Pac-Man becomes an arcade champion
When Pac-Man was released in North American arcades back in 1980 it lit the gaming industry on fire and holds a special place in almost every gamers heart as one of the most classic coin-up arcade experiences of all time. Spawning countless sequels, a horrible cartoon, and that cool "Pac-Man Fever" song, Pac-Man is one of the kings of the game industry. Now in 2007 Namco comes with the crazy idea to re-do Pac-Man, to bring the gaming icon into the modern era. So how exactly do you dust off the old cob webs to make Pac-Man a serious contender on the XBLA? Do you re-write the graphics? Add more levels Ms. Pac-Man style, or make it into a FPSMMO? Which ever of those you would choose; chances are the end result would be horrendous. Optimistic feeling's aside, Namco did a wonderful job on re-making Pac-Man while maintaining the same game play mechanics of mazes, dots, ghosts, and power pellets. With that said yes, Pac-Man CE is overall the same game with a slick new coat of paint, but that also coincides with the game's best quality which it feels totally different.
The focus in Pac-Man CE's game play is scoring as many points as you can in each of the games seven stages. Each stage is on a strict un-changeable time limit of either five or ten minutes. Unlike the original Pac-Man, you're objective isn't to eat all the dots. Survival becomes a secondary goal. Once the clock runs out, or you run out of you're lives, you're score is immediately sent to the online leader boards for you to compare with you're friends and the world.
The games set-up is its most interesting aspect and stands this edition of Pac-Man out from the pile of mediocre pellet eating. You'll find the classic Pac-Man action, going with you're four ghostly nemeses frantically trying to eat you. Their still power pellets for you do eat, when done so you have a few seconds to eat the ghosts as they turn blue for bonus points. With that said power pellets are a common thing to see appearing all around the ever changing maze, allowing you to constantly keep eating power pellets for an awesome chain of point collecting.
Another difference in Pac-Man CE is that it doesn't stop. During your given time limit the maze is constantly changing. Once you eat all the dots on one side, the empty side of the maze regenerates, spawning new walls, dots, and power pellets. Pac-Man CE has a very unique, cool, and clean look to it with its bright neon mazes. The colorful ghost look similar to the original edition of Pac-Man, but now they are more pixilated for an added graphical look and effect. The ghosts also leave attractive looking tracers behind them as they move amongst the maze. The levels themselves take full advantage of 16:9 wide screen, and it look absolutely beautiful, giving Pac-Man a fresh new look for the modern era. Most of the games audio came directly from the original game, along with well welcomed new sound effects and music track.
Pac-Man CE is a perfect example of taking an old idea and making it fresh again. The games new outlook may turn off purists, but at the same time will attract a new audience. An 800 point ($10.00) price point may be asking a lot for a limited choice of stages, but it's defiantly worth checking out even if you're not a Pac-Man fan for it's near perfect blend of old school gaming and modern ideas, leaving one of the best XBLA experiences Xbox 360 owners will have this year. Billy Mitchell might want to give this game a whirl.
+Brings Pac-Man into the modern era
+Perfect example on how to rebuld a game
-Not too many stages
-While it has the new car smell, people who already didn't like Pac-Man probably wont have their minds changed.