Tag Archives: Arcade games

“I’m Batman”, Part II

I’m still Batman.

Welcome back to part II of my retrospective look at the Batman games I grew up playing and even still play today.
We left off with one of the all time classic and best NES games, Batman: The Videogame, which was inspired by the Tim Burton film. But the NES game was not the last game based on the movie.

Batman arcade

Batman: This one was an arcade only game released in 1990. Developed by Numega and published by Atari Games.
This was a simple scrolling beat em’ up and featured scenes based on the 1989 movie as well as stages where you use the Batmobile and Batwing. The game also used voices and images taken directly from the movie as well as featuring Danny Elfman’s amazing Batman score.
With you playing as Batman patrolling the streets of Gotham trying to stop The Joker.

The game was shallow and repetitive…but it was also good mindless fun. It’s an arcade game and designed to eat up your loose change.

Batman arcade 2

For a scrolling beat em’ up, this was not a bad one at all. Not a great game, but it was good enough to warrant a play or several. Followed the film fairly closely too and was interspersed with scenes taken directly from the film.

As we leave Tim Burton’s Batman inspired games behind, Sunsoft just could not wait for the next film for their next Batman game.

Batman 2 Nes

Batman: Return of the Joker: The sequel to the NES Batman game that was based on the 1989 film. But this sequel NES game released in 1991 was made before the official Batman Returns movie sequel. (confused yet?)
Again Developed and published by Sunsoft.
There were various versions of this game released on other formats that all slightly differed from version to version, but it’s only the NES one I played.

Joker escapes Arkham Asylum and you playing as Batman having to survive through several side scrolling levels set in and around Gotham City. Batman is only equipped with a “Batgun” that fires various, selectable projectiles.

Batman 2 nes 2

I didn’t find this one as enjoyable as the previous NES Batman game, it just did not have the same feel. This one felt more like a scrolling shoot em’ up. It’s was not a bad game at all…just not as good as the previous one. Still as it was from Sunsoft, you can again expect some great music. Worth a look.

Next up we get an official game based on Tim Burton’s sequel film; Batman Returns.

Batman R

Batman Returns: Again, there were various version of this title. But I’m going for the SNES version for this retrospective as it was really damn good. Released in 1993, developed and published by Konami for the SNES.

Batman Returns was a scrolling beat em’ up with some really great little touches to add a lot of depth to this fairly shallow genre. Massively redundant and mindless…but it was also an awesome and satisfying experience.
Based on the film of the same name from Tim Burton, the game followed the film really well with you playing as Batman having to save Gotham City from Catwoman and the Penguin. The game also featured a stage where you get to use the Batmobile.

Very well received at the time and still fondly remembered as a great title.

Batman R 2

Simple in its style, but full of great little features and details. Like being able to grab 2 henchmen at once and smash their heads together (see above image), or being able to throw enemies into the background smashing windows and denting lampposts, etc. The game followed the film really well and was intercut with amazing cutscenes with written dialogue taken right from the film as well as using Danny Elfman’s infamous Batman score to great effect.
Another thing that I always remember is how you could save Selina Kyle in the game just like in the film…”you missed.”
Well worth playing through if you can.

I’m going to stick with the SNES for my next pick of Batman games, this time based on the animated TV series.

Batman animated

The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Was an action/platformer released in 1994 for the SNES. Developed and published by Konami and based on the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series.

You to play as Batman with Robin only appearing in cutscenes. Each level was based on one of the main villains with a rogues gallery like; The Joker, Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, The Scarecrow, The Riddler, Clayface and even Man-Bat. Each level had it’s own flavour and style based on each of the villains which in turn was based on an episode of the TV show itself.

Batman animated 2

A really great game. Dark, moody and well animated…just like the TV show it was based on. As each level had it’s own villain based aesthetic and style. The game brought a great mix of gameplay styles that offered plenty of variation from simple beat em’ up to head scratching puzzles.

Next I’m going to tackle one of the worst Batman games ever made.

Batman forever

Batman Forever: Was Released in 1995 for the SNES, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy and PC. Developed by Probe Entertainment and published by Acclaim. Lets be honest, it does not matter which version I talk about as they were all really, really, really bad.

Based on the third film in the Batman series of the same name. This game has you playing as either Batman or Robin, or even Co-Op 2 player…if you can find anyone that would want to play this game.
This was a side scrolling beat em’ up with some of the worst controls ever made in a game. Sluggish combat inspired by Mortal Kombat, awkward gadget selection and usage. Even bad level design with little to no idea of where to go or what to do.

Batman forever 2

I really have nothing to say here. It’s a terrible game and should be avoided at all costs, not even worth playing just for curiosity sake.
Lets move on…

Still, there was more from Batman Forever yet.

Batman forever arcade

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game: Also based on the movie of the same name, but not the same game as the previous version. Developed by Iguana Entertainment, Published by Acclaim and released in 1996. This was an arcade game but later ported to the Sega Saturn, Windows and PlayStation.

This was another one of those redundant scrolling beat em’ ups, but unlike the last Batman Forever game. This one was actually pretty decent. It was another mindless button mashing game and allowed you to play Co-Op as Batman and Robin trying to stop The Riddler and Two-Face.

Batman forever arcade 2

Decent action romp with a pretty good combo system allowing you to do a 150+ hit combo on one enemy if you knew how. Plenty of powerups, weapons and gadgets to use along the way.
It is an inane button masher, but it still has some playability value in there and it’s far, far, far better than that previous Batman Forever game.
Worth a quick look.

