Pac-Man Review

Developer: Namco Publisher: Namco
Release Date: N/A Also On: None

Few games have revolutionized the gaming industry. Even fewer have changed the way people look at video games. In the 1980’s, the arcade crash led way for Nintendo’s charge in home consoles. Had it not been for games like Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man, we might still be playing the most basic of games, if playing them at all. Those three games, on top of the release of Super Mario Bros. on home consoles, changed the way we viewed games. They went from a niche market to an acceptable form of entertainment.

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Pac-Man’s journey to the Palm OS has been a long one. First released in the arcades in Japan as Puck-Man, its American release needed an alternate name, to avoid vandalism of arcade machines. It was an immediate success, still felt today. A number of rip-offs, including some on the Palm (i.e. Firefly), along with Namco-developed spin-offs for home consoles, have been released to the public. None of them have matched the greatness of the original.

It’s really no wonder why Pac-Man was such a success. The developer of the game created a game based on a simple concept: eating. Everything else formed from this concept. Supposedly, the creator of Pac-Man founded the character by eating a pizza, in which he grabbed a slice, looked down, and saw Pac-Man. Whether this is true or not doesn’t matter, as it’s heralded as the word of God by gamers.

If somehow you are new to Pac-Man, the game involves you as Pac-Man, eating pellets, power pellets, fruit, and ghosts. You’re placed in a maze, of which there are several paths for you to avoid the onslaught of ghosts. Your goal is to clear the board of all the pellets in the number of lives that you are provided with. This may sound simple enough, but the ghosts will corner you, trap you, and back-track to stop you in your track.

The ghosts are stopped in their track by eating the power pellet, which transforms them into blue ghosts, a defenseless form where they can be eaten. Power pellets are found in the four corners of the game board, and provide Pac-Man with a short time of invulnerability. Pac-Man can ‘hide’ against walls, waiting for ghosts, while preparing to eat the power-pellet, where he can then consume the oncoming foes.

As I’m reviewing this on the Zodiac, I will refer to the controls in the terms that the Zodiac provides. You’re provided with the ability to move Pac-Man with the joystick, the stylus, or the hard buttons. Both the joystick, which seems fidgety, and the stylus, which has an unreliable response, are not recommended. The hard buttons work perfectly fine for this game.

The one complaint I have is that when I move Pac-Man on occasion, he will sometimes stop in his track. Other than that, this port is nearly flawless in execution. Don’t let that one sour note stop you from purchasing a copy of this game from Namco’s new Palm branch. If you’re at all a fan of the most popular arcade game ever, Pac-Man for the Palm OS will not disappoint you.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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