Survival of the Fittest
The GoodPac-Man All Stars
is a PC-only title that is not like any other Pac-Man game you can think of. You compete against three opponents (human or CPU) in collecting more pellets than each other. The pellets are not scattered in a maze, but out in the open where they can easily be accessed by your opponents. There are also two modes: “Story” and “Adventure”.
PMAS features popular Pac-Man
characters: Pac, Ms. Pac, Professor Pac, and Pac Junior. There are also two ghosts, but their role in the game is to chase the nearest Pac and make it lose every pellet that they collect. There are flowers that grow, and touching these make extra pellets appear where it grew. Each level has a different objective to them. In one level, for instance, one character is wins first prize if he is the first one to reach 1500 points, while in another, the first one to collect the most pellets before time expires wins. So basically, meeting different objectives is a good thing to do.
PMAS is a difficult game. More often than not, you will end up with the least amount of dots if you are not careful or end up going in the wrong direction. This means that the game is addictive as the average gamer is always trying to get to first and second place. There are power-ups that can help you, and these provide you with special abilities such as speeding your character up, stealing pellets from a fellow opponents, or using a magnet to suck in the pellets. There is an “Adventure” mode where it does not matter what place you end up being in, as long as you are doing your job. Playing in this mode does not give you access to the Ghost Gang levels that only appear in “Story” mode.
Using the controls bring back the glory days of playing the original version of Pac-Man
. You use the arrow keys or the joystick to move your character around, and you cannot jump over the ghosts or fire upon them. There are six areas in the game, and most of them have gorgeous graphics with things that you can interact with. The first part has mushrooms that can bounce your characters to a different place. Also, most areas have entrances in trees in which your character can enter and exit through to another place.
In later areas, there are sounds in which you can hear while you are collecting pellets (such as birds, owls, and wildlife), and this really adds to the game's atmosphere. There is some background music while you are playing and this is a pleasure to listen to. Most of the tunes play similar to the retro hits of the 80's, especially the tune playing in the main menu
The controls are difficult to manage. When you want to stop your character, he or she does not immediately stop but instead slow down to a complete halt. This means if you see a ghost lurking ahead of you and you have only seconds away from him, you are going to bump into him whether you like it or not; it is too late for you to turn back.
The Pacs are a lot smaller than the ghosts, too small to tell them apart even. Since they are the same size, it is hard to see where you are going and you end up losing and being landed in the last place, and this causes you to lose one of your lives.
Finally, PC Gamer
asks the question: ”how can you have Pac-Man All-Stars without Super Pac-Man?”. I agree with them. Super Pac-Man made his appearance in two games, Super Pac-Man
and Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
. He may not be popular, but not including him in the game is a sin.
The Bottom Line
Drawing away from the simple task of gobbling up pellets in a maze, Pac-Man All Stars
has you compete against four opponents, outperforming each other by collecting the most pellets. This task is difficult as the computer AI is smart, but you can collect power-ups that can help you win. The controls are consistent with those of the original, the graphics and sound are excellent. Although Infogrames
decided to omit Super Pac-Man, this should not put you off from giving the game a go.