Celebrate Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary This Holiday Season!

2010 is almost to an end, which also means an end to Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary year. So what’s the best way to celebrate the occasion one last time? Play Pac-Man games, of course! There’s a bunch of new Pac-Man games that just came out in the past month or so, so let’s take a look and find out which ones are tops and which ones are party poopers!

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (360, PS3)

For the most part, this downloadable 360 and PS3 game is just like the first Championship Edition. Eat dots on one side of the maze, then eat a fruit on the opposite side to make more dots appear and try to get a high score in a limited time. But the DX version changes one small thing to make it feel new and fresh: the ghosts’ behavior.

In the first game, you had to avoid the four ghosts just as you always did. But in DX, there are green sleeping ghosts scattered throughout the maze and if you pass by them, they’ll wake up and get angry and turn rainbow colored and start chasing you verbatim. You can have a whole line of ghosts following you this way. Later on, when you get a bunch of ghosts following you, the other four will start to come out of the hideout. It’s hard to avoid them while being chased at the same time, so the other two additions to DX are there to help with that.

First of all, when you get close to a ghost, the screen will slow down like ‘bullet time’ giving you a chance to try and escape if you can. But if you can’t escape, you can press a button to activate your limited supply of bombs to send the ghosts back to their hideout for a short time. It may sound like cheating, but it’s very helpful when the maze changes and you’re about to collide with a stationary ghost that wasn’t there a second before.

Pac-Man: CE DX has more mazes and music and difficulty levels than the first. Plus you can change the visuals, too. Even though it’s basically an expansion of the first game, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is definitely worth the download.

Pac-Man Battle Royale (Arcade)

This is an arcade game only, which is exciting because there hasn’t been a new Pac-Man arcade game in a long time. Only problem is finding it to play it, which I haven’t done yet! It came out supposedly in late November. I’ve been to a few arcades in the area but haven’t seen it yet. I even asked someone at Namco if there was a way to locate where it could be (haven’t gotten an answer yet and probably won’t ever get one). So if you have seen Pac-Man Battle Royale in an arcade, please let me know! Especially if you’ve seen one in the Dallas, TX area, because that’s where I live!

Anyway, it’s a tabletop arcade machine for four players, and looks a lot like Pac-Man Championship Edition. Except here, when one of the four Pac-Men eats a power pellet, he can eat the other players! The last one standing wins, and I think you go through five rounds. Of course, you can also eat dots and avoid the ghosts, too. It sounds fun, and I really want to play it.

Pac-Man Party (Wii)

OK we’ve done the good, now we’ll do the bad ones. Pac-Man Party is a just a typical mini-game board game style challenge, and plays a lot like Mario Party. The board game rules are actually pretty decent, though, and it’s a lot like Monopoly. When you land on most spaces, a castle pops up for you to own. If you land on it again and it’s yours still, the castle will level up. Now, when another player lands on your castle, a mini-game challenge will start. If you win, you get to keep your castle and the other players have to pay you a certain amount of cookies (the currency in the game that looks a lot like Pac-Dots). If your castle is leveled up, they have to give you even more cookies. But if you lose, the winner takes your property. When you pass the cookie factory space on the board (it’s a lot like the GO space in Monopoly), you get bonus cookies based on how many castles you own currently. Whoever reaches a certain amount of cookies first, wins. Anyway, there are three main things wrong with Pac-Man Party that I’ll go over right now.

1. The Characters and Designs

First of all, let’s take a look at Pac-Man. I know they probably changed the eyes to make him more expressive in the game, but he just looks so weird with pupils. Maybe they’re doing this to gear up for the supposedly upcoming Pac-Man CG cartoon (which looks horrible). Believe it or not, I DO actually like the new ghost designs. Gives them more personality, and since I like the ghosts just as much as I do Pac-Man, I’m all for that. But the brand new characters just have to go. What does a black cat, an abominable snowman, and a one-eyed robot have to do with Pac-Man?!? Ugh!

