Review by galaxy_angel81

"This game doesn't live up to it's potential."

I would like to preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of most of the pinball games released for the GBA. I was looking forward to this game because I think it had a lot of potential. While the game is not a total loss, I was very disappointed. If a little more time had been taken in the development of this title, I don't think it would have been as bad.

Gameplay 2/10
The gameplay for this game is terrible. For starters, the pinball physics are horrific. You have virtually no control over aiming the pinball off the flippers, because the motion of a ball coming off the flippers has almost no resemblance to a real pinball machine. If you try to aim the ball, it comes off the flippers slowly and doesn't go very far. The layout of the pinball table was clearly not designed with the range of motion of the ball off the flipper in mind. The ball will ricochet off of objects at the same angle each time, regardless of where the ball struck the object. Some areas on the table are practically unreachable, and unfortunately, most of these areas are the ones needed to accomplish goals. Most of the goals are distinctly Pac Man, such as eating dots, collecting power pellets, chasing ghosts, and getting fruit, and I think including Ms. Pac Man as the multiball was a nice touch. Unfortunately the bad far outweighs the good.

Story 5/10
Story is not always a crucial part of a pinball game. In this game, all the residents of Pacland have been kidnapped, and it is up to Pac Man to save them. A fairly generic story, and while this is one of the goals, it is not crucial to the game. You can just play to get the highest score possible, rescuing the characters is not essential to the gameplay. As far as storylines go, this one is fairly generic, not superb, but not terrible, either.

Graphics/Sound 5/10
The graphics on this game are slightly below average. The tables look good, but do not take advantage of the graphics capabilities of the GBA. There are two tables, The Village and The Haunted Boardwalk. Both look similar and have little color to them. There are only slight differences to the layout. The graphics have almost a fuzzy quality to them that prevents you from really getting a clear look at objects you are trying to collect, and some areas of the table are dark, as if too much shadow effect was added.
The sound is about average. The music does not seem to fit the game, and is simplistic and repetitive. I do enjoy the use of classic Pac Man sound effects as part of the game, but that is about the only plus.

Overall, I found this game immensely disappointing. There was a lot of potential for it to be enjoyable, but the poor physics, horrible gameplay, and lackluster look and feel ruin what could have been fun. Pac Man is a natural candidate for a pinball game, but it is obvious Namco considered this game a second-rate title. If a little more time and effort had been spent on development, it could have been enjoyable. I do not recommend this game to Pac Man fans, pinball fans, or Gameboy fans in general. There are several better options for pinball fans available.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 04/29/05

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