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To say that this is a must-buy is doing it a disservice; it's a game you'll want to instantly evangelise to anyone with even the vaguest sense of what makes a game good. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX takes everything that made the original so successful, twists and refines it in a relentless and thrilling new direction, and then adds a plethora of new mazes and modes for good measure. When we look back at the great score-attack games of this generation, this will be right up there at the top table. Like Trials HD and Geometry Wars before it, it's touched by true design genius. The hardest part will be knowing when to bloody well stop.
With the free update sorting out the leaderboard and medals side of things - which include a rather large focus on sharing your accomplishments on Facebook - and the paid DLC giving you some exceptionally enjoyable levels and Namco fan service, DX+ is an absolute must-buy for existing fans of Pac-Man CE DX - indeed, I am sure most of you will have already spent the £5 on updating your copy of DX. For newcomers, I simply cannot recommend DX+ highly enough as it is the definitive version of Pac-Man Championship Edition, and is one of the purest, adrenaline fueled arcade videogames of all time, and as such, should be experienced by anyone with even a passing interest in the medium of gaming.
Pac-man Championship Edition DX bests the original in every way. The revision packs in the original game with eight other maze modes, which are unlocked by playing through a well-organized set of challenges, including time- and score-attack modes. The centerpiece maze is Championship II, which evolves the ghost-eating chains of the original to its logical conclusion. Where Championship I populated the maze with the familiar four primary-colored ghosts, II is littered with ghosts. Most of these sleeping ghosts who are awakened when Pac-Man passes by. As they chase the hero, they form into one long, ghoulish string. When Pac-Man hits a power pellet and turns the tables, that chain transforms into tens of thousands of satisfying points. There are also a wealth of presentation options that cover the gamut of Pac-man’s 30-year history, including even the weird rendered version of the little dude from 1996’s curio, Pac-Man Arrangement…
Though I still don't know what a perfect game of DX looks like, the fact that I'm still glued to it (despite -- at this point -- finishing what I estimate to be maybe one actual five-minute game in any given hour) should give you a pretty clear idea of how I feel about it.
Three difficulty levels mean that players of any skill level can start at a speed they're comfortable with, offering a terrific experience to both those driven by a competitive desire to dominate on the leaderboards and those just looking for a fun and accessible game with a retro arcade feel. The new elements fuse so seamlessly with the familiar ones that DX immediately feels like a thrilling new game and a timeless classic at once. Thirty years after Pac-Man first became an arcade sensation, it's exhilarating to see new concepts introduced that make the whole experience of playing completely fresh and compulsively playable all over again. The original arcade superstar is back, and this is one of his best performances yet.
The changes are largely positive and led to good gameplay. And, for an old hand who’s been around for just a little bit under Pac Man’s lifespan, it’s a bunch of fun. Even going into my fourth decade, I still have not found a cure for Pac Man Fever. I give this one a four out of five review, and I recommend it for retro gamers and new gamers alike, if for no other reason than to learn about gamer roots.