14 years ago, Nintendo EAD made a Pac-Man game. This unique take on the formula was developed by Toru Iwatani and Shigeru Miyamoto and distributed in the most unusual ways. In order to properly play, people needed a GameCube and Game Boy Advance system so one person could be Pac-Man and the other three could be ghosts. It’s due to this that people may not have been able to properly play it, even after it was released as part of Namco Museum DS. Namco Museum on the Switch fixes any issue and makes it possible for people to appreciate and play it the way everyone intended.
In case people somehow missed Pac-Man Vs., which is entirely possible, here’s how it works. One person controls Pac-Man. In Namco Museum, this is one person on one Nintendo Switch. The other one to three people control ghosts, with AI taking care of one or two ghosts, depending on how many people are around. Pac-Man is trying to collect all the pellets, eat ghosts whenever possible, and collect fruit. The person playing as him can see the whole field. The other three people are trying to catch Pac-Man, but have a limited view on the other Nintendo Switch or TV screen. They need to communicate, peek at their allies’ windows, and collect fruit before Pac-Man to temporarily increase their field of vision.
Now, first I think people need to really appreciate how rare Pac-Man Vs. was. In Japan, it was a Club Nintendo reward. In other regions, it was packed in with Pac-Man World 2 Player’s Choice Edition, I-Ninja, and R: Racing for the GameCube. You needed a Game Boy Advance and link cable to play. Even if you buy Namco Museum DS, you aren’t getting the “real” version of the game. The Nintendo DS port does not have the same stages as the GameCube version. It had no announcer, even though Mario performs that service in the GameCube and Nintendo Switch iterations. It displays differently as well.
Now in Namco Museum, everyone has easy access to it on the Nintendo Switch. It is easy to play on the console, whether you are doing so alone or with friends. It is crisp and clear. We have the Original Pac-Man, Panic Pier, Frantic Forest, R.I.P. Park, Manic Manor, and Haunted Hall stages. You have Single Console and Original options, so between one and four players can come together. Charles Martinet is there as Mario. A large audience has access to it, can easily play through it, and is getting the exact same game we saw 14 years ago. It is lovely.
The free Pac-Man Vs. Free Multiplayer-Only Ver. app makes it even better. It allows people to enjoy this game with only one copy of Namco Museum. It is a small, free download that allows anyone else with a Nintendo Switch to participate in Pac-Man Vs. Everyone can share in the fun. It certainly makes multiplayer easier than the other systems. GameCube owners had to also have someone with a Game Boy Advance and link cable. Nintendo DS owners needed a system for each person. Here, you only need one Nintendo Switch for three people and two for four.
If there is one thing that makes Namco Museum special, it’s giving more people access to a Pac-Man rarity. Pac-Man Vs. is an extraordinary and special game. Here, we have easy access to it. It is fun to play. You can easily have three people working together, and getting four together is much less complicated. Most important, this is the truest version of the game. The Nintendo DS port had to make some compromises. There are none here. It’s a near exact recreation of the GameCube original, and that is a lovely thing.
Namco Museum is available for the Nintendo Switch.