Perfect Conversion

Namco 5-in-1 Joystick review

Namco 5-in-1 plug and play joystick review

I love Namco. After Sega they're my favourite publisher / developer, which is strange seeing as how they're often competing with Sega. Daytona vs Ridge racer, Tekken vs Virtua Fighter, etc and now they've gone and made me love them even more by releasing (in collaboration with JAKKS Pacific) the a Plug & Play TV games controller.

Namco 5-in-1

As you might have guessed by the pictures, the Plug and play controller is pretty much an arcade stick with a button in a box. The control is battery powered (4x "AA") and has video and audio RCA leads trailing out the bottom that connect to the TV. On this, the first of 2 NAMCO controllers released the games are: Pac-Man, Galaxian, Rally-X, DigDug and Bosconian, all pretty close to the arcade originals bar some missing sounds and a couple of other small things that only the purists will even notice.

One of the reasons I bought the 5-in-1 was because these were 5 games that I hadnt really spent a lot of time with apart from a quick play of their poorer 8-bit ports, and even then it was only DigDug and Galaxian.
Im pleased to report that all 5 games are exceptionally entertaining, and your bound to get hooked on at least one of them- for me it was Bosconian, but for my younger cousins it was DigDug that they couldnt get enough of (for the record they're heaps better than me at DigDug).


There was one thing that got to me though- closure. I need it.
Let me explain; having grown up on home consoles such as the Master system, I never really got into the whole "play for high score" thing. Dont get me wrong, the 5-in-1 games are great fun, but dont expect to get to the end of them very quickly (if they even have a finish). I found that while playing Bosconian it wasnt hard to progress through the levels once you got in a groove, but the repetition starts to get to you after a while and you feel like playing something else. This isnt so much a complaint of the games, but more a factor that arises when any old arcade game is ported to a home console.
Its good to know that if you do whip up the courage for a monster Bosconian session that the stick will hold up to any punishment you can dish out because this thing is made tough, and when loaded with batteries has a decent weight to it too. The stick itself is only 4-way to suit the games, and though this takes a bit of getting used to if your used to 8-way console sticks it does make sense when you remember that you can only move 4 ways in the games (no diagonal). On the Left of the stick is a single button that has a good click to it, though depending on how you hold the controller the small ridge on the side might give you a slight irritation after a while.

All in all I've found the Namco 5-in-1 to be good value for the $19.95 Au that I paid for it during the Christmas 2004 period, however for the regular RRP of $29.95 its only "ok value". Way better value than the awful Namco classics on Dreamcast was..
As a side note: the manual recommends against using rechargable batteries, and my experience with NiMH batteries sometimes gave glitches in Rally X but not the other games.

Final Verdict: 8 'wakka wakkas' out of 10

Reviewed by Shaun "rolling thunder" Smith

namco 5in1


--Shaz-- DESIGN 2006