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Pac-Mania by Maddog
Game:Pac-ManiaCompany:Namco
Type:PlatformPlayers:1/2

Ladieees and gentlemeeen.He is back!The one and only,the most glorious and well known arcade character of all times hits our screens once again.Who is he?Oh,come on,people...We are talking about THE big one here!OK,for those who weren't born when he first came around or that lived in a cave for the past twenty years,the guy I'm talking about is Pac Man!
Yep,everyone's fave round yellow blob has come back with a vengeance.And this time,the guy ain't flat...He is alive and kicking, in glorious 3D!Along with him,come our all time classic nasties,the ghosts!The point of the game is the well known one (eat all the dots, avoid the ghosts).The most significant difference,is that Mr Pac Man is more of an athlete now:He has developed the ability to jump-pretty neat when you get cornered by the little meanies ;) Beware though,some of the ghosts have mastered this trick themselves!There are also some power-up items (speedup and the like...) and the maze is somewhat trickier and contains more than the usual four ghosts.
As I mentioned,the graphics are in 3D perspective this time. The maze is an isometric view and all the characters occupy "real" space.Basically,what you get is a yellow ball with a mouth,instead of a yellow circle with a mouth :) As it is impossible with this type of view to put everything on-screen at once,the screen scrolls as you move around the maze.All graphics are functional,but nothing incredible really.The same goes for the sound,with all the usual arcadey noises plus a neat background tune.The gameplay (which is what matters most in these cases...) is the well known and loved one and probably the game's strongest point,unless you've grown sick of it,after almost two decades of basically the same stuff. ;)
Except this unlikely case,other little nags have to go to the limited number of mazes,which lessens the appeal for long term enjoyment and the fact that strategic moving is impossible.This was a major element of the original,where you could see what every ghost was up to and adjust your moves accordingly.Here,with less than 1/4th of the maze viewable on-screen,you'll often get nasty surprises,which can't always be avoided by jumping.But addicts will easily disregard those "insignificant" details...
Pacmania has hit our screens very recently in Jas-Sys 1,the Namco System 1 emulator.Also MAME WIP reports that the game is being worked on to be added to MAME.Emulation is in pretty early stages right now,which means that there are several glitches and missing things, which will eventually be worked on.What is really bad is that the emulated hardware is very demanding,meaning you'll need a very powerful machine to get a decent version of the game running.Even my P-II 333 can't reach full FPS with the sound on,so avoid it if your machine is anything lower...
But,even with all these shortcomings,it's still a good thing to have this game emulated.Pac Man junkies will certainly have a good time and most of the others will enjoy a couple of goes,too.So,for those that didn't get it already,it's dot eating time once again! :)
Graphics
7
7
Sound
Play Control
7
8
Challenge
Replay Value
6
4
Performance
1999 EmuViews