So ends part II, but I will return in part III with the next Batman game based on the next Batman film. Same Batwebsite…yeah, I already did that one eh?

btn_donate_LG

Advertisements

Service Games is 75 years old! Part II

We left off with Sega struggling after the game crash of 1983 with declining profits, despite a decent arcade presence, and an underwhelming first attempt at a home console with the SG-1000.
In 1985, Sega released its second home console in Japan, the Sega Mark III.

MK III

Does not look very familiar does it?
Well for the North American & European launch, the console was redesigned and retitled.

master system

The Sega Master System hit the American market in 1986 and Europe in 1987. Released to compete with Nintendo’s Famicom/NES. The Sega Master System launched with Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Alex Kidd was Sega’s first attempt at a gaming mascot to try and match Nintendo with Mario. Despite Alex Kidd appearing in several games and spin-offs, he never really took off as a mascot.
The Sega Master System itself was technically superior to Nintendo’s NES, it could not match sales of the NES in Japan or North America. However, it did fair better in Europe.

With a moderate success in the home market with The Sega Master System, SEGA carried on to strengthen their arcade library in the mid 80’s with games like OutRun (1986), After Burner (1987) and Power Drift (1989).

1989 would also see Sega release it’s successor to The Sega Master System.

megadrive

The Mega Drive (Genesis in North America) did not fare well in Japan against its main competitor, Nintendo’s Super Famicom. But, it did achieve greater success in North America and in Europe. Helping this success were several ports of some of Sega’s best arcade games as well as the introduction of a certain blue hedgehog.

sonic title

In 1991, Sega first introduced the world to Sonic The Hedgehog. A superfast platformer styled game that took the world by storm and finally SEGA had a bankable gaming mascot.
Sonic went on to star in several sequels and spinoffs on the Mega Drive and is even still a relevant gaming mascot today.
Sonic helped to sell even more consoles and give Sega it’s first real home market success with the Mega Drive/Genesis. The Mega Drive/Genesis also had several addons released for the console like the Mega CD and 32X to help extend the life of the machine.

Sega decided to follow up on the success of the Mega Drive/Genesis and try to muscle in on Nintendo’s handheld console market share held by the Gameboy. Sega released the portable Sega Game Gear in 1990.

Gamegear

The Sega Game Gear was essentially as Master System in handheld form using much if the same hardware.
Due to problems with a very short battery life, titles mainly being lazy ports, and poor first party support, the Game Gear was unable to come close to the success of Nintendo’s Game Boy despite the Game Gear being technically superior. The Game Gear was succeeded by the Sega Nomad (a portable Mega Drive/Genesis) in 1995.

But while they started to gain ground in terms of home market sales, Sega still maintained a strong arcade library through the 90’s especially with it’s “Virtua” series with titles; Virtua Racing (1992), Virtua Fighter (1993) and Virtua Cop (1994).

The mid 90’s saw the release of Sega’s next home console.

saturn

The Sega Saturn first hit the home market in 1994 in Japan and then in America and Europe in 1995.
The console was a moderate hit initially, but sales started to drop off fast due to the release of Nintendo’s N64 in 1996 and the rising popularity of Sony’s first home console, The PlayStation.
Sega also never released a Sonic game for the machine, which many feel is part of the reason the sales for the Saturn soon dropped off. There was one in development called; Sonic X-treme, but it was ultimately cancelled.
The Saturn did benefit from some great arcade ports like; Sega Rally Championship, The House of the Dead as well as ports of Sega’s Virtua arcade series of games and their sequels, but the console was only a moderate hit worldwide.

Not content with just arcade and home console gaming, Sega even opened their own amusement style theme parks in 1994 called; Joypolis.

Joypolis

Joypolis opened in Yokohama, Japan. Several Joypolis were opened in various cities in Japan with the parks featuring arcade games and rides based on existing SEGA IPs. A total of 8 Joypolis theme parks were opened. However, as of writing only 3 of the parks are still open today.
Other similar Sega based arcades and parks opened around the world. SegaWorld opened in the United Kingdom, China, Australia and Japan, but only a handful still remain in Japan. Plus; GameWorks was a joint venture between Sega, Universal Studios, and DreamWorks.

I’ll end here, but part III will cover Sega’s (probably) most popular and loved home console…and their last, as SEGA end their hardware reign and become a software only devloper.

btn_donate_LG

Service Games is 75 years old! Part I

Service logo

75 years is a big milestone in the gaming world and one worth celebrating.
So join me as I take a brief-ish look back on Service Games from their initial roots to where they are today.

But wait, let’s back up a little here….who the hell are Service Games and why do you not recognise the name?
Well what about if I wrote it like this: SErvice GAmes…

Founded in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1940. Service Games began by distributing coin-operated slot machines and jukeboxes. In 1951, the company moved to Tokyo, Japan and began to distribute basic coin-operated machines to American military bases in and around Japan.

David Rosen, an American officer in the US Air Force, launched a photo booth business in Tokyo sometime in 1954 and the Rosen Enterprises company was born. In 1957, Rosen Enterprises began importing coin-operated games into Japan.
By 1965, Rosen Enterprises developed a chain of arcades, with Service Games its only serious competitor at the time, but instead of battling it out as rivals. David Rosen instead suggested a merger between Rosen Enterprises and Service Games and became chief executive of the new company: Sega Enterprises which derived its name from Service Games and Rosen Enterprises.
In 1965 the now world famous Sega was created from those humble beginnings originated by Service Games 20 years previously.

Original logo

1966 saw the release of Sega Enterprises first ever in house developed coin-operated game; Periscope.

periscope

Periscope was a simple game as this was very early in the life of arcades and games. The player looked through a simulated submarine periscope to launch torpedoes at enemy ships. The ships were made from cardboard and would be moved mechanically via a drive chain, and the torpedoes were represented by simple coloured lights.
This simple arcade game was a huge success in Japan and was then exported to America and Europe the following year, where it again met with success.
Periscope is often considered a turning point for coin-operated games and even arcades as a whole.

