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Pac-Man (NES)

Written by  :  *Katakis* (37801)
Written on  :  Feb 09, 2004
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Summary

Retro game with a central character and simple objective

The Good

In 1981, Namco, a small game company released Pac-Man, a concept that occurred when one of the company's game designers ordered a slice of pizza and looked at it after removing a slice., then he decided to make his first game based on the remains. When Pac-Man came out, it was all the rage, and almost everybody wanted to play it.

Pac-Man was one of the first games of its kind. Until then, video games comprised of vertical shooters, where people controlled a ship that must shoot down enemy ships, aliens, asteroids, etc. Seeing Pac-Man for the first time provided some relief for those who already got bored of shooters. Unlike other games around its time, Pac-Man was also the first to have a central character, in which you can move freely in any direction you like – up, down, left, and right.

What I like about the game is its simple objective – navigate the one maze while gobbling up dots and avoiding four ghosts; named Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, who love to make a meal out of Pac-Man. If you get eaten, you will lose one of your three lives. Grab a power pellet from any corner of the maze, and you have the opportunity to eat a ghost. Use the escape tunnels located at each side of the maze to confuse them. Occasionally, a fruit will appear in the middle of the maze. Gobble this up as well for big points. Gobble up all the dots (and the power pellets) to move onto the next (and difficult) maze. Every two or so mazes, you are treated to an intermission, which are funny to view.

The NES version comes close to the original game as possible. Apart from the status bar, which is located on the right side rather than the top, Namco has made sure that this would be a rather good conversion of Pac-Man. These include giving each ghost a different color so that you can tell them apart, putting blue mazes against a black background, and making sure that the sounds between the arcade and this remains the same.

The Bad

A little bit of variation would have been nice. With different maze layouts, and the colors used for each maze, not just blue all the time.

The Bottom Line

Pac-Man was all the rage back in its heyday, and it is still enjoyable today. In fact, Pac-Man was so popular back then that Namco decided to do several sequels, starting with Ms. Pac-Man. I believe that the NES version is brilliant – it captures the same look and feel that the original had, without having more features added to it that can spoil gameplay.