Now, if I were in charge of making Pac-Man Party, I would ditch those new characters first of all. Then I would make the other playable characters from other Namco games. First, Ms. Pac-Man would be on the list. One of the cool things about Pac-Man is that he’s a family man, with a loving wife and kids. So they should’ve put Ms. Pac-Man in Pac-Man Party, especially since her game was more popular anyway. Then I would put other Namco characters as players. There are many that would fit perfectly in Pac-Man’s colorful world, like Dig Dug, Mappy, and even new Namco stars like Mr. Driller, Klonoa, and the Katamari Prince.

2. The Mini-Games

There’s nothing wrong with the mini-games themselves, except sometimes the CPU players can be super pros or total idiots. You can use Power Cookies to help you in the games, but I can never tell if they are any good or not. But the problem with the games is they are very bland. If I were in charge, I would make all the mini-games based on other Namco properties or ideas. There is ONE game in Pac-Man Party that is like Dig Dug. It’s a hot potato style game where you take turns pumping a Pooka until it explodes. But I would make ALL the games into Namco classics. Any game with a space theme would be from Galaga, underground ones would be Dig Dug or Mr. Driller, racing games would be like Pole Position or Ridge Racer, etc.

3. It’s been done before

I’m not just talking about there being too many party mini-games on the Wii. No, Pac-Man already HAS a board game mini-game style party game already! It’s called Pac-Man Fever, and it was on the GameCube and PS2. It was equally as bad as Pac-Man Party, but at least Pac-Man Fever had playable Namco characters like Astheroth and Reiko Nagase (the Ridge Racer lady). You think they would’ve learned their lesson with that game. But then, it didn’t stop Mario from having too many Party games. Too bad it didn’t stop Pac-Man, too.

Oh yeah, you can also play classic Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga on Pac-Man Party, just in case you didn’t have one of the bazillion other games you can play those on. So yeah, Pac-Man Party is not very good at all.

Namco Museum Megamix (Wii)

This game looks EXACTLY like Namco Museum Remix on the Wii. Except I think some of the classic games you can play are different. The updated versions where Pac-Man is in them are all back, though, except I think there is one new one. A tank game called Pac-Grobda (Grobda was a old arcade tank game from Namco). Even though it’s basically the same game, I’ll still get it eventually since I like to collect anything Pac-Man related.

Cell Phone Games

There are a couple of new Pac-Man cell phone games out, too. I probably won’t play them as I don’t really get into cell phone gaming. The first one is a puzzle game called Pac Chain. It looks a lot like that game you can play on Windows where you match colors on a field and try to clear out as many as you can. Except here the colors are ghosts.

The other cell phone game that looks interesting to me is Pac-Man Kart Rally. Yeah, I know kart games have been overdone, there’s already even a Pac-Man kart game on last generation’s consoles. But this one still looks neat as you can play as classic Namco characters like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Mr. Driller, and the Galaga ship!

Pac-Man in the Rose Bowl Parade

One last thing, but it’s not a game. Pac-Man is leaving 2010 and going into 2011 with a big bang. I just got a press release (I’m surprised that I haven’t read a news story about it yet) and it says that Pac-Man is going to have his own float at the Rose Bowl parade this year! I can tell you what I’ll be doing New Years Day morning now! I can’t wait to see it! A long time ago, Garfield got a float in the Rose Bowl and they had to breed a special kind of marigold to get that orange color for his fur. Then they later sold the seed packets and called them Garfield Marigolds. I wonder if Pac-Man will get a flower named after him!

Anyway, that’s all the new Pac-Man games I feel like talking about right now. How will YOU celebrate Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary?

4 Responses to “Celebrate Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary This Holiday Season!”

  1. I did buy Pac-Chain for the Ipod Touch, it was only 99 cents. Not a bad game.
    I’ll wait til Pac–man party hits the bargain bin before I pick it up.

  2. Pac-Man I am, awesome.

  3. Hi

  4. NUTTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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