Title Deluxe Pacman Game Type General Action Publisher None (distributed on Aminet) Players 1 or 2 (traditional coin-op 2 player style) Compatibility ECS and AGA (the dedicated AGA version has enhanced GFX) HD Installable Yes Submission Nathan Wain Profiled Reviewer Review BRIEF DESCRIPTION Well, it's pacman. What can I tell you? For the few people out there who don't know what pacman is, it involves the player attempting to go around a maze in his quest to eat all the dots contained therein. Also four ghosts travel the maze, attempting to catch the player. If they do he loses a life, but there are also four "power pills" in the maze that pacman can eat which, for a time, gives him the power to eat the ghosts. Pacman is also recognised by most people as a landmark game that enjoyed huge success in the arcades, and has won the right to claim a category all its own. It's worth noting, however, that when Deluxe Pacman was created, the author had not actually ever seen the original arcade game. It was merely inspired by a Vic-20 game "Jelly Monsters", which was itself based on the original Pacman. SPECIAL HARDWARE/SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS Any Amiga with 1MB of RAM or better. For AGA Amigas there exists a version with enhanced graphics. COPY PROTECTION None. The game was originally distributed with a shareware licence, but since then the full game has been made available. It had been distributed on Aminet, but I can't seem to find it there anymore. (expired?) For now the ECS version is available on Back to the Roots. I'll see if I can track down the AGA version anywhere. http://www.back2roots.org/Games/ADF-Games/D/20/ MACHINES USED FOR TESTING A4000, 2Meg Chip, 112Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.1, 1.2 Gig Quantum HDD, Apollo 4040 daughter board (68040 at 40MHz, with SCSI and 96Meg of local RAM), PicassoIV Graphics Card, VLab video-digitiser, Toshiba 16x CD-Rom, 2 internal floppy-drives, Supra 14.4k Modem, Viewsonic E70 17" SVGA monitor. A4000, 2Meg Chip, 16Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.1, 1.2 Gig Quantum HDD, Toshiba 16x CD-Rom, additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 Multisync monitor. (Standard 25MHz 68030 CPU without FPU) A1200, 2Meg Chip, 32Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.0, 340 Meg Seagate 2.5" HDD, GVP Cobra accellerator-board (68030 and 68882 at 50MHz, without SCSI), additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 MultiSync monitor. A1200, 2Meg Chip, 4Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.0, 120 Meg Quantum 2.5" HDD, GVP Ram expansion board (2 SIMM slots and 68882 FPU slot only), additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, Thompson PAL monitor. A500, 0.5Meg Chip, 0.5Meg Fast, Kickstart 1.2, external Floppy drive, Thompson PAL monitor. ECS version behaves identically on all the above machines, though an early version did have graphic-corruption problems on AGA machines. The AGA version behaves identically on all the above AGA hardware. FIRST IMPRESSIONS Very, very polished game. Apart from it being just a simple Pacman game (which it can't get away from, I guess), it is of a quality that could have easily been released commercially. This, and Deluxe Galaga (by the same author) were also the only two shareware games voted into the Amiga Report all time top 100 Amiga games. So it seems there are others out there who feel the same. The general presentation is without fault. There are many nice little touches, such as the 'intermission' pictures, the pixellated fades between levels, and the raytraced high score screen (though that last item does appear to be a little out of place amongst the hand-pixelled graphics populating the rest of the game.) The levels themselves are large, colourful, and there is more variety in maze layouts than I have seen in most pacman clones. The level layouts do get to be a bit un-Pacman like later on, in that they become quite asymmetrical and some even require travel through the warp gate to reach the entire maze. But for me this never deviates 'too far' from what I think Pacman should be. The layout never has multiple ghost-jails, or wide open spaces, for example. The sound and music are all good, and the music can even be swapped out for the MOD music file of your choice. And to top it all off there are many cool bonuses that make the game something else: Pacman can get a shield, a teleport to another level, a freeze to halt the ghosts, and even a gun! For some people I guess these bonus features could be taking it a bit far. But honestly, try it. The pleasure that can be gleaned from the ability to finally shoot those wee buggers you've been running from all your life, or to have some sort of immunity. Nah, the bonuses rock. GENERAL OPINION There is more to this game than any other pacman game I have ever seen. Well, there is pacman96, with its level-editor. But Deluxe Pacman has every other embellishment you could hope for. The levels already have more variety than I could ever wish for, and the graphics are just gorgeous. Large and colourful sprites and playfields throughout. It even has skill levels should you find the action either too frenetic or boring; and there are separate high-score tables for each. I personally find the hard skill level a bit 'crazy-fast', which can be really fun if you're in the mood for the freneticism. My only gripe about the game is that the speed differences for the three skill-levels are maybe a bit too high. The easiest level is just too darned slow, and I can't even imagine a three year old finding it fun at that speed (though I could be wrong.) And the hard level is only fun if you want one hell of an adrenaline rush as you just try to survive. If the speed differentials were lessened somewhat I think it would add to the appeal of the game. CONCLUSIONS For me, this is the perfect Pacman game. The feel of the original game has been retained, while the graphics and sound have been updated to a level of gorgeousness rarely seen. The graphics and presentation are hard to fault, even today. And the audio does still have that essential death-sound required of all Pacman clones. If you are after something that is more like the original there is already "Puck Man" and "Pac Man '96", both of which have the original look. "Puck Man" has even aspired to be the most accurate Amiga clone of the original coin-op game. I think they have succeeded there. So if you simply wish to re-live the Pacman experience, try "Puck Man", but if you want to see Pacman taken to a whole new level, you simply have to try Deluxe Pacman. To put it simply, I have never wanted for another Pacman game since this one.