David Rosen sold Sega Enterprises to American conglomerate Gulf and Western Industries in 1969, but Rosen stayed on as CEO of the Sega division. Sega continued to grow and prosper under Rosen and flourished very well from the arcade gaming craze in the late 1970s, with income reaching over $100 million by 1979.
Along with the changes came a new and familiar logo.

SEGA logo

In 1982 Sega introduced gamers to the world’s first commercial stereoscopic 3D game; SubRoc-3D.

SubRoc 3D

SubRoc-3D used a display that delivers individual images to each eye via a special eyepiece, a viewer with spinning discs to alternate left and right images to the player’s eyes from a single monitor. This gave the illusion that the in game images were coming towards to player.

Due to the game crash of 1983, Sega saw its profits drop from $214 million in 1982 to $136 million by the end of 1983. Also in 1983, Sega released its first ever home gaming console the SG-1000.

SG-1000

The SG-1000 was released as a competitor to the hugely successful Atari 2600. But the SG-1000 hardly made an impact and was poorly received overall.

While Sega’s first attempt at cracking the home market met with less than positive admiration, Sega still maintained a good arcade game presence in the late 70’s and early 80’s with titles like Frogger (1981) which Sega published in the U.S. Zaxxon (1982) which holds the distinction of being the first ever arcade game advertised on TV. Astron Belt (1983) which is said to be the world’s first laser disc based game, as well as all time classics like Hang-On & Space Harrier (1985).

The failure of the SG-1000 coupled with the declining profits of Sega and the video game crash of 1983 lead to Gulf and Western Industries eventually selling the U.S. assets of Sega Enterprises to pinball manufacturer Bally Manufacturing.
However, the Japanese assets of Sega Enterprises were brought by a group of investors led by David Rosen, Robert Deith, and Hayao Nakayama. Nakayama was a Japanese businessman who owned an arcade game distribution company called; Esco Boueki.
Hayao Nakayama became the new CEO of Sega Japan, Robert Deith Chairman of the Board, and David Rosen became head of its subsidiary in the United States. In 1984, a multibillion dollar Japanese conglomerate CSK bought Sega and headquartered it in Japan. David Rosen’s friend, Isao Okawa, the chairman of CSK, became chairman of Sega.

Here ends the first part of my retrospective of Sega, join me in part II where we’ll see the company rise from the ashes of the game crash of 1983 to become one of the biggest and most recognised names in gaming.

btn_donate_LG

Pac-Man Part VII

Well here we are…finally, at the end of my retrospective look back at Pac-Man’s entire 35 year gaming life.
If you have managed to make it through my Pac-Man game overview as well as my Happy Birthday bio and even managed to get through the whole multipart retrospecive…well done and thank you for reading.

pac

Here in this final part, I just want to give mention to some of the other games I didn’t cover in the main retrospective.
First the various Pac-Man compilations:

Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga: Class of 1981
Release date: 2001
System: Arcade

Pac-Man Collection
Release date: 2001
System: Game Boy Advance

Pac-Man: 25th Anniversary Arcade Machine
Release date: 2005
System: Arcade

Pac-Man Power Pack
Release date: 2008
System: PlayStation 2

Namco All-Stars: Pac-Man and Dig Dug
Release date: 2009
System: Windows PC

Pac-Man’s Arcade Party
Release date: 2010
System: Arcade

Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions
Release date: 2011
System: Nintendo 3DS

Dual Pack: Pac-Man World 3/Namco Museum DS
Release date: 2012
System: Nintendo DS

Pac-Man Museum
Release date: 2014
System: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC

Next up are compilations that feature Pac-Man in games, but not in the title:

Namco Museum 64
Release date: 1999
System: Nintendo 64

Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary
Release date: 2005
System: GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Windows PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox

Namco Museum Remix
Release date: 2007
System: Wii

Namco Museum DS
Release date: 2007
System: Nintendo DS

Namco Museum Virtual Arcade
Release date: 2009
System: Xbox 360

Moving onto iOS/Android games:

Pac-Man Remix
Release date: 2009
System: iPhone and iPod Touch

PAC-Match Party
Release date: 2010
System: iPod Touch and iPad

Pac-Chain
Release date: 2010
System: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Pac-Attack
Release date: 2010
System: iPhone and iPod Touch

Pac’N-Jump
Release date: 2011
System: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android

Pac-Chomp!
Release date: 2011
System: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad , Android and Kindle Fire

Pac-Man Games
Release date: 2012
System: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Pac-Man Kart Rally
Release date: 2012
System: Android and Kindle Fire

Pac-Man + Tournaments
Release date: 2013
System: Android

Pac-Man Dash!
Release date: 2013
System: iPhone, iPod Touch and Android

Pac-Man Monsters
Release date: 2014
System: iPhone, iPod Touch and Android

Pac-Man Friends
Release date: 2014
System: iPhone, iPod Touch and Android

Finish off with games Pac-Man has cameoed in:

Kick
Release date: 1981
System: Arcade

Mario Kart Arcade GP
Release date: 2005
System: Arcade

Mario Kart Arcade GP 2
Release date: 2007
System: Arcade

Space Invaders vs. Pac-Man
Release date: 2005
System: Mobile phone

QuickSpot
Release date: 2006
System: Nintendo DS

Body and Brain Connection
Release date: 2011
System: Xbox 360

Pac-Man S
Release date: 2011
System: Social facebook game

Everybody’s Golf 6
Release date: 2011
System: PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3

Street Fighter X Tekken
Release date: 2012
System: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita

Pac-Man Smash
Release date: 2012
System: Arcade

Mario Kart Arcade GP DX
Release date: 2013
System: Arcade

Namco High
Release date: 2013
System: Web Browser

Mario Kart 8
Release date: 2014
System: Wii U

Super Smash Bros.
Release date(s): 2014
System: Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

Galaga: TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition
Release date: 2015
System: iPhone, iPod Touch and Android

That just about covers every official appearance from Pac-Man aside from a few pinball machines that also featured Pac-Man.

