Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pacman Championship Edition

Toru Iwatani creator of Pacman has helped Microsoft and Namco Bandai (he still works there) create a new iteration of the original Pacman game. I knew someone was working on a version of Pacman for the world championship that Microsoft is doing, but I wasn't expecting such a dramatic change from the original.

Graphically the game Looks Great with a dark playing world, lots of bright (almost neon) clashing colours. Then there are a lot of nice little graphical touched like glowing characters, trails and sparks that appear when Pacman rubs against a wall, but Pacman-CE is widescreen! So there is a nice large playing area that takes up the whole screen (assuming you have a widescreen TV).

Gameplay wise you still collect pellets, power-pills and avoid ghosts that start out in a box in the middle, but Pacman is nolonger level based, it is continual like GeometryWars where you simply play until you run out of lives or time (levels range from five to ten minuets). To accomplish continual play Namco Bandai has divided the board into a left and right. Once all the pellets from one side of the screen have been eaten a fruit appears on the opposite side of the board. Then once that fruit has been eaten, the opposite side (of the board to the fruit) is refreshed with new pellets (usually in a different configuration from before) and sometimes a new maze configuration.
Difficulty is controlled by the game's speed, although when there are no power-pills on screen the game inevitably becomes harder until a fruit is eaten and more power-pills are introduced back into the game.

Pacman-CE is a much improved version of the original, but it is still £6.80 (800 points) which is a little much. And I haven't ever been a fan of Pacman because of it's difficult, but I still love the franchise if only because the game has spawned one of my all time favourite quotes:

If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music. - Marcus Brigstocke