This Pac-Man iteration is a refreshing take on the series.
- Updated look that's a welcome change.
- Catchy soundtrack.
- The new features and game modes are a fun addition.
- Ghosts are just as frustrating as always.
- Dieing in this game is harsh.
Pac-Man Championship Edition is a revival of the classic game that I feel is the best in the entire array of Pac-Man games out there. This release for the Xbox Live Arcade costs 800 Microsoft Points ($10), is Single-Player, has 6 new game modes and an array of achievements.
Championship Edition changes the gameplay for the better. A new feature includes the ability to spark, which is achieved by pressing the direction you'll be heading in before you actually get to the turn. This spark gives you a small boost in speed but it's definitely useful to get away from the ghosts.
Next up is the ever-changing game board. The basic concept is whenever you clear one side of pellets and grab the fruit on the other side, the cleared half will be refreshed with new pathing and pellets adding a lot of strategy. Other than these additions, you'll notice most of this game is very much the same.
The new modes are varied and a fun take on the series. You'll have a couple modes to choose from but you'll notice all of these are time-based instead of level-based. The simple reasoning is you have the new board that's constantly being updated and changed.
To keep you busy the modes are frantic and fast adding different mechanics such as turning off the lights to say the least, where you are thrown into the normal level, all light being taken out (you can still see ghosts, pellets, and yourself) and giving you a small circular light to help you guide yourself. Or they just start you off at the fastest speed that's especially unforgiving. Nothing extremely innovative but it's much better than the same old Pac-Man formula.
The graphics are very bright and crisp showing this game wasn't just rushed like the previous Pac-Man XBLA installments. It's just an update that this game really needed to stay alive and is awesome to see.
The sound work is equally great. Pac-Man clamping down on some ghosts has more oompf, you'll hear a swish when half of the board is changed, and the soundtrack keeps your palms sweaty and the blood pounding. Granted, you won't have a heart attack but it gives you a nice pace to keep up with. A subtle but appreciated touch is at the menu screen, where scrolling through options and modes will greet you with that familiar "wakka wakka" sound.
As an overall package, this is a definite buy if you have not experienced the game in a while. Championship Edition should be seen as a reminder of a classic game with a modern twist. Therefore, if you have the points why not play a game embedded into the childhood of gaming.