Well, it’s been a long journey (and a long read/write). From 1980-2015, Pac-Man was the original gaming mascot that is still relevant, known and referenced even today. This ends Pac-Man’s 35th Birthday celebration on LBoG&M…and this also just so happens to be my 50th post.
It’s been a great 35 years with great games as well as not so great games. Pac-Man has appeared in various gaming genres from the simple maze running of the original, to platforming, to adventure games…and even a trivia based game.

Thanks for the memories Pac-Man.

Birthday pac

btn_donate_LG

Pac-Man Part IV

Here we are at the home console/computer Pac-Man titles and we start off with a classic puzzle take on the Pac-Man franchise.

Pattack banner

Pac-Attack: Using the same puzzle game style that was cemented into gaming history by Tetris. Pac-Attack hit various consoles in 1993 and was the first none arcade Pac-Man game released by Namco.

Simple enough premise and familiar with anyone (and who hasn’t) that has played Tetris.
The player controls and drops shapes consisting of Ghosts, Blocks, Pac-Man, and even a Fairy (if you fill the Fairy Meter) to the bottom of the play area. The objective is to not let the blocks overflow and reach the top of the play area. Trying to get Pac-Man to eat the ghosts, and make lines of blocks to shorten the amount of total blocks on the board. When Pac-Man eats a ghost, the Fairy Meter slowly fills up. Once the meter is filled up, a fairy will eventually be dropped. Once the fairy comes to a stop by landing on anything, it makes every ghost in the eight lines below it will disappear, often resulting in numerous lines being completed and even simplifying the board.

Pac-Attack also supports two other game modes; A 2-player mode where player 1 must eat the ghost Blinky, while player 2 must eat Sue, the purple ghost introduced in Pac-Mania. As players eat their ghosts and complete lines, they will drop ghosts on their opponent’s board which in turn can mess up their board and bringing them closer to the top and forcing them to lose.
There is even a puzzle mode, where the object is to smash all 100 stages by getting rid all of the ghosts on the board with the limited number of Pac-Man’s for each stage.

Pac-Attack was a really good fun Tetris-esque puzzle game and an enjoyable 2 player experience.
The game was originally released on the Sega Mega Drive and SNES with various other ports coming later including; Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Gear, CD-i, Virtual Console and even a “demake” for iOS.

With many Pac-Man games from 1980 to 1993 with varying titles…there still has not been a proper/official Pac-Man 2…

Pac-man 2

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures: This was a strange title, while officially the real and true sequel to the original Pac-Man, Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures was nothing like the original game it was the sequel to. namco released Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures in 1994 for the Sega Mega Drive and SNES.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures was a very different style and tone with the game utilizing a side scrolling, point n’ click adventure concept. The game uses a lot of certain elements and similar aesthetic from the Pac-Land arcade game and the Pac-Man animated TV series from the 80’s.

The player has no real direct control over Pac-Man himself. Pac-Man moves and interacts with the world, characters, and even the player on his own. The only directional command that can be given by the player to Pac-Man is the “Look” button, which makes Pac-Man look or turn in whichever direction is held on the control pad.
Instead, the player takes the role of an observer/overlooker. Instead of directly interacting with the world by a standard click interface, you are armed with a slingshot that can be used to indirectly affect or strike objects in the world making Pac-Man take notice of specific characters, obstacles and items. You can even use the slingshot on Pac-Man himself.

A unique and novel concept the featured was solutions to puzzles often depend on using Pac-Man’s wildly different and changing moods. Pac-Man’s mood can and will change in response to what he encounters in his environment, or the actions the player takes directly. For example; shooting down an apple from a tree for Pac-Man to eat will make him happier, whereas shooting him on the head will gradually anger him.
There are other moods as well, such as depression and fear, and these moods often have varying intensities and levels. If you make Pac-Man too happy, for example, will cause him to become haughty, which makes him braver, but also ruder and less cooperative to your direction. While often, negative moods will make progression difficult and can be difficult to change, sometimes these moods will be needed to progress through the game.
Pac-Man will be harassed by the classic and iconic ghosts; Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. When he encounters the ghosts, Pac-Man becomes paralyzed by fear, will run away and eventually faint. At these points in the game, you must feed Pac-Man a power pill, of which only 3 can be held at any one time. When Pac-Man sees the power pill and eats it, he becomes Super Pac-Man for a few seconds and flies across the screen, eating any ghosts in his way. Sometimes the ghosts may be guarding important objects needed to progress through the story.

There was even an arcade you could visit in the game and play a version of the original Pac-Man plus a bonus game if you collected pieces of a game cartridge. The unlockable bonus game for the SNES version was Ms. Pac-Man. While the Sega Mega Drive version had a different game called Pac-Jr, which was an all new Pac-Man game and not a conversion of the unauthorized arcade game Jr. Pac-Man from Midway.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures was a mixed bag with many people yearning for the classic Pac-Man style back. But others really enjoyed the unique and innovative gameplay change and style.

The next Pac-Man game would again use a new idea instead of the classic Pac-Man maze styled gameplay people knew and loved.

Pac in time title

Pac-In-Time: Developed by Kalisto, published by Namco and released just a short time after Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures. Pac-In-Time uses a side-scrolling notion and was a rebranding of one of Kalisto’s other games: Fury of the Furries. The game was released for the SNES, Game Boy, DOS and Macintosh.

