"Metro-Cross" has you skipping along a horizontal fast-track, moving up and down to avoid slowdown strips and hit jumps in a desperate race for the finish line. I find the strong graphic design and smooth scrolling pleasing, even if I can't seem to get past the third track. Quite similar to Excitebike really except that you've only the clock to race, and feet instead of motorbikes to race with.
"Baraduke" rules, how could you not like a game in which you steer a guy with a jetpack and a big gun as he plummets through level after level of an alien-infested base blasting everything in sight? Big fast sprites (slightly funny-looking, admittedly) and free eight-direction movement give it a great feel, the knock-back from firing your gun an odd but sorta charmingly quirky touch.
I didn't expect to like "Pac-Mania" as much as I did--the glorious psuedo 3D sprites and colors still burst out of the screen in Namco's patented reverse-rotation tate mode, just like they did when I saw it in the arcade as a kid, and I didn't remember how precise the control is, particularly the jumping. Great how you can get tricky and do back-flips over a closely-pursuing ghost.
"Legend of Valkyrie" seems like a good candidate for the costume inspiration of Mr. Driller's Norse cross-dressing in his later games and packs some fun gameplay too as you jump and slash around with your brassy heroine at large vibrant sprites with the same effortless scaling as Assault (ran on the same arcade hardware?). Collect coins from slain foes with which to purchase upgraded weapons--very satisfying cute slashing action here.
"Dragon Spirit" on the other hand is something of a let-down. You'd think a tate (even reversed) vertical shooter plus dragons would be cool but Dragon Spirit is too frustrating, with tiny, fast enemies and bullets that wouldn't be so bad if they weren't sometimes so hard to see, and the dual air->shot & ground->bomb weapon planes ala Xevious. I hated that in Xevious, and it's the same thing here.
Vertical or "tate" mode in these games, as in all the Namco Museum releases, run on a screen rotated 90 degrees clockwise rather than the industry-standard 90 degrees anticlockwise. Kind of sucks if you have a screen set up just for vertical play, as you'll have to flip it 180 degrees if you want to enjoy vertical mode on these compilations.
Legend of Valkyrie, at least two-player, is a little too busy--big, sometimes sketchily-animated sprites flying all over the place. Holding the fire button opens this odd speech-bubble menu over your head, in which, depending upon the way you face and...uh...the alignment of the stars?, you see icons depicting either yourself yelling (a bomb effect will occur) or lots of little yous (this will spawn an option who looks like a mini-you). There's a lot of jumping over bottomless pits (though with some cool scaling effects at times) and overall the action feels a little loose and sloppy.