Genre: Graphic Adventure Developer: Namco Publisher: Namco Players: 1 Released: 1994
“Holy cow! Sweet! A new Pac-Man game! I’ve gotta play it. Ma, I want this game for Christmas!”
Those, my friends, were the words I uttered back in the glory days. My expectations were extremely high as I received this title to a Nintendo 64 kid-esque celebration. What I received, however, was like a punch in the gut from your lifelong best friend after learning that your wife took all of your money and left you for him. Well, okay, it’s not nearly bad enough to warrant heavy drinking or depression, but it is very freakin’ annoying.
Look! Look! There are so many things wrong with this game that I think I am going to begin with the most obvious items. Okay, so we turn it on and see the big man flying in his super Pac-Man costume chasing down a ghost. Sweet! Then we hear a sound sample “Pac Man 2.” Now, don’t press start and let your expectations grow even higher before they are let down faster than you are dropped if you ride the Power Tower at Cedar Point.
Okay, so now go ahead and press start. What you get is an interactive Saturday morning cartoon game show done Pac-Man style, where our hero is sent to get milk for Pac-Baby. I am beginning to believe it is meant for small children, but how do children who are of the appropriate age even know who Pac-Man is? It goes down like this: You control Pac-Man with a slingshot with the B button, the C button is the Look! Look! button and tells him to go or look in the direction you are pointing with the D-pad. “A” is the power pellet button and sometimes you need it to get Pac-Man to bust through doors, walls, scare ghosts, etc. You can refill them at your house.
Imagine, if you will, a Halo game, or a Madden game, or whatever one of your favorite games are. Okay, now imagine if you don’t have direct control of your player, and he makes weird noises as tripping over a rock or something else very unimportant scares him. You have to guide Master Chief with your slingshot. Niko Bellic can only go on rampages with a power pellet. John Madden only talks with rumbles and grunts. Thats what this game delivers in a confident yet awkward stupor.
Before you go and get the milk though, check out all the things you can shoot with your slingshot in your yard. That’s one of a very few cool things in this game: you can shoot nearly everything with your slingshot. Most things do something to Pac-Man, either make him mad or provoke some sort of reaction. It’s sometimes vital for your survival in this game to shoot everything to figure out what to do. Personally, I like to shoot Pac-Man a lot and make him angry.
One thing that is good is the graphics. The cut scenes and intro, and even really some of the game play have pretty good graphics, but there are just too many weird things about this game. At least there is a fairly accurate version of the original Pac-Man in the arcade in the town, which is a few areas down from the house. Yeah, that’s cool and important because it’s the only version of the original Pac-Man you can find on the Genesis. A special game called Pac Junior is available if you collect three pieces of the cartridge too, so at least they are trying to convince you to keep playing for a bit.
The main problem I have in this game is that it’s not a Pac-Man game, really. Rather, it’s an awkward side-scroller where you don’t have control of Pac-Man directly, and it just really turns me off. The audio is decent, but I just don’t want to play it anymore. The problematic parts are basically comprised of the irritating mood shifts that Pac-Man goes through when something in the environment changes. There are so many things that will make him upset that he is rarely happy. He also goes through more mood swings than… well you can only imagine. One minute he is PO’d and the next minute he is whistling. Also, the missions are all pretty much the same: Someone needs something and you have to go get it. The final mission (there are four altogether) is a bit different though, and it is at least a little fun.
Even if Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is meant for small children, many of them will find it WAY too difficult past the first level anyway, so I don’t believe this game should take any more than fifteen to twenty minutes to realize it’s pretty much worthless. The ghosts play an increasingly more important role in this game, and that’s okay. It is just that this format is just so uncomfortable and awkward that the game’s intention is strewn about and it’s just not very fun to play. Play it once and let it gather some dust.