Pac-Man that has transported him back in time by the Ghost Witch. Pac-Man must fight his way back through various levels to get back to present day.

You control Pac-Man as he works his way through five different worlds, with each world containing 10 different levels. Each level contains around 30 pellets that must be found in before you can move onto the next one.
The end of each level is marked with a door that will only open once all of the required pellets have been collected. There are various enemies throughout the game Pac-Man has to contend with and they are mostly contextually connected to the theme of each world. But Pac-Man will also run across his age old enemies, the ghosts, who will appear frequently throughout each level and chase after Pac-Man. But along with the ghosts comes their weakness, the power pills, which Pac-Man can eat and then take on his mortal enemies.

Reception towards this game was mostly positive but a few reviewers did make note of the difficulty. Pac-In-Time was a fun little title and yet another new gaming genre that Pac-Man appeared in.

As we leave Pac-Man’s time travelling adventure behind, we join Pac-Man for his 20th Birthday.

Pac world cover

Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary: Was released at the end of 1999 to coincide with…as the title suggests, Pac-Man’s 20th anniversary. Developed and published by Namco, Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary was originally released on the Playstation and eventually ported to the Game Boy Advance.

Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary was Pac-Man’s first proper 3D game and offered a pseudo-open world environment and a platform style gaming genre.

Pac-Man arrives home on his 20th birthday only to discover that his friends & family; Ms. Pac-Man, Baby Pac, Jr. Pac, Professor Pac, Chomp Chomp the dog, and Pooka have all been kidnapped by the evil Toc-Man. Toc-Man is a giant robot Pac-Man impersonator that was created by Orson, who is trying to steal Pac-Man’s identity. Pac-Man sets off to Ghost Island and works to free his friends & family.

The game is a standard 3D platformer that celebrates and plays heavily into the history of the Pac-Man character. Every non-boss level features a maze that plays by the rules of the original Pac-Man game from 1980.
Every level is littered with pellets, fruits and ghosts, plus most of the music is modified and remixed from early entries into the series and even the original Pac-Man arcade game was available for play from the menu screen.

Pac-Man is given a handful of standard platform maneuvers, including a “butt-bounce”, which was very similar to Mario’s ground pound and the “rev-roll” which was pretty much a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog’s spin-dash.
Pac-Man could also use the pellets he picks up offensively by throwing them at non-ghost enemies. Just as in the original game, Pac-Man can collect power pills allowing him to eat ghosts for a short amount of time.

Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary was a great celebration of the classic gaming character with nods to his heritage while staying fresh for the modern era of the time.

Next up would be another puzzle based game and the return of “her indoors”.

Ms. Pac MM

Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness: Originally released on the Playstation in 2000 and later ported to the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and Game Boy Advance. Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness was a return to the puzzle game genre and also brought back Ms. Pac-Man as the star.

Professor Pac learns that the evil forces have taken control of the Enchanted Castle by using black magic. The princess has disappeared and a witch named Mesmerelda is planning on stealing all four Gems of Virtue to control the four areas of Pac-Land. These four areas each have enemies in them, and are blocked by mysterious force fields. Professor Pac creates a device called the Pactrometer, which allows Ms. Pac-Man to go to these areas and recover the gems before Mesmerelda can get them first.
However, the Professor gets sucked in a mirror by the witch, leaving Ms. Pac-Man with the Pactrometer. As she journeys through the areas, she is helped by video messages that the Professor placed in the Pactrometer, and by holograms of Professor Pac himself.

You must navigate a series of mazes controlling Ms. Pac-Man. Along the way, you’ll encounter various obstacles like; moving blocks, exploding boxes, and even locked doors. To help Ms. Pac-Man along the way, there is ‘Pellet Radar’ to locate missing pellets you will need before being allowed to reach the next section of a level.
Placed about the maze are such devices as spring tiles used to jump over the walls of the maze and sometimes on top of them, switches, keys, hearts for health and power pills used in the classic way to allow Ms. Pac-Man to eat all the enemies in the area for a limited time.

As you progresses, you must eat the yellow pellets scattered about each area, once you have eaten enough of these a door will open which allows you to reach a new section of that area. Each area has its own amount of pellets, as well as food bonuses such as fruit and pretzels. If the player can get all of these bonus items, as well as reaching the exit of the areas they are rewarded with a Gold Star. Earning enough stars will unlock various features such as bonus rounds and a Movie Player to watch the game’s animated cutscenes.
After beating the two in-game bosses, the player receives the Witch’s Key which allows them to unlock various locations in the earlier areas. However, the game requires the player to beat the bosses twice in order to see the game’s ending.

Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness even allowed you to play the original arcade version of Ms. Pac-Man from the main menu.

The reception for Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness was mainly positive but it was aimed at a more casual gamer.

For the next Pac-Man game, we would return to the original but with a few new twists.

Pac adventres IT cover

Pac-Man: Adventures in Time: Was only released for Windows. Developed by Creative Asylum and published by Namco via Hasbro Interactive. The game features five worlds or time-periods, set over forty 3D mazes.

Pac-Man: Adventures in Time was a return to the classic maze Pac-Man style from the original game but now using the 3D graphics style that was popular at the time.

Under orders from the villainous Mollusc, ghosts Inky and Clyde steal a magical power pill known as the artifact that has kept Pac-Land free from evil. Mollusc smashes the artifact and in a mighty explosion of power, its four fragmented pieces are scattered across time and space.
The player’s challenge as Pac-Man is to retrieve the artifact’s four pieces from the now ghost-infested time periods and return them to the present. Professor Pac-Man prepares an unpredictable, hastily constructed Time Machine to help Pac-Man on his quest.

