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For: 3DS   Also on: Mobile, Windows Phone

It could do with a power pill or two

Product: Pac-Man | Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Namco Bandai Europe | Publisher: Namco Bandai Europe | Format: 3DS | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Pac-Man 3DS, thumbnail 1
Having arrived in arcades in the '80s, Namco's circular pill-muncher Pac-Man made his way over to Nintendo's NES home console in '84.

He's changed over the years. He's gone up against ghosts in platforming titles, starred in a multi-screened multiplayer game, and even turned into a car for Ridge Racer. But Namco's yellow spherical fellow is still primarily known for just two things: eating pills and chasing ghosts.

Now, thanks to this latest 3DS Virtual Console release, you can play Pac-Man in its original, pill-eating, ghost-chasing NES form all over again - except now you can do it on the move.

Waka, Waka, Waka

If you've managed to get this far through life without ever coming into contact with Pac-Man, the aim of the game is to gobble up all those yellow pellets around the maze without colliding with the four ghosts - Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde.

Picking up the bigger flashing 'power pills' turns all the ghosts blue, and stops them from chasing you - thus allowing you to gobble them up for extra points alongside the occasional pieces of fruit that blink into existence.

As you progress through each stage, the four ghosts become far faster, and eventually turn invincible - thus making for some incredibly nerve-wrecking gameplay.

Dulled with age

The 3DS's screen makes this all look rather nice and sharp compared with the blurry sprites you'd find if you plugged in your NES original. But the gameplay would be just as primitive.

It still remains fun in short bursts, but Pac-Man just isn't paced or designed well enough to compete with the best that contemporary gaming has to offer.

While perfect for short bus rides or a quick five or ten minute blast when you get the chance, Pac-Man on Virtual Console feels just a little bit obsolete in the modern age. If you really must play it, you can certainly pick it up for less on a smartphone - but chances are you'll also find far better things to play there anyway.
Reviewer photo
Vaughn Highfield | 18 March 2013
For Pac-Man enthusiasts who really must have this on every device they own only. As far as everyone else is concerned, there are far better things to play when you're out and about
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Feb 2013
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@xxxAcesHighxxx | 10:47 - 18 March 2013
As far as I'm concerned, the best handheld version of Pac-Man is unquestionably Pac-Man Championship Edition on the Playstation Minis service - I have it on my Vita, and it's an absolute blast. What's more, I've downloaded dozens of PSP games on my Vita, and this one makes the most of the vastly superior OLED screen. You'd swear blind it's a native Vita title. Yup, it really is that good..!!