Pac Man. There is no denying the cultural effect of what amounts to a sapient yellow pie chart. There have been many many songs, cartoons, funny videos, endless knockoffs, and even a LARP. Not to mention the actual, official titles. Pac Man has been released on every platform, from the slowly fading arcade cabinets of yesteryear to the Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. Recently, the newest entry in the Pac Man family, Champtionship Edition DX, hit Arcade, with a slated release date of November 23rd for the PS3.
Visually, Namco opted to keep it simple, and give players the option of making things more or less complicated, including a number of ‘themes,’ ranging from the traditional neon blue to a Windows-XP-icon-style to something resembling Pacman as viewed through the eyes of a LEGO fanatic. Of course, Pacman and the Ghosts experience a similar set of themes. Each is only there to be shuffled randomly, and are designed to be as visually useful as possible, though some of the art deco styles do tend to cause Pacman to blend with his spectral stalker team.
Audibly, well, it sounds like Pac Man. Whether that means sound effects styled after the original arcade cabinets designed to follow an established theme, or a series of bleeps and bloops that’ll keep parents in a perpetual state of irritation is entirely dependant on the player’s perspective. The audio is true to the series, the traditional ‘wakkawakkawakka’ accompanied by pellet eating and, of course, the signature sound of failure all find their way into this title. A selection of background tracks are also included, most falling into the category of ‘generic techno,’ but work well. BGM1 is a personal favourite.
Players of the original Pacman Championship Edition will recognize the changes made to the base Pacman formula. The mazes are no longer static, but dynamic levels that change with the consumption of fruit. A lost life doesn’t break the gameplay, but return all the ghosts to the center and respawn Pacman where he died, and players that find themselves trapped have access to a bomb, which sends all the enemies back, but also resets score multipliers and reduces game speed. A new addition to DX are the trap ghosts. Sleeping ghosts are seeded in the maze, waking up whenever Pacman passes them by and following him, eventually creating a long rainbow chain of tailing ghosts. Once a power pellet is consumed, this chain does indeed become edible, helping to rack up giant scores.
In addition to the traditional score attack gameplay of previous titles (the ones that count, anyway), a Time Trial mode is included, which challenges players to collect a certain number of fruit within a time limit. Each trial ramps up the difficulty and game speed, making for some truly challenging speed runs. Also included is a mode called Ghost Combo. Points mean nothing, the only thing that counts is the largest number of ghosts eaten within the length of one power pellet, though the time can be extended by consuming more pellets within the given time limit. This mode encourages the gathering of sleeping ghosts to build giant combos. Also included is a quick-leaderboard, giving a player’s position on the boards as well as how many people occupy those boards.
Overall, PAC MAN Championship Edition DX is a worthwhile purchase, and should find it’s way onto everyone’s consoles as soon as possible.
Spokanites can learn more about the title at the official Namco Bandai website. This is an online-only title, kids, so don’t forget to refill your tanks of converted currency at your local Gamestop or Best Buy. And if any of you happen to be visiting Steamcon, hunt down a girl named Vela and tell her that Captain Antonille, the Rogue Sky Baker sends his regards.