The gameplay is really a remake of the very first, original Pac-Man from 1980, but hey it’s a classic.
With the simple maze running gameplay, pellet eating, ghost avoiding, etc. The ability to jump from Pac-Mania returns which is useful for bypassing bypassing hazards and avoiding enemies. Some levels contain obstacles such as deadly boulders, animals who delay or even kill Pac-Man, and explosive projectiles. The levels also feature a variety of shapes and architectural features such as cylindrical mazes, canopies, bridges, pyramids, and even walls that allow Pac-Man to walk vertically. Also a feature is collecting a certain number of pellets to unlock other areas of a maze.

The various time frames Pac-Man finds himself in are;
Prehistoric: This era features the Ghosts as Cavemen, Dinosaurs, Fire Monsters, and Birds.
Ancient Egypt: This era has the Ghosts as Thieves, Merchants, Jackals, Egyptian Guards, High Priests and Egyptian Gods and cobras that will strike Pac-Man.
Middle Ages: This time age features the Ghosts as Peasants, Living Mushrooms, Knights, Dragonoids, Jesters, and Skeletons. There is even a sleeping dragon that will attack once it wakes up.
Wild West: This time frame has the Ghosts as Outlaws, Conductors, and Miners and rattlesnakes that will strike Pac-Man when they are disturbed.
Future: The final time zone features the Ghosts as Robots, Scientists and Aliens.

Pac-Man: Adventures in Time is classic Pac-Man done very well indeed. The original style is still there with a nice blend of Pac-Mania along with a few new features and ideas thrown into the mix.

Ms. Pac-Man takes the limelight in the next game…but she really shouldn’t have bothered.

Ms. Pac golden

Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze: Was again a return to the classic Pac-Man original, but this time with Ms. Pac-Man taking the lead. Developed by Namco and published by Atari/Infogrames, again this was a PC/Windows exclusive released in 2001.

One day, Professor Pac is talking to Ms. Pac-Man. He tells her about the Golden Maze in Cleopactra, in the Temple of Dots. He says that only a true pacventurer can get to the maze and beat it. Ms. Pac-Man sets off to the Golden Maze to beat it, but Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Sue try to get in her way.

This was again a simple maze game that harped back the the glory days of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. But unlike the previous attempt, Pac-Man: Adventures in Time, this game got everything wrong and seemed like it was rushed out.
There’s not much to say about this game as it didn’t really do anything worth talking about. But if you want to see Pac-<Man done badly…this is the game for you.

I'll end this part of my retrospective here on this sour note. But part V will bring a return to form for Pac-Man with some underrated gems.

btn_donate_LG

Pac-Man Part III

With Midway no longer a part of the Pac-Man franchise in terms of development, it was upto Namco to carry on this franchise and hopefully breathe new life into Pac-Man and his legacy.

Pac-land banner

Pac-Land: Released in August 1984 by Namco we got to experience Pac-Land. A radical departure from the classic maze based games Pac-Man had become famous for. Now Pac-Man is platform based and inspired by the Pac-Man animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera.

The concept behind Pac-Land itself is for Pac-Man to get a fairy to safety by taking back to Fairyland and then returning home, split into “trips”. These trips involves Pac-Man moving from left to right avoiding various obstacles such as the classic enemy ghosts, water spurts, even quicksand traps and water.
Each trip is divided into a number of rounds, the end of which provides Pac-Man with bonus points depending on how much time he has left and also his position in jumping at the end of each round.

The penultimate round of a trip ends with Pac-Man entering Fairyland and returning the fairy to the Fairy Queen. Then the Fairy Queen awards Pac-Man with a pair of magic boots. The final round of the trip has Pac-Man trying to return home by traveling back the way you came from right to left. Pac-Man can use the magic boots the Fairy Queen gave him to jump repeatedly while in mid-air. Once Pac-Man completes the trip and returns home, he is greeted by Ms. Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man and even Pac-Man’s cat and dog in the cartoon series, Sour Puss and Chomp-Chomp.
Pac-Man then begins his next trip following the same objectives as before, although the difficulty increases.

There are still power pills to eat so you can chase the ghosts. The Galaxian ship makes another appearance in the form of a bonus for extra points.
You could also find hidden bonuses in the game like; pushing a certain obstacles in the opposite direction (at the risk of the ghosts getting you) can give extra lives, invincibility, and balloons to collect for points or even reveal warps. Eating ghosts in a certain order will give extra time.

Pac-Land was a refreshing change and a great game to play. A good, solid return for Pac-Man after the dismal Professor Pac-Man before it.

Namco had hit gold with Pac-Land by bringing back Pac-Man but in an all new concept. What would they have install for our little yellow heor next?

Mainia banner

Pac-Mania: Was a return to the classic Pac-Man idea, released by Namco in 1987. Using an isometric view and features many of the elements from the original 1980 Pac-Man arcade game, as well as several new features.

Pac-Mania’s objective is a simple one and one familiar if you had played any of the original Pac-Man games. Clear each stage of pellets while avoiding ghosts, just now using an isometric viewpoint. Everything that worked in the original Pac-Man is here including the power pills.

Pac-Mania brings with it a few new features and significant differences from the original Pac-Man. Most notable was the pseudo-3D, isometric view. Pac-Man can now also jump with the press of a button which would allow Pac-Man to evade ghosts by jumping over them. However, Pac-Man cannot quite so easily jump over the two new green and gray ghosts as they will jump whenever the player attempts a jump.

Pac-Mania takes place in four distinct environments including: a Block Town with a Lego-esque style, Pac-Man’s Park which was the classic Pac-Man look, Sandbox Land in which the walls are made up from pyramids and Jungly Steps which was a maze with no walls but paths resembling a set of steps that rise up toward the back of the maze.

