Review by UltimaZER0
Reviewed: 07/06/01 | Updated: 07/06/01
No matter how old it gets it's still a great hit
AN EVERLASTING CLASSIC
Nowadays, whenever you hop down to your local arcade, you see people dropping in quarters for Marvel vs. Capcom, Time Crisis 2, and other big hits but no matter what new releases hit the arcades (which is dying nowadays, by the way), Pacman will always be one of the greatest.
Pacman's gameplay is very simple yet very effective. You play as Pacman, a yellow ball with a big mouth, and as this yellow wonder, your task is to gobble up all of the pellets in an enclosed rectangular maze. Sounds like a piece of cake? You're terribly wrong. To make things more interesting, four individual ghosts enter the maze one by one, each one trying to take a piece of you. Your only defense is to gobble large pellets laced all over the maze. Once you snack on one, you temporarily possess enough power to chomp off the bodies of the ghosts, sending their spirit selves back to their home to get a new body. Should you run out of large pellets, your final plan of defense is to strategically use the two side shortcuts located on the left and right sides of the maze.
Think that's all there is to it? Like most classics, the levels get tougher and tougher but the interesting part is that each of the ghosts are programmed with different personalities. This is where the game gets tricky: while three of the ghosts usually tend to go towards you, the dumb one (I believe his name is Blinky) often doesn't go with the rest of the group and instead goes off his own way. While it doesn't sound like a bad thing, the dumb twit will often get in your way as you attempt to evade all four of them. Very impressive for such old technology!
Okay. So it's unfair to compare these graphics to today's standards but you do have to admit that the graphics were pretty decent for those times. Colors were no problem. Each ghost had distinguishable colors so you knew the personality of each ghost and how they worked. The only real flaw is that once you grab a large pellet, all of the ghosts turn blue so if you were planning on chomping the dumb ghost, you may lose track of him once you grab a large pellet.
Pacman's controls couldn't get any simpler than this. All you do is move the yellow guy around and he automatically chomps whatever is in his path. No learning curve right there. The only problem with the control is that Pacman doesn't stop moving. While such a game as this requires you to be moving at all times, you'll sometimes wish that he could stop moving for just a sec.
Okay so there isn't a big load of sound effects in the game but you do have to admit that the sounds fit the game fine and aren't annoying. After several levels of the same chomping noises and whatnot, you don't get sick of it. Plus the tune played at the start of the game is really funky!
For such a simple game, it's a lot of fun to play. Levels get harder but with the right strategies you can quickly snag all of the pellets to make up for the shortened length of the large pellet power-ups. Plus it never gets old and you can challenge your friends to see who can get the higher score (which is how most classic arcade games are). Too bad the game locks up and freezes when you clear out the last board but hey, you'll need either a lot of skill or a miracle to get there anyway.
As mentioned earlier, classics such as Pacman never get old. It's a lot of fun despite its minor flaws. Stop by your arcade and give this one a try just for old time's sake. Believe me, you'll be hooked once you give it a try.
BUY OR RENT
Well this shouldn't apply to the average gamer but if you ever get the chance, try to buy the original Pacman arcade. Not only is it fun, you'll be proud knowing that you have a great classic arcade machine sitting in the middle of your living room. And besides, how expensive can an old 2-bit video game possibly cost? Just be careful and keep an eye out for ripoff salesmen who like sell you severely damaged machines.
If you can't find a decent Pacman machine, however, you can head out and buy Namco Museum. Not only do you get Pacman, you also get Ms. Pacman, Dig Dug, Galaxia, Galaga, and Pole Position to go along with it. The great news is that you can find it on the PlayStation, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and the Game Boy Advance. The only drawback from buying it this way is that it's a little expensive considering that the games are classics.
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