Review by Jerrynsteph4eva

"Anachronistic in a way, yet still a blast."

Anyone can tell you who Pac-Man is. Pac-Man was the undisputed king of games in the early eighties. He not only revolutionized gaming, he created a brand new genre and went down in history as one of the most revolutionary games of all time. Pretty much every gamer has fond memories of eating yellow dots and avoiding ghosts. However, times have changed and gaming is no longer the same as the days of the arcades. The real question is as follows: how does Pac-Man stand up in the current generation? The short answer? Pretty good, though don't expect any more revolutions out of this one.

Pac-Man World 2 is not your father's Pac-Man game. When I read the box, I was surprised to find that Pac-Man was no longer chomping up edible dots in mazes anymore but rather staring in his on 3D platformer. Does Pac-Man make the transition well? Yes, but like I said earlier, there's nothing in this game that will revolutionize the industry again. What it does do, however, is blend classic Pac-Man with the style you'll see in newer Mario/Sonic style games. And it manages to do a good job at that. Plus with some goodies like unlockable arcade games and (if you've got yourself a copy of the Player's Choice edition) Pac-Man Vs, this game will keep you occupied for a good while.

The graphics are between good and mediocre. Nothing really shines in this game, but the colors are well done and the environments are well put together, which set the mood pretty well. Then again, it's based on a game where the main character was 3/4 of a circle so to see it come this far is pretty neat, though compared to other games on the Gamecube, there's nothing out there to set it apart.

Most of the games sounds come from the 80s arcade game, though there are a few exceptions. Pretty much anything you could do in the old games that you can do in this one retains it's old sound (eating dots, power pellets, ghosts turning blue, etc.). It's mostly for nostalgia, but I couldn't imagine it being any other way. The new sounds accurately describe the action you're doing, though some can get annoying after a while (I find myself growing tired of the Tom Tom Butt Bounce sound after so long). The music's pretty much the same story: overall they're great pieces, though some will really wear on you after playing for a good amount of time.

The story is pretty mediocre to sub-par. Those miscreant ghosts manage to sneak into Pac-Village at night and steal the mystic gold fruit off of the village tree, which somehow awakens an ancient demon sealed by the fruit. Promising to eradicate the Pac-People, the ghosts follow "Spooky", each taking a fruit. Pac-Man, awaking from his slumber, hears the plight from Professor Pac and decides to save the world from Spooky. Nothing epic but this is a platformer, so it's pretty average.

Again, the real question however is how does the game play? I think the game's a blast, though you won't find anything totally new if you're a platformer buff. The game combines classic Pac-Man with the 3D platformer genre with pretty good results. You explore 3D worlds, collecting fruit, tokens and Pac-Dots, attempting to reach the end. Each level can be accessed through the world map, which you unlock more of by playing through levels. After every three levels, you face a boss and move to another world with a different theme. Like I said, nothing revolutionary but is it fun?

Yes. Yes it is. The worlds each keep a central theme, but manage to mix it up enough to keep it interesting. Throughout each world, there's a number of hidden fruit (which will pop up if you manage to find all of a certain kind), as well as a number of Pac-Dots. Though a lot of these are out in the open, you may have to do some searching to find all of them for a 100% rating. In this way, it still keeps a classic Pac-Man feel to it, while keeping you interested and playing for a while (though it's pretty hard to get to 100%). Also hidden in the game are tokens, which by collecting certain amounts unlock various tidbits, including FOUR classic Pac-Man games: Pac-Man, Pac-Attack, Pac-Mania and Ms. Pac-Man. Though it can take a while to unlock them, the fact that they went through the trouble to put the classics in the game is a really cool feature and almost worth the price of the game alone.

Pac-Man is given few abilities to explore and kill enemies (though the ghosts have to be killed the old fashioned way: Power Pellets and eat them), though they're useful and it's somewhat nice not to be bogged down with useless abilities. He has the Rev Roll (which lets him fly up ramps) and the Butt Bounce (which smashes crates and heads alike). Although you don't learn any later, there aren't any points where you feel like you need any.

One of the things I dislike about this game is the way they baby you through. Although the game is heavily geared towards the older generation who grew up with him, the game practically tells you what to do for most of it. Heck, even the instruction manual explains what a "level" means in gaming. Though you expect most games to do this in the beginning so you get the hang of it, there are instances of it throughout the game and it almost feels insulting to the platformer lover. It may be good if you're new to the genre, though the game is a tad difficult for those who are new. Even so, walking into the boss and having Pac-Man detail the steps to beating it is a bit on the annoying side.

Another thing that can be disappointing is the length. If you're going for 100%, it'll be quite the trip but if you don't feel like taking out a magnifing glass and detailing every level, this game can be beaten in a matter of hours. It's length is more in the exploration you have to do to 100% the game, which will keep you coming back to this game, though if you're not much of an explorer/collector, you may not get the most from this game.

As an added bonus, if you're purchasing the Player's Choice edition of the game, you'll get Pac-Man Vs bundled in free. It's pretty much the same Pac-Man you know with a twist: your friends play as the ghosts! You have to have a GBA and a link cable to do it, but it's an absolute blast. One person plays as Pac-Man on the GBA in classic maze style, while up to three people can play as the ghosts in a clouded 3D version of the maze. If one of the ghosts happens to catch Pac-Man, the players trade off who plays as Pac-Man until you reach a certain amount of points. Plus it's all narrarated by the man himself: Mario! This game is a blast and will keep you and your friends entertained.

Overall, I recommend this game to any fan of Platformers, even if you've been skipping out on the newer games. It may not be the newest, biggest, baddest kid on the block but it's worth the money, if nothing else, for the four classic games and Pac-Man Vs. It may feel anachronistic at times, but it'll keep you entertained.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/10/10

Game Release: Pac-Man Vs. / Pac-Man World 2 (Player's Choice) (US, 12/02/03)

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