Well received by gamers, Pac-Mania was a return to classic Pac-Man with just enough new features to keep you entertained.

Pac-Man seemed to be back…but he would not grace another arcade game for almost 10 years…

Pac arrangement

Pac-Man Arrangement: Was a remake of the original Pac-Man game and was released in 1996 by Namco.

Just as with the original Pac-Man, Pac-Man Arrangement was a simple maze game in which the objective is to clear all the pellets by eating them and avoiding the ghosts.
While Pac-Man Arrangement used the basics of the original Pac-Man game, it also added plenty of new ideas to keep you entertained:
There was a new ghost Kinky, which can combine with other ghosts to form more powerful ghosts. These new hybrid ghosts have unique special abilities and would be twice the size of the normal ghosts.
For the second level of every world there are single-use dash arrows on the floor. These would allow Pac-Man to go from one end of the maze to the other rapidly. If you touched a ghost while using one of these panels, they would become dizzy and temporarily stunned. However, if Pac-Man go over the dash arrow in the opposite direction to which it is pointing, Pac-Man would slow down and be left vulnerable.
Each fourth level of each world feature coloured “Warp Gates” that allow Pac-Man as well as the ghosts to travel across the maze. Simply touching a Warp Gate will transport whoever touched it to the corresponding Warp Gate of the same colour on the other side of the map.
There were also additional power up items that would randomly appear. Power ups included; a red power-up which makes Pac-Man move faster, a Pink Power up that would send ghosts into a magic sack within the ghost house and render them temporarily immobile. The Blue Power up makes Pac-Man have his own reflection at the opposite place in the maze that can also eat dots but is immune to ghosts. The mini Pac-Man item gave you an extra life and the magic wand transformed the ghosts in the maze into harmless presents.

The game was split into six different worlds, numbered 0 to 5. Each world had a unique maze pattern, colour scheme, and difficulty level. Each world had four levels within it, except for World 0 which only has two. As you travel from world to world, the ghosts get faster and faster, and Kinky appears more and more.

The game also featured a nice 2 player Co-Op mode with the second player controlling a green Pac-Man.

Pac-Man Arrangement even introduced a boss battle which would appear after you complete Level 4 in World 5. The ghosts Clyde, Pinky, Inky and Blinky all get inside a machine. In this stage, you must avoid the machine and the Kinky clones that the machine throws out while you try to eat all the pellets. Each set of the clones is coloured in the ghosts’ familiar: red, pink, cyan and orange. A bomb would appear that when eaten, will destroy all clones of a certain colour. The first bomb destroys all the red clones, the second one destroys the pink, and so on up to the orange. When the final orange clone was dealt with, the machine with the ghosts still inside then places a new set of green pellets on the maze. These new green pellets are not eaten by Pac-Man but instead as you pass over them, they are launched at the machine and damage it. After so much damage from the pellets, the ghosts inside the machine start turning blue. Once all four of the ghosts turn blue, the machine starts whirling about the stage. Once all the pellets are eaten, a Pac-Man icon appears. Eating the Pac-Man icon destroys the machine and the game ends.

Pac-Man Arrangement was an interesting new take on the classic Pac-Man formula and was a fun game to play.

What came next was not to be expected at all.

Pac VR

Pac-Man VR: This was not what anyone expected or even wanted. Released in 1996 during that mid 90’s obsession with Virtual Reality. Pac-Man VR was exactly what is sounds like, a Virtual Reality Pac-Man developed by VR company Virtuality.

I really have very little to say about this one, even less than Professor Pac-Man.
It’s a VR Pac-Man game, I never liked the VR concept and still do not.

It was released in the arcades and failed miserably…probably due to the ridiculous cost to play the game. At $5 for just five minutes of play, people didn’t want to pay that much to play Pac-Man…and that is all it was, Pac-Man. No new features or ideas, just Pac-Man in VR.
This was about as good an idea as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy.

So putting that horrible mess behind us, lets move onto the (so far) final Pac-Man arcade game.

PM BR banner

Pac-Man Battle Royale: Hit arcades in 2011, developed by Namco Bandai Games. The game was originally created to be released in 2010 as part of Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary celebrations, but it was delayed until 2011.

Pac-Man Battle Royale is (as of writing) the final game to be released in the Pac-Man franchise in arcades.
Using the same basic premise as the original Pac-Man, Pac-Man Battle Royale brought the option of 4 player simultaneous play with each player controlling a different coloured Pac-Man all on the same screen, with the goal of trying to eat your opponent or try to lead the ghosts into eating them. Or playing in single player, the game will use a CPU controlled Pac-Man that would hinder the player.
The game can be set between three and nine rounds with the last remaining Pac-Man being the round winner.

Pac-Man Battle Royale was a fun, little battle game in the same vein as Hudson Soft’s Bomberman series but with a Pac-Man element.

This ends the Pac-Man arcade games and part III of my retrospective.
In part IV I will cover the home console/computer Pac-Man games.

btn_donate_LG

Pac-Man Part II

Welcome back to my multi-part retrospective look at the Pac-Man franchise.
We left off with another unauthorised Pac-Man game with Pac-Man Plus from Midway, so lets carry on from there.

Baby pac banner

Baby Pac-Man: Was yet another Pac-Man game from Midway which was again not authorized by Pac-Man’s original developer Namco. Released in October 1982, Baby Pac-Man really brought a few new ideas to the franchise…but were they good ideas?

