Outside of Nintendo, Namco may be the longest running video game company that still regularly supports the original games that put them on the map. At least once a year gamers are treated to remakes or rereleases featuring the likes of coin-op classics like "Dig Dug" or "Rally-X." However, for their latest 3DS rereleases, Namco dipped into two of their most famous wells with "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions," for a dual-headlining compilation.
Collecting different versions of two of Namco's most time-tested franchises, "Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions" features six unique games, three based on each title. The original old school classics "Pac-Man" and "Galaga" are both here, with some slight 3D upgrades, as well as their modern-day classic counterparts "Championship Edition" and "Legions." In addition to those four, already released games, "Dimensions" also features two new titles, "Pac-Man Tilt" and "Galaga 3D Impact" each of which take advantage of some of the 3DS' new tech, alongside one of the most unusual videos staring Pac-Man ever created.
Expanding On The Compilation Conundrum
Although "Pac-Man C.E." already has a portable version on the market, seeing that alongside the terrific "Galaga Legions" make for a great start to this compilation. Including the originals of both games seems like a no-brainer, leaving the remaining two games as homes for originality in "Dimensions." A little old, a little new, and a little in between make for a really diverse collection of games, each offering a new take on these two classic games.
Worth Sliding That 3D Slider
While the original Pac-Man game that's included, "Pac-Man Tilt," doesn’t actually include 3D during its gameplay, all five of the other titles include varying degrees of the third dimension. The on rails shooter gameplay of "Galaga 3D Impact" seems to be the most straight forward inclusion of it, whereas the two classic titles use not to augment the gameplay, but to recreate the feeling of playing in an arcade cabinet. Turn the 3D on during a run through of "Pac-Man" and the screen will simulate the tilt of a stand-up or sit-down arcade machine, just like the ones back in the 80s.
Tilting The Pizza
Pac-man fans may be a little surprised to see their favorite 30 year-old character running around in "Pac-Man Tilt," an accelerometer controlled, 2D, side-scrolling game. This is the newest addition to the Pac franchise and, while he tends to be Namco's guinea pig for new ideas (just look at his early DS releases), the tilt functionality seems like it would be a bit more at home on the iPhone. Additionally, the main gameplay doesn't include a 3D option, mostly because the tilting would cause the screen to go out of focus. While there is a little bit of fun to be had here, swinging the 3DS back and forth like a metronome tends to get old (and a little embarrassing when you're doing it on the subway), after a while.
For some reason, Namco seems to think it prudent to include a 3D video alongside the games included in the collection. Instead of a nice little bonus, it's one of the most confusing things ever created. Featured prominently in the main menu, the "Pac-Man 30th Anniversary Special Video" may be the absolute worst thing ever to be associated with the pizza-shaped gaming icon. Sure, it looks good in 3D, but it attempts to do something completely unnecessary; explain the origins of "Pac-Man." It's just painful to watch.
Few gamers will dispute the importance or enjoyment that the classic "Pac-Man" and "Galaga" games offer, however, this re-release seems unnecessary, especially for the full price of a 3DS game. The two new games included are relatively enjoyable, but the four other games that are featured have better versions available on other consoles. If you're a diehard "Pac" or "Galaga" fan you were going to pick this up anyway, but everyone should probably stay away.