Pac-Mania (Second Review)

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

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.

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