Baby Pac-Man was really two games in one. With play starting out as you’d expect from a Pac-Man game, simple maze with pellets to collect as normal, but without the infamous power pills that would allow you to eat the ghosts. This was displayed on the upper screen with another pinball mode underneath.
The game’s mazes were instantly recognisable and easy to understand if you had played a previous Pac-Man game with one exception, the addition of 2 chutes at the bottom of the screen. If you lead Baby Pac-Man down either of these 2 chutes, the game would switch to the lower pinball mode which would operate just as a traditional pinball game. The player could play pinball to earn power pills, gain fruit bonuses. All of which would be used in the standard video mode. If the player fails to keep the ball in play, the game resumes on the video screen but with the chutes closed. To reopen the chutes, you must then either gobble all remaining pellets or be killed by a ghost.

The game was quite a refreshing change. Still keeping the traditional Pac-Man formula but adding the pinball concept meant something familiar and new at the same time.
Due to its unorthodox design and concept, a Baby Pac-Man working arcade cabinet has become a collectors item and quite rare.

Midway still released two more unauthorised Pac-Man games.

Jnr pac banner

Jr. Pac-Man: Was released January 1983 and was Midway’s penultimate Pac-Man game and another game created without the authorization of Namco.

Jr. Pac-Man was probably the first game in the series that really brought a lot more new idea and features to the franchise than ever before.
While the same basic gameplay remains of you controlling the titular character around a maze, having to clear the maze of all the pellets while being chased by ghosts. Some of the new gameplay features include:
The mazes are now two times the width of the screen, meaning the camera scrolls left & right through the mazes to keep up with Jr. Pac-Man as he moves around.
Just as in the previous games, bonus items would appear in each round, they would bounce around the maze as in Ms. Pac-Man previously. But an item touches the pellets, it changes them into larger pellets that are worth 50 points instead of the standard 10 however, they would also slow down Jr. Pac-Man as he eats them.
If an item encounters an power pill, it would self-destruct, taking the power pill with it.
If Jr. Pac-Man should die, all larger pellets will disappear from the maze.
There were also a handful of cosmetic changes:
Clyde has been replaced by a another ghost named Tim.
The game’s cutscenes focus a developing relationship between Jr. Pac-Man and a small red ghost named Yum-Yum.

But returning from the original Pac-Man was the infamous Kill Screen, this time it would kick in at the 146th stage and caused the game to display an invisible maze that does not contain any dots.

Jr. Pac-Man was an interesting change to the formula and was also well received by players at the time.

While Midway had one more unauthorised Pac-Man game to come, it was original creator’s Namco turn up next.

Pac & pal banner

Pac & Pal: This was Namco’s next Pac-Man game in the franchise and their first since the mediocre Super Pac-Man. Released in July 1983 and exclusively in Japan, Pac & Pal brought a few new ideas along with a new character.

Pac & Pal featured a similar concept to Super Pac-Man but tweaked many of the ideas. The object of the game is for Pac-Man to eat all the items in the maze and avoid being caught by the ghosts. Many of the items are from the original Pac-Man game. The items would have to first be unlocked by turning over cards scattered around the maze.

The “Pal” in Pac & Pal was in reference to Miru, a small female ghost. When you would unlock an item, Miru would wander around the maze, giving Pac-Man some time to try to reach the items. After some time, Miru would take items into the ghost’s house, where it will be lost forever. However, this could help the player in clearing the maze as and if Miru brings the last item there, it would automatically finish the round. Due to the ability of using this to your advantage, this may be the reason why she is known as “Pal”.
Miru was altered to Chomp-Chomp, Pac-Man’s dog from the animated cartoon series in some versions and the game was called Pac-Man & Chomp Chomp.

Something else new Pac & Pal did was the removal of the power pellets. They were replaced with stage specific bonus items, which are displayed at the bottom of the screen after each new stage is reached. These included the Galaxian ship, the Rally-X car, a trumpet, a snowman, and even other Pac-Men.
When Pac-Man obtained these bonus items, Pac-Man becomes blue, and momentarily has the power to spit a ray, smoke, musical notes, freezing rays and miniaturized versions of himself (respective of the bonus picked up) at the ghosts. This stuns them and Pac-Man can pass right through.

The third round and every fourth round thereafter is a bonus round, in which the maze only contains cards that will yield an increasing number of points when turned over. When Pac-Man turns over the card with Miru under it, players receive a bonus multiplying twice as their bonus score when the round is over. The card with Blinky under it causes the round to be over.

Very few Pac & Pal cabinets still exist today, making this is possibly one of the rarest Pac-Man titles to find in playable format outside Japan.

The game was a big improvement over Namco’s last effort, Super Pac-Man but still not as enjoyable as the original Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man. But up next is Midways final unauthorised entry into the Pac-Man franchise.

Proff pac banner

Professor Pac-Man: This was the most derivative Pac-Man game yet and took the series in a very different direction. Released in August of 1983 and the final unauthorized Pac-Man game from Midway before Namco ended their partnership.

Professor Pac-Man was nothing more than a simple trivia game, with the titular Professor Pac-Man asking you the player (or “pupil” s the game called you) to solve simple visual puzzles within a short time limit.
The game is for one player or two and was just a case of answering multiple-choice questions before the time runs out. The timer is the original Pac-Man doing what he does best, eating a row of pellets. The more pellets left when/if the player answers correctly, the higher the scores awarded. The game would end when a player runs out of fruits/lives.

There’s really not too much to say here. It was a trivia game with a Pac-Man aesthetic.
The game was not received well at all, probably due to the radical change of its abandonment of the famous maze-based gameplay that made the previous titles so popular.

I’ll end part II here as it seems right to start a fresh after the disappointing Professor Pac-Man and now with Midway out of the picture. Original developer Namco would be the ones to develop Pac-Man games from now on…but would they be any good?
See you in part III.

btn_donate_LG