Monday, January 17, 2011

Played Lately: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

  • When people at work ask me what I've been playing recently, more often than not my answer is Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. And their response is universally "Pac-Man?" Yes, Pac-Man, but better.

  • You would think I'd be better at explaining the game considering the number of times I've done it. So hang with me. You start with Pac-Man which means dots, ghosts, power pellets, and fruit. But instead of clearing stages, each time you eat all the dots on one side of the screen, a fruit appears on the other side. When you eat that fruit, the cleared side of the screen is redrawn with a new maze and new dots. You have to contend with the usual ghosts, but there are also sleeping ghosts littered throughout the mazes. When you pass by one, it wakes up and starts chasing you. Eventually you have a long train of ghosts following you around until you finally get a power pellet. Then you turn around and you eat ALL OF THOSE GHOSTS! As you eat ghosts, the game starts to run faster and faster until you're running at breakneck speed through the mazes. Finally, if you're about to run into a ghost, the game goes into a Matrix-like bullet time so you're able to correct yourself and avoid death. And even if you're trapped, you can set off a bomb that will throw all of the ghosts back into the home box so that you have a few seconds respite before the chase resumes.

  • Actually, just watch the Giant Bomb Quick Look. Seeing it in action is much better.

  • With all of that, the game changes from one about avoiding death into a test of perfect planning and execution. You have to find the optimal path through the everchanging maze and perform properly so that you don't waste the timer that is constantly counting down. You have to stay in constant motion, trying to divine the one true way to build your ghost chain and clear all the pellets without wasted efforts.

  • It amazes me that someone could take a older game that we all know and update it so thoroughly to modern design sensibilities while retaining what we enjoyed about the original. I may not be great at old-school arcade games, but there is something about Pac-Man CE DX, something incredible, that has me hooked. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to shave a couple seconds off of my Time Trial.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Pac man, who would have guessed? That does sound like fun.