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Pacman Museum Review


Pac-Man Museum is a trip down memory lane covering many things Pac-Man which is full of classics, ill-advised sequels and a few I have never heard of.

First up we have Pac-Man, the 1980's classic where you guide your little yellow Pac-Man around a blue neon maze, chomping pellets and eating fruit whilst dodging the four ghosts that also wander around the maze. To give you a chance against the ghosts and also assist in gaining an even higher high score Pac-Man can also eat Power Pellets that turn all of the ghosts blue, allowing him to chomp them in safety, sending them back to their ghost house in the middle of the screen. Not much more can be said about Pac-Man, a character as recognisable as Mario and Sonic and a game that is timeless in its simplicity and addictive nature.

Due to the massive popularity of the Pac-Man arcade cabinet there were plenty of sequels and side projects trying to harness on the fame. Next on the list is Super Pac-Man, tinkering quite a bit with the formula. Still based around a one screen maze which is inhabited by ghosts, this time around Pac-Man needs to eat all of the fruit dotted around, though some areas of the maze are locked away. There are two ways to get to these out of reach pieces of fruit, either by picking up keys that open doors or by eating a power pellet, which then turns our yellow chomping orb into a huge Super Pac-Man, becoming invincible and also able to eat the doors that block the fruits.



Pac and Pal is a strange beast, an early attempt at bringing other well-known titles under one arcade cabinet like we have now with PS All-stars and the Sonic and Friends titles, though Pac and Pal is not as well executed. Using the classic maze layout, certain parts of the maze are blocked off, requiring you to collect cards that unlock specific areas that hide powerups and fruit. The powerups are linked to other Namco games, like the Galaxian boss that fires a beam, Rally-X drops a smokescreen or a trumpet that shoots musical notes. Alongside the ghosts you also now have Miru the green ghost, who will also collect the powerups and carry them to ghost base, neutralizing them, however unlike the other ghosts though you are able to touch Miru, which in turn steals the powerup back.

Pac-Land is one of those games that even if you saw it on an arcade, the 10p credit would seem too steep. Moving away from the top down maze view and into a side scrolling jumping game, Pac-Man dons a feathered cap and runs from left to right, jumping over ghosts, cacti and other underwhelming hazards. The reason for the fancy feathered hat is that Pac-Man has to escort the fairy that is hiding under his cap to Fairyland, which when done you are sent back on your way. The overly cheerful look on Pac-Man’s face, the graphics tearing into one another and floaty controls makes this one not worth dusting off.

Pac-Mania returns to Pac-Man’s pellet chomping roots, but this time with a 3D isometric view, which in turn gives both our hero and the ghosts a lovely visual upgrade. Though the 3D world does take away the one screen maze view, making it a little harder to watch all of the ghosts Pac-Man also now comes packed with a jump, with well-timed leaps avoiding the ghosts.

Though many games copied Pac-Man’s ideas, our yellow pal was also known to borrow from other popular titles. Pac-Attack is a clever take on the popular puzzlers of the time like Tetris and Columns, where various shaped blocks slide down the screen leaving you to change the orientation to make them sit snuggly in a row, with completed rows earning points as they disappear. This all sounds familiar however in Pac-Attack, ghosts also appear mixed in with the blocks, with the only way to remove these obstacles is when Pac-Man appears, who will run along any pathway created by gaps and the now blue ghosts, eating them along the way and earning bonus points.



Pac-Man Arrangement is a strangly titled game that feels a lot like Pac-Mania, presented with 3D visuals but returning to the one screen maze thanks to widescreen. Once again munching pellets and power pellets whilst avoiding ghosts, the mazes change after each level, adding more variety to the game, with new environments adding new powerups like dashes and jumps and even warp gates and bridges to contend with.

Pac-Man Championship Edition is a return to form and a more modern update of the classic, harnessing the high score addiction of the original and ramping up the speed and finally there is Pac-Man Battle Royale, a multiplayer update of Championship Edition, though this time you are playing directly against three other players or computer controller Pac-Men, trying to grab powerups and eat each other.

Like most classic collections there is an assortment of extras not found elsewhere in the games original format and with Pac-Man Museum you get a trophy room, full to the brim with various 3D models to view at your pleasure as and when you unlock them via in game achievements. Each game also comes with a variety of options you can play with that emulate the DIP switches from the arcades, adjusting how many lives you start with, what score you earn an extra life and also a level select.

Overall Pac-Man Museum offers a good snapshot of the Pac-Man games and is worth a download if you have not had the chance in the past. For the Pac-Man aficionado though, looking through the list of games you may notice a few titles missing with the likes of Pac-Man Land being a no show, though Ms Pac-Man is advertised as a free download until the end of March; Pac-Man Museum does seem to focus more on the popular arcade cabinet versions rather than the numerous console and side projects that Namco have released over the years.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

+ A snapshot of some of the highlights of Pac-Man’s illustrious career.
+ Variety of highscore action and puzzle games.

Cons

- Pac-Land is just terrible.

Edited On 28 Feb, 2014

Comments
3
Joe where are the all important review scores ;)?
JoeToots 8 months ago
Namco need to rerelease Pacman Vs instead, all consoles have the option of remote play for Pacman now so it's viable.
Gloria 8 months ago
the lack of a pac man adventure remake saddens me. loved that game as a kid.
Im Going Space 8 months ago
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