stop you from saving the galaxy, but they've been using that cloning device Senator Palpatine borrowed in Star Wars, so you'll have hundreds of ships to obliterate.

 

The toughest ships are the mother ships.  They're big (about seven times the size of your ship), they're stationary, and they only have two vulnerable areas.  You can take out each of their six cannons to destroy these ships, or you can go for the vulnerable area and wait for the ship to open its eye.

 

While you're doing this you have to worry about the other mother ships in the area, which can attack and kill you very quickly.  You have to worry about asteroids and other space hazards, as well as the dozens of enemies who wish to see you die.  If you get a "red alert" message, that means that enemies will repeatedly attack until all of the mother ships in the area are destroyed.

 

Destroying the mother ships is the only way to pass each level.  It's also the only way you'll earn enough points to gain an extra life (very, VERY important!!).  Awesome, innovative, and very addictive.

 

Dig-Dug: 8.5

 

This is one of those, "Aw crap, I almost had him!" kinds of games.

 

Although I can't be certain, I've always thought that Dig-Dug's weapon was an air gun (which would explain why the enemies expand before they die).  Whatever it is, I've never gotten tired of Dig-Dug's simple gameplay.  Only one button is used, and the playing field isn't even an entire screen.  But the challenge is right up there with all the classic games from the early 80s.

 

Dig-Dug holds a special place in many adult gamers' hearts, though I'm certain that young gamers will be just as entertained by it.  Kids love the sand-digging level in Super Mario Bros. 2 (known as Super Mario Advance 1 on the GBA).  Nintendo is a brilliant innovator, but that level would never have been made if Dig-Dug did not exist.

 

Galaxian: 8

 

Fun and challenging, Galaxian is the slower, less-popular relative of the Galaga family.  The ships are smaller and in greater abundance, and the slow speed makes it harder to react to their attacks.

 

My favorite feature is and always has been the placement of the ammunition.  It sits right on top of the ship, and if you line it up just right, you can kill an on-coming enemy without having to fire!  Risky, but cool.

 

Rally-X: 8.5

 

As a maze racing game, Rally-X is extremely entertaining.  I love the strategy that's involved with gassing your opponents.  You'll run around in circles and try to learn the maze layout as quickly asp possible, only to have to memorize a new one when the next level comes.  That, of course, is half the fun.  You're always on the run in this game, and that's why it's still a classic at a time when video games are approaching movie-quality graphics.

 

Pac-Man: 9

 

The arcade classic from more than two decades ago.  It needs no description – if you haven't played or seen it, clearly my explanation of "ghosts chasing a yellow pizza" are not going to suffice.

 

 

Screen Shot for Namco® TV Games

Unforgettable.  That’s what you are.

 

 

 

Pros:

 

  • Great game selection
  • Sturdy, reliable joystick
  • High replay value
  • Good battery life

 

Cons:

 

  • Why in the world is the action button on the left side of the joystick?  This implies that gamers control joysticks with their right hands.  We don't.  We never have, at least not in America (look at our game controllers if you want proof).  I know this emulates the original arcade machines.  I had no trouble using my left hand to hold the stick, nor did my right thumb have any trouble hitting the button.  I'm still a little baffled by the design.

 

Overall: 9

A must-buy for anyone who loves video games.  Young or old, there's no way you won't love this thing.  It's awesome as a collector's item; convenient as a piece of electronic equipment; and impossible to put down as a gaming machine.

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