Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Pac-Man Vs. (US)

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pacvs.JPG (2228 bytes)            Nintendo’s pre-E3 press conference, 2003, connectivity – the jewel in Nintendo’s crown. The shining light of innovation that would save the gaming industry from turmoil in the heap of rehashed so-so titles. GameCube to Game Boy Advance link-up was Nintendo’s revolution for 2003 and, at the time, was received with very little enthusiasm by the gaming press.

            Although Nintendo could see it, and the press knew it, the intense level of creativity behind these games and obvious amounts of pure gaming bliss to be had when playing the finely crafted titles was overshadowed by the lack of graphical prowess, with many narrow-minded reports at the time regarding Nintendo’s new venture as a step-back for the industry. But that’s the past, Nintendo have realised that, yes; the hardcore will play games with inferior graphics as long as the playability is there, but the gaming public en-mass want bigger, better, flashier year-on-year, and so they stormed the show in 2004.

            Pac-Man Vs. is a remake of the original Pac-Man, and is as pure as apac-man_vs3.jpg (23408 bytes) conversion can get. The title is for one to four players (hence the “Vs.” affix) with one player utilising a Game Boy Advance. Once started, the game will randomly choose one player to use the Game Boy Advance and become Pac-Man. This player has their own screen, on the Game Boy Advance, and will play a seemingly normal game of Pac-Man – munching pills, fruit and running from ghosts etc. Throughout the game game, the remaining players will act as the ghosts. Each with a small section of the TV screen your GameCube is attached to, they must hunt down Pac-Man with a limited field of vision. The object of the game is to reach a predetermined amount of points, completing a level (eating all the pills) as Pac-Man will give you a bonus and present you with the next, catching the little yellow freak as a ghost will award you 1600 of Pac-Mans’ points and the chance to gobble the fruit and pills yourself.

There are a variety of maps to play on, about six in total, and the fruit and power-pill power-ups remain intact, with an added bonus that the ghost players can now eat the fruit in order to expand their view of the playing arena for a short time. The lifespan of the title is quite limited, with no unlock-ables and only a handful of levels, it feels like it’s the multiplayer part of a game, which is the probable reason Nintendo have chosen to release this in packages with other products.With all the talk about poor graphics may have you believing Nintendo have thrown together some shoddy imagery and called it a game, but the only reason the graphics are inferior to what would be seen as their competition is because they don’t need to be any better. The GameCube players get a fully 3D rendition of the game, whilst the Game Boy Advance player has an exact replica of the original Pac-Man world to run around.            The title in itself is a piece of classic gaming that should not be missed. The hardcore amongst us will thank the heavens for the chance to play a new instalment of Pac-Man that’s part of the rare-breed of improving on an original idea, and the pick-up-n’-play artists will find four-player scraping a fantastic way to spend alcohol-fuelled Fridays.

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