Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39505)
Written on  :  Oct 12, 2006
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
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It's a beautiful day for a stroll. Isn't it, Pac?

The Good

Pac-Land is a side-scrolling platform game where Pac has to guide a fairy safely to Fairyland, with the trouble of avoiding five ghosts that will make Pac's life difficult, but the tables could be turned if Pac happens to grab power pellets and chase them instead. There are sixteen rounds in the game, each one having Pac go through deserts, canyons, cities, and forests. A round ends when Pac arrives at the church and he goes to the next round, but not before the fairy gets out of Pac's Robin Hood hat for a breath of fresh air, then gets back in. When he successfully brings the fairy to her home, she will help Pac get back home.

One noticeable thing is that the dots are absent, which Pac can live with. Previously, points were awarded as Pac gobbled up dots. But in this game, they are awarded as Pac moves along. He needs to hurry up and get to the church before the time runs out. Otherwise, the purple ghost that follows Pac wherever he goes will speed up rapidly and end with him losing one of his lives. The ghosts themselves are much clever than they were in previous Pac-Man games. You see, some of them can ride vehicles, fly a plane past Pac while dropping small “ghost bombs”, and jump on pogo stick.

Like in Pac-Mania, Pac can jump, but this is where the term “accurate timing” comes in. You see, he needs to be careful when he is about to perform a jump. Ghosts may come from the direction that he is facing, and if they happen to be in the air, then it is likely that Pac will smash heads with them. Another example of accurate timing is where Pac has to perform very long jumps over lakes, and doing this requires very good motor skills as well as performing the right maneuver. Just jumping over the lake will not work, so you need to jiggle the joystick left or right rapidly to hold yourself up in the air until you get to the other side. I played Pac-Land so many times trying to complete Round 6 until I figured this out.

Pac-Land is actually based on the short-lived animated series from the 80's. I have not seen the series myself, but fans of the series should know that the game uses the same music as the show's theme song. The graphics also comes from the series. My highlights of this game is seeing how Pac loses one of his lives. It looks like as if Pac collapses to the floor and has a heart attack Another highlight is seeing how the ghosts travel around.

The 8-bit versions (especially the Amstrad and C64 versions) are very faithful to the original coin-op version. When the title screen appears, you press a button on the keyboard to insert a credit, and then press the fire button to start game play. The interface is laid out exactly as in the original, with the high score and one- and two-player scores at the top of the screen, and the round number and credits at the bottom. Although the graphics are not as detailed, they have that cartoony feel to them. The controls are not complicated to learn.

The Bad

Nothing that I can think of.

The Bottom Line

Pac-Land is actually based on the cartoon series, and involves Pac transporting a fairy to her homeland while avoiding the ghosts. The dots may be gone, but the power pellets still remain. The 8-bit versions have the same look and feel of the original. Only this time gamers do not have to insert a coin into a slot to play. Instead, they just have to push two buttons: one to add credits and one to start the game.