| Remember Drainpipe jeans? Mullets? Airwolf? Streethawk? |
Then you'll remember Pac-man when it first came out and had kids of all ages queuing round the corner of every arcade in the land just to satisfy their lust for a little ball, a load of pills and six ghosts.
Today things are very different, or are they? With the release of Pac man world 2 I expect to see games shops crammed with respectable thirty something's attempting to recreate their youth.
I'm not the biggest fan of "world" games for a couple of reasons, one, they nearly always compare unfavorably with Super Mario World and two, that they all tend to be very similar in look, feel and difficulty to one another.
As a result, there's little new and groundbreaking here as we race Pac around his world spinning, "butt-bouncing" (I jest ye not) and ghost chasing to his little yellow heart's content.
The feel of the game is very much like Spiro and Crash Bandicoot as you chase around a 3-D landscape from the usual "behind and above" perspective. The graphics are good without being spectacular, the action is very smooth and the continuity first rate. My only gripe is the camera angles which occasionally get stuck at some crazy angles making controlling Pac momentarily, very difficult and making the experience more frustrating.
The basic premise is that the ghosts come into Pac village during the night and as well as performing various act of mischief and mayhem picked all the golden fruit from an ancient tree. Spooky, their dastardly leader (you see where this is going, right?) makes the ghosts hide the fruit throughout the various worlds that make up the game. Simplistic? I know, but a game's got to have a plot!
The worlds are your standard fare, forest world, icy world, volcano world and underwater world. Possibly the best aspect is the sub games in that in exchange for tokens (which can be found in the various worlds) you can go into an arcade (ah, it all comes flooding back!) and play all the various incarnations of pacman in all the original arcade machines.
The sound too is great in a retro kind of way; you have all the sound effects of the original games, as well as the most annoying intro tune ever featured in a computer game! These have all been cleverly woven into the fabric of modern sounds throughout the game.
The game has a solid learning curve, and will therefore appeal to young and old alike. There are several tutorials as to how to complete the moves and information on how features and power-ups work as you move through the early stages of the game which really help you along.
There are many nice touches in the game, my particular favorites are the power-up that turns Pac into an indestructible steel ball, which glints and shines very neatly as the light moves over him, also I liked the vast array of craft and weaponry that Pac can ride in and use.
The game gets progressively harder as you go through, but without becoming much more stimulating, towards the end I really had to work hard to keep my enthusiasm and attention going through the last couple of levels. I'd say that this game is very much aimed to the younger end of the market, but will also appeal to retro gamers. It did little for me unfortunately as it's just a bit too much the same as so many games of this genre, which is disappointing as the Pacman license has so much potential to do more. Shame really.
6 out of 10