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Pac-Man Championship Edition

For: Mobile   Also on: PSP

The Pac is back

Product: Pac-Man Championship Edition | Developer: Namco Bandai Games | Publisher: Namco Bandai Networks Europe | Format: Mobile | Genre: Conversion, Retro | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 512KB | Reviewed on: N81 8GB other handsets | Version: Europe
Pac-Man Championship Edition Mobile, thumbnail 1
It sounds easy and obvious, making a new version of Pac-Man for the mobile. And indeed it is. It's been done enough times, after all.

The challenge now is in coming up with a good enough reason for gamers to bother buying the dot muncher all over again, given that he's been through every conceivable incarnation since he appeared in 1980.

There's been little or no excitement surrounding his latest return to the gaming scene in Pac-Man Championship Edition, which is a shame considering it's almost his 30th birthday.

It's even more of a shame when you actually play it, since this is a mobile game that's very deserving of a cacophonous fanfare. Namco Bandai has managed to sledgehammer in every quality required of a first rate retro remake.

Pac-Man Championship Edition is a complete return to the basics of the game that caused Japanese coin shortages all those years ago. It forgoes the essentially flawed efforts to thrash Pac-Man into the third dimension, or inject some kind of sickeningly child-friendly sugar syrum into his veins. This is old skool maze running, dot chomping retro action.

Of course, we've seen all this before, and that's where the developer has really put the effort in. While you'd be forgiven for thinking there was no conceivable way to alter the essentials of play in a simplistic game like this, that doesn't mean it can't be enhanced.

The most prevalent difference is in the objective. Simply clearing the dots is not what you're attempting to achieve. Rather, your task is to shore up as many points as possible within a given time limit.

On top of this the arrangements of the maze walls and the number of available dots (and power pills, of course) changes during continuous play. So once you've cleared a few lines of dots, more will appear on the other side of the labyrinth, along with fruit to help boost your score and take you out of the way as the maze reconfigures.

The ghosts are still hot on your heels, naturally, which coupled with the time limit makes for a far more hectic version of Pac-Man than we've ever seen before.

Extra wide mazes, difficult to reach dots, varying numbers of power pills and a host of other subtle yet surprisingly important tweaks to the classic gameplay make Pac-Man Championship Edition fresh, exciting and fast.

Another tiny but essential quirk is found in cornering. Pac-Man isn't exactly popularised as a racing game, but when you step back for a moment and take a look, it's easy to see how the game adheres to many of the genre's principles.

Now we see sparks flying from Pac-Man as you push against the maze walls when approaching a corner. Doing so at just the right moment makes the dot muncher take the bend faster, which really ramps up the action when the ghosts are in hot pursuit.

The beautiful special effects that overlays the classic visuals puts some dazzling neon icing on this unexpectedly delicious retro cake, so if you're hungry for some hot arcade nourishment, look no further than Pac-Man Championsip Edition.
Pac-Man Championship Edition
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 9 July 2009
Finally, a retro remake that pays sincere homage to the original game, while still putting the contemporary platform to full and efficient use. To say this is a definitive version of Pac-Man is quite a claim, given the number of times he's been trawled out of the gaming cupboard, but that's precisely what it is
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