2014 is an important year for Bandai Namco and one of its most popular mascots, Pac-Man. The yellow guy is stepping out of the shadows and is hoping to grab the attention of a new generation with the upcoming game, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures(based on a new cartoon), coming out next month.
In the mean time, the guys over at Bandai Namco are giving players the chance to either re-play some classic Pac-Man games or discover the origins of the yellow hero – with the digital release of Pac-Man Museum. This is a simple collection consisting of most titles that Pac-Man has starred in.
It’s difficult to not notice the care and attention that this collection has been given. This is easily seen in the detail given to the main menu where each of the games is available. Pick any of the game and the game automatically resizes the screen to the ratio that best suits each game’s resolution. Each title that doesn’t fill the screen is given a subtle backdrop with artwork from that title.
The games themselves remain untouched and so are in the exact state that those who originally played them will remember them. It sure says something about the quality of games going all the way back to 1980 when they still remain relevant regardless of how much time has lapsed.
This is most prominent in the simplest titles such as the original Pac-Man. Perhaps it’s the basic goals that these games provide that makes them so appealing. That rush that comes from obtaining high scores and continuing to improve them. The satisfaction that derives from surviving another wave of pesky Ghost enemies.
It’s interesting to see Bandai Namco take a few risks by including lesser known Pac-Man titles such as Pac-Attack. In this title, it’s necessary to join falling yellow blocks – whilst using any Pac-Man icons to eat up rows of Ghosts. A quirky idea that is reminiscent of Sega’s Puyo Puyo series. It works really well and shows a new side to Pac-Man that will surely surprise players in a positive manner.
Another title, Pac-Land, sees the hero go on a side scrolling adventure. Admittedly it’s quite basic and it mostly consists of jumping over obstacles. However, the fact that it’s only part of a bigger collection means that more unique titles like it never overstay their welcome.
A pleasant surprise is the inclusion of fairly recent Pac-Man entries such as Pac-Man Championship. It shows that this is more than a quick attempt at capitalising on the upcoming title. If anything, it feels as if Bandai Namco is giving younger players a chance to see why Pac-Man has become such an iconic character in the world of video-games.
The true appeal of this collection is still trying to beat high scores for each titles. Even more so due to the fact that each game has its individual online leader board. But there are a few other incentives to keep players going. One of them is attempting to complete a stamp book filled with challenges that require different skill levels.
These challenges should keep players busy for a long time. There are also rewards for completing them. It’s a nice touch that most of these unlocked items seem to link back to the upcoming video-game and its cartoon currently being shown on TV. The player is given the option to place characters and even furniture based on the upcoming game; which players can view in the special “Pac Room”. It’s a decent idea and great for marketing, but the inclusion of artwork and so on would have also been a nice touch.
Overall, the collection manages to shows the best aspects of Pac-Man and possibly is also good value for money. There’s been a few times where some of these titles have been released individually, but being given the chance to play them all in one package is a fantastic idea. Even more so when they play and feel exactly as the originals.
Being given the ability of easily seeing the natural evolution of Pac-Man games in one go is also handy. Even more so as to witness how the games have gradually evolved into the dazzling neon coloured worlds found in the latest title included.
Bandai Namco demonstrates the best way to celebrate such a well known character that has been around for longer than most gamers reading this. The Pac-Man Museum is a celebration of the hero’s best adventures that will bring back fond memories to long time gamers. It should also most likely create a whole new generation of younger(or just new) fans who no doubt have been captivated by the new cartoon.
Long live the Pac-Man.