Pac-Man Championship Edition
To hear the reason for Pac-Manís creation, one would almost think that Toru Iwatani was part of Nintendoís marketing strategy for the Wii. In an interview with the Times Online, he said the following:
“The whole thing actually started with me walking around arcades watching how many boys were playing and the fact that all the machines were about killing aliens, tanks, or people. Girls were simply not interested, and I suddenly had motivation for my work: I wanted game arcades to shed this dark, sinister image, and it seemed to me that the way to raise the atmosphere of a place is to entice girls to come in. [So] the whole purpose of Pac-Man was to target women and couples, and get a different type of player involved.”
Pac-Man, in addition to his initial effort being successful, also became one of the earliest video game icons, spawning a hit song ĎPac-Man Fever,í a television show, t-shirts, memorabilia and even lunch boxes. Pac-Manís first offering also led to sequels (Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man Jr.) along with games that deviated from the formula, including ĎPac-Man Fever,í a Mario Party-style mini-game collection, the Pac-Man World series of platformers, and Pac-Attack, a Tetris-style puzzler. While Pac-Manís direct sequels are highly regarded (Ms. Pac-Man garners almost as much fame as her predecessor), his attempts to deviate from the formula have produced mixed results, with critics both praising and panning his releases.
After seeing Pac-Manís original game and sequel rereleased on the Wiiís Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade, Pac-Man Championship Edition was then released on the Xbox 360ís Live Arcade service after being prominently featured in Microsoftís Pac-Man World Championship Edition in New York. This edition distinguishes itself from Pac-Manís earlier games through its focus and presentation: is it worthy of being included in the Pac-Man canon?
Pac-Man CEís focus represents a stark change from what purists are used to; this is chiefly due to the gameís competitive nature. Adding to the challenge of obtaining a top score, players are now tasked with obtaining said score within a specific time limit. This goal is reflected in its various play modes, which give you either five or 10 minutes to score as many points as possible.
The progression system in Pac-Man CE also differs from other games in the series. While earlier offerings would task players with clearing the entirety of the board, CE only gives you a set amount of dots on each side. Once dots are cleared on one side, fruit appears. Once eaten, a side of the board is reapportioned, rinse and repeat. Also, should you lose your life, you will merely reappear exactly where you died, adding to the gameís frantic nature.
Pac-Man CEís presentation is creative considering how earlier games have looked; going for a day-glow style look for the boards and techno music for the soundtrack. The music does an excellent job of keeping players focused on the task at hand with techno beats that intensify as the speed of the game increases.
It is difficult to find much wrong with Pac-Man Championship Edition as a whole; one point worth mentioning is that the game lacks any sort of multiplayer options, only allowing you to compete with others through posted scores on leader boards. Unless you value multiplayer competition, Pac-Manís latest effort is one that is worthy of attempting, and may just allow you to become infected with ĎPac-Man Feverí once more.
Nine out of ten
- Pac-Man gameplay remains solid, even after all these years
- Time elements add a sense of urgency to the proceedings
- Stylish graphic presentation
- Lacks any competitive multiplayer
- Not much variety between modes, other than time length