Saturday, October 5, 2019

Non-Adventure Review: Pac-Man

Pac-Man is a true classic.  Pac-Man’s pizza-bodied visage is often used as an icon for gaming itself.  Everyone has probably played Pac-Man at some point in their life, but just in case you haven’t, the premise is simple.  You control a round yellow dot with no eyes and a mouth that is constantly opening and closing.  You have to navigate a maze and eat all of the round dots on the board while avoiding the four ghosts who are constantly roaming the board looking for a Pac Person to eat.  You can turn the tables on the ghosts by eating one of the four large dots. This causes the ghosts to temporarily turn blue.  Now, the ghosts run away from you and you are able to eat them before the large dot’s effects wear off.
In the original Pac-Man, many of the enhancements that Ms. Pac-Man brought to the table are not present.  The layout of the mazes never change, and the food items that you can eat in each stage after collecting a certain amount of points always remain at the center of the maze. 
The next sections relate to the Xbox 360 version, so if you’re not interested in that, skip to the final verdict at the end of this review.
All of Pac-Man’s addictiveness is in the Xbox 360 version.  Arcade purists will be happy to know that this is the true arcade version of Pac-Man. All of the tricks that can be pulled off in the arcade version can be pulled off here. For people who love Pac-Man but aren’t too good at it, you’ll be happy to know that the game allows you to start from any stage in the game after you complete it once. Arcade purists may not like the fact that this version has unlimited continues, but there were versions of Pac-Man in the arcades that had unlimited continues as well. In the Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Class of 1981 arcade game, Pac-Man can be unlocked by entering up, up ,up, down, down, down, left, right, left, right, left at the game selection screen and then choosing Ms. Pac-Man after hearing a series of dings letting the player know the code was inserted correctly. This version allows unlimited continues as well, the only difference is you have to enter a quarter every time you wish to continue. 
On the subject of achievements, Pac-Man has plenty. Each fruit (or item in the later mazes) gives you another achievement. If you go for all of them, you will be able to see each of the game’s cutscenes, which were one of the main draws of the game in the arcades when it first came out. The cutscene music is so catchy, it’s sure to stay in your head for quite some time. There are only three cutscenes in the original Pac-Man, and they all show the come-uppance of the ghosts in various humorous ways. There are three achievements that are a little more challenging. One requires you to eat all four ghosts in the stage, while the other, harder, achievement requires you to eat all four ghosts all four times in one stage. The latter is quite hard, and all but the most diehard Pac-Man fan should find this one a challenge. The other difficult challenge requires you to get to level 21. After you get to a certain point in the game, the large dots no longer turn the ghosts blue, and the ghosts merely turn around when you eat it. Thankfully the continue feature is there for those of us without super pac-prowess, so it’s not an impossible task.
In the end, the decision of whether to buy Pac-Man rests on how much you like the arcade game. Though, if that purchase is around roughly $5 US, I’d say it’s worth the purchase even if you are a casual fan of the game.
Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

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