Review by Dark Hunter

Reviewed: 03/08/03 | Updated: 03/09/03

Classic

Back in the day when graphics meant nothing, a simple arcade game entitled Pac-Man was released. It was a vicious coin-drainer that nobody stopped playing until their pockets were empty. Even now, two decades after its release, I still play it and enjoy it. It’s amazing how it combines simplicity, challenge, addictiveness, and a bit of strategy; four elements that mix to make a superb title, which is certainly a mark of video gaming history.

Simplicity is the first element; you’re a yellow ball-like thingy with the quest of eating all dots in a maze (each one gives you 10 points). Chasing you are four horrifying ghosts; you’ll be scared to death when you know that one of them is called Pinky. But they aren’t fans of your sexy figure, instead; they want to have you for dinner. Still, there are four big and yummy dots in each quarter of the maze (power-ups), try one of them and…

“I’ve got the power!”

Ha ha, the roles have changed; for a short period of time, you’re allowed to eat the ghosts for some big score boosts. Once eaten, they re-spawn in the middle (Because they’re ghosts, duh).

Moreover, and this is where strategy kicks in, you can take advantage of the maze to lose your trackers. For example, a path connects the left of the screen with the right, but what makes it the ultimate escape route is that the ghosts slow down in it, very useful. Also, you can stop and see where your pursuers go and take an alternative path. All this is made easier by the fact that…

Controlling Pac is as easy as reading this review (i.e. very easy). The stick is used to move around, and the buttons are abandoned except the ‘Start’ button, which is never used after starting the game. All this means that everyone from ages two through ninety, and their mothers, can play this coin-eater.

But not everyone can master it.

Yes, a greatly suitable challenge is maintained throughout the game. First, it’s a challenge of shaking off your followers without losing focus, because one mistake might cost you one of three precious lives (There’s no ‘continue’ feature). As the game progresses, the ghosts move faster, and the power-ups last shorter. Add to that the task of earning enough score to gain extra lives, and you end with moments like these:

“Damn! I was so close to the power-up! Argh!”

“****! Three dots left, only three dots!”

“What the hell?! Another 50 points, and I would gain a life, damn it!”

At these moments, you’ll feel like kicking the machine’s ass (If it has one), smashing its screen, and pouring soda in what’s left of it. But you won’t be able to stand the feeling that you lost after you had been so close to winning, so you’ll insert another coin. Until you discover, after a ‘seemingly’ short while, that you’re out of money. Then, be my guest and smash the arcade in the face.

But I warn you: You will regret it.

Rating: 10

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