Okay, this is a little ridiculous. I'm reviewing a widely available collection of incredibly popular games for a website which is here to review games that never got their fair share of time. Regardless, being a completist, I felt that it was important to review every game on the Dreamcast. (Also, I'm going to assume for the purpose of this review that the Dreamcast is the only system that I own and that I have never played a collection of these games before.)
Namco has made some significant contributions to arcade gaming, but never more so than in the 80s. Pac-Man in particular was responsible for bringing in the huge new market of women and older people, essentially non-gamers. It is therefore a very good thing that several of Namco's most important games have been released on one disc for Dreamcast owners to relieve some nostalgia. Some of these games are still fun, while others lost their charm.
I will discuss the individual games in a second, but first I will discuss the presentation. In a word: BOOORING. The menu has the six games listed and pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man (MRS. Pac-MAN? Whatever) with the Pac-Man theme playing in the background, except a little different. Aside from the fact that this is totally dull, we only have 6 games! 1.2 gigs of data and they can only put on 6 games? Once you start a game it's just like in the arcades, except you can use a pause menu for basic functions. One thing of note is that you can actually change parameters (i.e. how many lives you get) just like someone who actually owns a machine. Beyond this, the games are pretty much arcade perfect ports.
Games 1 and 2: Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man - These games still keep their charm. I won't explain, we all know what they are about. They are still genius and there is still nothing like them. Either you like these or you don't. I like them.
Games 3 and 4: Galaga and Galaxian - I hate space invaders, but man do I love these 2 shmups (shoot-em-ups for the uninitiated). Think space invaders with enemies that attack and the ability to have ships stolen, then steal them back and have 2 shots instead of 1. They are brutally hard though. Still, they play just like in the arcades (I actually found a Galaga in an arcade last year and that was a blast. Sadly it was taken away, but we still have a Mrs. Pac-Man). This is where Ikaruga and such came from.
Game 5: Pole Position - This is where things start to suck. I'm sure this game was a blast twenty years ago but it didn't last. While the other games on this list are actually interesting in their own right, this game doesn't even relate to any newer racing games. I know it isn't fair to compare Gran Turismo 4 to an old arcade game, but there is no reason to play this game instead. It's also stupid hard. Like not fun hard. Play it once and ignore it.
Game 6: Dig Dug - Now is this game genius or what? You are a digger guy (I can't describe him any other way) and you go into the ground to fight monsters. Don't ask me why, it's just a gardening sim I guess. Anyway, you use a pump to blow them up and stuff. The level design is superb and the game is just too weird. Next to Galaga and Galaxian, this is my favourite game on the collection.
So, since I have talked a bit too long about these ancient games I will sum up right now. These games translate perfectly but the menu is boring, there aren't enough games ad Pole Position is totally unnecessary. Really, you will have to make the call on this one. If you have never played these games, pick it up on the cheap just to see what the fuss is about. Or download some maim ROMs for free. Your choice.