Review by Retro

"Probably my favorite classic arcade game"

There's no doubt about it, I've played Ms. Pac-Man more than I have any other arcade game by a huge margin. This compelling sequel is a lot like Pac-Man, except a lot better.

The object of the game is still the same as it was in the groundbreaking original that's called Pac-Man. Your job is to guide Ms. Pac-Man through the maze and eat all the dots in order to be promoted to the next level. There are still four ghosts that Ms. Pac-Man has to keep an eye, or a mouth, out for. If any ghost catches her she will lose a life faster than you can say indigestion.

In each of the four corners of the maze, there is a flashing power pellet that Ms. Pac-Man can eat in order to make the ghosts turn a dark shade of blue, which makes them scared of her for a few seconds. The reason the ghosts go from being overly aggressive toward the mysterious yellow critter (Ms. Pac-Man) to being scaredy ghosts is because she will now be able to eat them while they are in their blue, frowning phase. But watch out because when they start to flash, that means they are fixing to turn back into their usual deadly selves. As the game straddles along, the ghosts keep getting faster and more challenging. When you reach the meager platform of 10,000 points, you'll get a much-needed extra life.

So now you know that the basics in this game are exactly the same as they are in Pac-Man. But are there any updates or anything that is different? Yes, there are a bunch updated differences that make this sequel even better than Pac-Man.

First and best of all, there are more mazes instead of just the same one the entire game, which is the case with Pac-Man. Once you get through a few stages, the maze will change to a completely different one. Second, a piece of fruit in Pac-Man appears from time to time in the middle of the maze and patiently stays in place waiting for the pacster to devour it. In Ms. Pac-Man, the fruit comes alive and hops around the maze, daring you to chase it down before it goes into one of the portals and disappears into eternity. Finally, this isn't really a difference in the gameplay, but for some reason the name of the orange ghost is no longer Clyde, it is Sue. Could Sue be Clyde's twin? I don't think anybody knows the answer; it might as well be the 10th wonder of the world (the 9th wonder was in Pac-Man).

But wait, that's not all. Pac-Man had some cinemas, but the ones in Ms. Pac-Man are better. After you pass so many levels in Ms. Pac-Man, the game will show a cool cinema such as Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man meeting for the first time, Jr. Pac-Man being born (get your mind out of the gutter), and a few others. These cinemas are entertaining, but the best thing about them is that they give you a minute to stretch and catch a breather before challenging the next level.

All of these great extras make Ms. Pac-Man a million times better than Pac-Man, in my opinion. Something else that I've noticed about the Ms. Pac-Man arcade machines is the speed of them. The main reason I've played Ms. Pac-Man more than any other arcade game is not only because it's loads of fun and because I always want to try to get the high score every time I see it, but because it is FAST!

I don't really understand it, but in some of the Ms. Pac-Man arcade machines, Ms. Pac-Man is extremely fast, and those are the ones I like playing the most by far. But in a few of the other Ms. Pac-Man machines, Ms. Pac-Man moves real slowly (normal speed), about the same speed as Pac-Man moves in the Pac-Man arcade game. I guess there's some way to program the game to where it is either fast or regular speed. If you ever see the chance to experience playing Ms. Pac-Man, I recommend playing the fast version of it to get the most fun out of it, but the slower, or regular speed one is fun as well.

GRAPHICS - The graphics in Ms. Pac-Man are about the same as those in Pac-Man, but maybe a little better. Since there are different mazes, there is a better variety of graphics and colors in Ms. Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man herself, the ghosts, the cinemas, and the fruit are all colorful and well done. 8/10

SOUND - The sounds in Ms. Pac-Man also have more variety and are better than the ones in Pac-Man. There are now a few extra sounds such as fruit bouncing around, the cinema sequences, and improved sounds such as when Ms. Pac-Man eats a ghost. 10/10

CONTROL - The control is as perfect as it could be. Whether you play the fast or regular speed version of this game, you won't have any trouble guiding Ms. Pac-Man around the mazes. All you have to do is move the joystick in the direction you want to move. You don't have to press any buttons except to choose whether to play a one-player or two-player game when you first put your quarter in the slot. 10/10

REPLAY VALUE - What can you say? This is a Pac-Man game, and probably the best game in the series at that! Ms. Pac-Man is one of the most popular, if not the most popular of the good old arcade classics and it is a lot of fun to play anytime and any day of the year. It will keep you coming back for more! 10/10

OVERALL - Ms. Pac-Man is probably my favorite arcade game of all time. After playing it for over 15 years, I can honestly say that I haven't ever got tired of playing it and I never will! Finally getting a little over 200,000 points was one of my favorite memories that I have of playing video games. Giving Ms. Pac-Man a perfect score is one of the easiest decisions I've ever had to make in my life. 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/09/01, Updated 05/20/02


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