Review by WishingTikal
"Basic platforming at its best -- or worst"
I remember the days when the platformers were still in 2D, with sidescrolling action. Those were good times. Then, the games evolved as the technology evolved, and fate obliges, platformers became 3D, where you could move freely in any direction in a given environment. New types of platformers raised. Pac-Man World 2 situates itself somewhere between the old school platformers and the newer ones. It's 3D, you can move freely, there are things to collect -- but it still has an old school feel to it. Sadly, it's far away from perfect.
Pac-Man World 2 is probably the most basic and simple platformer I've played on a next gen console. You are on Pac Island, divided in 5 themed worlds: Pac Village, forest, ice mountain, volcano/cavern, ocean and ghost ship. Originality sure wasn't in the developers' mind. There are 3 levels per world, so this makes only 15 levels, plus the bosses. The levels are long, but too long, and linear. You can't explore, all you do is follow the path, and collect fruits along the way. Sometimes there are hidden paths and fruits, but most are right on your way.
The collectibles you must find in the levels consist of pac-dots, fruits and tokens. If you find all the pac-dots and fruits in a level, you'll get 100% on the level. There are also 8 tokens per level to find. These tokens are used to unlock arcade pac-man games: Pac-man, Ms. pac-man, Pac-Attack and Pac-mania. Each will require a certain number of tokens to be unlocked.
As said above, the levels are linear, simple and basic. You start from point A, advance to point B, grabbing some fruits along way and looking around to find hidden hard-to-grab tokens, then move to point C, go past the obstacles, and finally head to the exit. It's really your basic traditional platformer. It would be fine if the levels weren't so long and frustrating, but they are. I personally would have preferred shorter and easier levels, but a few more. Also, the bosses at the end of each world is always the same one, but a bit harder each time...
The frustration in some of the levels comes mainly from the jumping sections and the camera. How many times did I die trying to jump from a platform to the other? Too many times to count. The platforms are usually too far from each other, requiring you to jump at the very last second, at the very edge of the platform, in order to, maybe, end up hanging from the edge of the platform you were jumping in direction of. Add the buggy camera to this perilous jump, and you end up jumping to your death. In some specific occasions, the camera will block so you can't move it, or will stay stuck behind a wall, or any object in its way. You can move it, but only in open-areas.
There are some variety in the boring levels, like the skating levels and the underwater ones, but that's not enough. In the underwater levels, all you can do is move up, down, left or right. The water flow is pushing you ahead, and you can't backtrack. And anyway, who likes underwater levels? At least, the skating levels are quite fun. You slide down a slope, and well, it's fun. But that's pretty much all I found was fun in this game. Except maybe the old school mazes with the dots, the ghosts, and Pac-Man. Only one per level, but fun.
Last thing, Pac-Man's moves. It looks like they were taken straight from Sonic Adventure. Pac-Man can now bounce jump, spin dash, and dash through a line of rings -- I mean dots. The only difference is that Pac-Man isn't fast, he's slow.
Colorful cartoon-like graphics. I really don't have anything to say about them, they do the job well. A bit ordinary, nothing special. Lack of textures sometimes.
Well composed music that goes perfectly in each level. Nothing to hum about, but well-done music, still.
In the end, Pac-Man World 2 is a pretty short game. Some will finish it under 5 hours, while others around 10 hours. Or even 20 hours if you go through the levels again to find everything -- every single token, and you'll want to, in order to unlock the old pac-man games.
To buy or not to buy, that is the question. Buy it if you want to play the old pac-man games on your cube, otherwise, Pac-Man World 2 is not worth it, even for platformer fans like myself, who may be disappointed by the simplicity of this game, I'm afraid.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 10/02/04
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