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Toy Pop (Namco Museum Vol 1 PS1)

Although it’s not really a Christmas themed game, the toy and presents kind of give off that holiday vibe of parents buying their spoiled ass kids toys or something of that sort. Either way, it’s a cute game to play to get yourself into the holiday mood and it’s not all that bad either for a Namco arcade game.

Granted, this isn’t going to top anything like Xevious, Dig Dug, or Tower of Druaga but it’s just as easy to pick up and play this game. The goal is pretty simple, you navigate a bunch of maze like rooms with presents and your goal is to find some hearts in order to open the door to the next level. You shoot what I assume are little blue tires/snowballs at these presents to open them up or to defend yourself against homicidal killer toy soldiers, wind up cars, tanks, robots, and more so. The game is pretty lenient in that you can get hit twice before you lose a life. It’s not exactly a cake walk to beat this game though as is the case with most arcade games of the time. Sometimes you can get this bomb powerup that allows you to throw bombs like it’s “The Troubles” and rekt some shit on some enemies and presents. Watch out for IED rigged present boxes though since they have a pretty large blast radius. There are some other powerups too like a tornado one and so on. Eventually you get to a bonus round (assuming you are lucky enough to survive the onslaught of the first couple of levels) where you switch from a top down to a side scroller and have to collect falling apples.

While you can play the game by yourself, I think the game might be more fun with another player as this arcade game has a co-op feature where you can work together with another player (and competitively score wise) to beat the game. The game can get pretty hectic so getting to experience that with someone else will really make the experience a whole lot better in my opinion. Oh and the music is really catchy too. It has that ragtime thing going with like with most Namco arcade themes.

I am not sure if you can emulate the arcade port on something like MAME but the way I played this game back in the day was on Namco Museum Vol 1 on the original Playstation. A collection/virtual museum of various Namco arcade games which are emulated reasonably well. The virtual museum aspect alone is well worth owning this or any of the other Namco Museum volumes.

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