[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s Pac-man And The Ghostly Adventures sneaks its way into the Xbox 360, Wii U, PS3 and the Nintendo 3DS on the 7th of March this year, the question comes to mind: “How many Pac-man games can Namco really pull off?”
Since its first arcade release back in 1980, when creator Toru Iwantani was inspired by a pizza he was eating, which gave him the vision of an animated pizza shaped character, it seems our yellow round friend has come a long way from the 80’s arcade machines to console gaming. I guess there is no hiding from the Ghosts: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.
For its time, Pac-man was one of the most unique and original games out there. The game itself helped game manufacturers look at arcade gaming through a different perception. With countless two dimensional fixed shooter games like Space Invaders or Asteroids that only appealed to a certain demographics, Pac-man appealed to a much wider demographic with its charm, humour and most importantly its own unique identity. The new genre Maze Chase Games was created. Many popular video games in the 80’s like Donkey Kong or Frogger partially owe their existence to the successes of Pac-man.
34 years on and still till this day Pac-man is one of the most addictive games out there. However, as next generation console advanced our graphics and gameplay, so did the blue maze and the red, pink, cyan and orange Ghosts. So let’s get down to which Pac-man game has kept its Pac charm.
Pac-Pix (2005) Nintendo DS
A mischievous magician creates a “Ghost Link” that turns any drawing into an evil and vicious ghost monster. Now with any ghost that is created with the evil ink, ends up being a pawn of the wicked magician. Both the magician and the ghost invade the books and paintings of the realms. Pac-man and the mighty “Ghost Pen” now have to save the realm from evil that has taken over by cleansing the infestation a page at a time.
Pac-Pix is certainly one of the most unique Pac-man games that I have ever played and most undeniably the only console to ever pull off such a different experience would be on the Nintendo DS. This game is undoubtedly tailored specifically for the Nintendo DS system capabilities. Using the DS stylist, your drawing will come to life and devourer anything in its path. It’s a refreshing and innovative system. By drawing the Pac-man character in a definite fashion allows the player to create his or hers own unique Pac-man. With the drawing, players can manoeuvre their drawn Pac-man in different directions by simply plotting the path on the screen. This game not only shows the unique potential of the DS at the time of its release but exploits its uniqueness and daring initiative by taking a loved Maze Chase game and pushing it to the next-gen handheld level.
Pac-Man Vs. (2003) GameCube
Pac-man has never been a multiplayer game. The only way to make it a multiplayer game was to take turns with you siblings or friends and watch who can get the highest scores between each other. With collaboration between Nintendo and Namco, Pac-Man VS featured a unique and innovative multiplayer capability. This not only allowed players to enhance their skills on Pac-Man but it allowed them to put their skills to the test by competing against each other. A four way battle between friends and siblings was not only one of the most incredibly fun multi-player games out during GameCube years. It also shined a new light for Pac-Man and future projects that would later lead to online multiplayer capabilities. There was also an updated version that allowed Game Boy Advance handhelds to link with the GameCube. This allowed players with the GBA to control Pac-Man in a small screen while at the same time the GameCube players would man the Ghosts and use the TV. Thinking about it now, it seems like the very primitive stage of the Wii U.
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (2010) Xbox Live Arcade
Everything that was in the 1980 Pac-Man is in Championship Edition DX but with more mazes, more modes and a hell of a lot more ghosts. Just like most Pac-Man’s the main objective was to get that highest score and stay alive. However with an added twist of being timed, totally bizarre maze designs and at a faster speed, Championship Edition DX brings a whole new level to Pac-Man. With new mazes, more ghosts and an 80’s neon lights themed atmosphere, you once again have to compete for the online high score. Apart from the obvious visual difference, you also get extra lives but don’t smile just yet, there are loads, and I mean loads more ghosts chasing you. So you got to eat the pellets and fruits as fast as you can and if you’re a veteran Pac-Man player, devourer the energy pellets and eat as many ghosts as you can because they just keep on coming in Championship Edition DX.