When the PSP was first announced most would have expected high quality, graphically intense games and for the most part that's what we've got. However, there is also a market out there for older games that are perfect for short trips. Namco Battle Collection focuses on this by bringing some of the most famous games in the world to the handheld unit, and this is no cash in. In fact this is one of the most perfect games for the PSP released yet.
Namco's collection is made up of some games which truly defined gaming in the eighties and still have quite a following today. Ranging from Pacman through to Galaga, even the younger generation of gamers will find something to like here. Especially considering some of the games have been remixed in an 'arranged' format combining old school gaming with modern gaming and culture, a popular option with budding DJ's of today.
This game continues to innovate and be synonymous with old school and modern gaming even today. Basically you control a little yellow face (pac man) and have to pick up pellets while avoiding enemies. The tables can be turned if you eat a power pellet and you can then eat the enemies. In terms of changes for the PSP the original is here in all its glory if you wish to play it, but there is also an arranged version which changes some of the game options and rules. For instance in the third level speed arrows are added and moving through these can help you kill enemies without eating pellets. Overall the game is still as fun as it was when it first came out and will be one of the more popular in this compilation.
Galaga is an interesting one as it seems to be a sort of pseudo 1942-Space invaders combination. You fly through space shooting craft but these craft join together to make them tougher making it feel a bit like space invaders. The arranged version has improved the graphics giving it a sort of 3D feel but other then that not much has changed.
Rally X, New Rally
Rally X is a sort of pacman clone in that you drive a small car being chased by a car while having to pick up flags. However it is a heck of a lot of fun to play. The arranged version has improved the graphics somewhat and there is two versions of the classic edition included, Rally X and New Rally X. The arranged version is based on New Rally X. The controls can be annoying with this one until you realise the DPAD is a lot easier to use than the stick.
Dig Dug is a game which tasks you with moving a little man around digging holes and dropping rocks on to enemies. However it does require some strategy because the rocks drop basically as soon as the dirt is removed around them. Running out of rocks is not an option as the entire aim of the game is to beat the enemies to move on to the next stage. The arranged version hasn't changed much other than the graphics but the new character looks rather cool so it's worth playing.
There is no arranged version of King Balloon. In the classic you are tasked with shooting balloons which are coming down to steal the king in a very space invaders like way. The difference is that if the King is caught you can shoot the balloon to rescue him. It's quite fun to play but the more famous classics will probably get more play time.
Boscnian is pretty much asteroids with a space ship that can shoot front and rear and you have to aim the ship to hit the asteroids and ships coming into hit it. Again it's probably a game that will be forgotten because of the other classic games.
We really liked Xevious even if it doesn't have an arranged edition (but should have) because of one cool feature and that is the ability to have both air and land combat. You fly a small ship but you can drop bombs on land structures shooting at you. It was probably one of the first games to introduce this mechanic and it works extremely well.
This is a very strange game and is hard to play. You take the role of a mouse trying to steal items from the cats of the neighborhood such as TV's. To do this you enter the house which has trampolines and doors to slam in cats faces. It's interesting but again not one of the game's best titles.
The Tower of Druaga
Think of a very early version of Gauntlet and you have the right idea. Taking control of a little barbarian man, you have to work you way through a maze, find the key, kill the enemies, and unlock the door all in a set period of time. Fun to play but the guy just moves too slowly to have you interested for any period of time.
As the name implies you kill dragons in this one. Despite its simplicity I really liked this game. You travel from kingdom to kingdom, entering dungeons and killing enemies for the king. You basically do this by moving left and right and slashing. Now this may sound boring but the cartoon graphics and simplicity makes it one of the better games.
Grobda is an unknown but extremely fun game to play. It reminds me a lot of the Tank Commmodore 64 games where you had to drive around shooting each other. You're placed in a small area with a number of tanks and have to eliminate them without being shot. It's a shame there is no multiplayer options for this one.
In this game a small craft and a number of balls are placed on a plane in space. You have to push the balls off the edge without being pushed off yourself which is harder than it sounds as the game progressively adds more obstacles and balls as you progress through.
This game is again simplistic but again I really like it. You take the role of a human with guns having to shoot enemies in colourful outfits. Basically you move from left to right shooting enemies and gaining weapons. Simplistic yet it works very well.
Namco Battle Collection does have its problems (like the perspective of some of the games, top down, with borders) but overall fans of Namco arcade games from the eighties will really get into this, especially the arranged versions. It's also a title that allows you to pick up the PSP, play two minutes, and turn it off without losing too much progress.