Title Pac-Mania (Second Review) Game Type General Action Players 1 Compatibility ECS (AGA JST patch available) Company Grandslam HD Installable JST Patch available Submission Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer Review First of all I`m going to endulge in a little nostalgia and amateur psychology. I remember Pac-Man machines appearing in pubs in the early 80`s, not that long after the original Space Invader machines. There was one particular bar I used to visit, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, where they had the cocktail-table version of the game. This was extremely civilized, allowing you to sit down while you played as well as providing adequate space to rest your beer glass. Even more important though was one of the game`s peculiar, almost unique properties. Without wishing to be sexist, it has been my experience that almost any girl can be persuaded to play Pac-Man. Not neccessarily a stranger you pass in the street, but the game definitely seems to appeal to the fairer sex, even if they don't usually partake in such frivolity. I don`t know if this is down to the cuteness, the relatively low violence or the tactical think-on-your-feet gameplay, but it certainly does seem to be the case. Actually, I`ve just read that back to a friend, and his response was to mimic the animation of Pac-Man`s mouth opening and closing with his hand. I think this is probably an old-husband thing. Allright, enough banter, what are we actually talking about here? The original game was a top-down view of a simple maze, with your character running around, attempting to “eat” all the dots spread uniformly about the maze while avoiding several pursuing enemies (ghosts) who caused you to lose a life on contact. There were several power pills (big dots) however, that changed the colour of your pursuers to dark blue and made them vulnerable to contact with you. The entire maze was on one screen, but there were side exits which allowed you to re-emerge on the other side of the screen. In Pac-Mania, you scroll around an enlarged maze, viewed obliquely, and you now have the ability to jump over the ghosts, thus providing the game with a sort of 3D effect. First impressions are good, the play area is huge using up pretty much every pixel of the screens`s display. The graphics are attractive and Pac-Man himself looks almost light-sourced in his yellow finery. The music is also nicely produced and between each level there are some simple but amusing animations to keep your attention. There are 4 worlds to be beaten, Block town (my favourite; a sort of legoland) Pac-Man`s Park, Sandbox Land and the stunningly, if enigmatically, named Jungly Steps. The game initially plays quite slowly, but that doesn`t make it as easy as you might think. You also get an occasional speed-up pill which adds a bit of variety. Personally, I`d have preferred a few more of these pick-ups, of different types, to enhance the gameplay, and further, the game really should have had an alternate two player option similar to the original. These slight criticisms aside though, Pac- Mania is an excellent attempt at souping-up an old classic. It`s nice to look at and listen to, it`s fun to play, and there`s always the chance it will seduce females. What more could you ask? Watch out for that blue speedfreak, and good luck with the Courage Bonus.