Mix it up with Pac-Man & Galaga!

It’s been a while since I let my inner classic Namco fanboy loose, so here is an extended review and blog about Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, which was released on 3DS last week. We’ll take a look at each game in the package. Plus, this isn’t the first time that Pac-Man and Galaga have been mixed together, so as a bonus, we’ll look at other games where the two have met.

Pac-Man Tilt

The first new game on here is Pac-Man Tilt. It’s kind of like Loco Roco meets Pac-Man. Actually, it mostly reminds me of a GBA game called Yoshi Topsy-Turvy, which wasn’t THAT bad of a game, despite the awful reviews it got. Pac-Man Tilt is basically a 2-D platformer, but uses the motion sensor in the 3DS to allow you to tilt side to side to affect the world around Pac-Man. By tilting the 3DS and shifting the world, you can make Pac-Man roll into a ball, which helps him go faster and break obstacles. Tilting also affects gravity, so you can move platforms and such. Plus, when you tilt the world, an impassible wall becomes an incline you can go up.

Elements of Pac-Man seep into this 2-D platformer, though. Scattered about are dots and fruit for you to collect, and when you nab a power pellet, it stores it on the bottom screen. When ghosts appear, you can tap the bottom screen to activate the power pellet and eat the ghosts. If you eat all the dots, fruit, and ghosts in a level, you’ll get bonus points for each at the end of the stage. I also like the neon look of the graphics. I always envisioned Pac-Man games having a neon look since the maze is that bright blue color.

So yeah, I think Pac-Man Tilt is pretty fun. I’m glad it’s not the only game on here, though. I have to say that I don’t really like Pac-Man’s new redesigned character they started using for his 30th anniversary. He just looks weird with pupils. I will say that I kind of like the redesigned ghosts, though. They all look different, which helps distinguish their personalities, and I’m all for that. Especially considering that making the ghosts different colors to branch out their traits happened in the very first Pac-game. Plus, I like the ghosts just as much, if not more than, Pac-Man himself. Always have. I can’t help but wonder if Namco is prepping Pac-Man Tilt to be a game for iPhones and other smart phones as well, as it would fit perfectly for an iPad style game. And Namco already did that with some of the new classic arranged titles, which were originally on Namco Museum Battle Collection for PSP.

Galaga 3-D Impact

This game is basically an on-rails shooter where you blast Galaga bugs. In a way, it’s kind of like that old arcade theater game Galaxian 3, so even though it doesn’t play much like Galaga, I guess they’re sort of related. You can move around your cursor with the control knob or just simply by tilting and moving the 3DS around, kind of like Face Raiders. If you look too far down, though, you’ll see your cockpit!

You can fire lasers to blow up enemies or a tractor beam to suck up Galaga bugs. If you suck up enough bugs, you can activate a power-up. Some are useful, like more powerful and faster lasers, while others are not, like the force field that lasts for only like, two seconds. There are only four stages, and while they’re long and have bosses and everything, I think Pac-Man Tilt is better with more than two dozen levels. I have to say that I’m not very impressed with Galaga 3-D Impact, but most of that may have something to do with the fact that I can’t see 3-D effects, which we’ll talk more on later.

Pac-Man: Championship Edition

Yup, it’s the same as the Xbox LIVE version, and every bit as fun on the 3DS. In fact, Pac-Man: CE is one of the reasons why I bought an Xbox 360 in the first place. If only had I known I could play it on a portable system four years later. Ha ha! So yeah, it was a real treat to have this on the same 3DS cart.

Galaga Legions

Also from Xbox LIVE and nice to have on the 3DS as well. After going back and playing the original on the 3DS, I have to say that Galaga Legions DX is MUCH better! It would’ve been nice to have the DX versions of the two Xbox LIVE games on the 3DS as well, but since they were just recently released, I guess that might be asking too much. Legions isn’t my favorite, but it plays a heck of a lot more like Galaga than 3-D Impact does!


Yup, the original game is on here, too. You can play it in one of three views. One view appears as if you’re looking at a standup arcade cabinet. The screen is at an angle and curved like a monitor. You can choose to have the artwork from the Japanese cabinet or the US cabinet, although they changed up Midway’s awful artwork of Pac-Man that had the big red eyes and feet. You can also view it like a tabletop arcade cabinet, which is more flat. You can choose US or Japanese artwork here, too. Finally is just a flat view with no artwork, which just looks like the tabletop view.

On the bottom screen are ‘medals’ you can get, which are exactly like the achievements from the Xbox LIVE games. (Actually all the games aside from Pac-Ma Tilt and Galaga 3-D Impact are like this). The neat thing is the icons for these medals are characters from other Namco games, like Warp & Warp, Mappy, Dig Dug, Tower of Druaga, and others. So as a classic Namco fan, you know I liked that!


The original Galaga is on here, too. Just like Pac-Man, you can view it as a standup arcade cabinet, tabletop, or plain. And pick US or Japanese artwork. The achievement icons here are spacehips from various Namco shooters, but mostly from different Galaga and Galaxian games. Both Pac-Man and Galaga classics let you start at the last round you died on, and the game saves all your high scores, too.

Pac-Man 3-D Movie

Also included in the game is a Pac-Man 3-D movie. It’s actually the same one that was shown at E3 last year, so you can probably do a YouTube search if you really want to see it. I’ve heard it’s actually a pitch for a new CG Pac-Man cartoon series. Even though I’m a huge Pac-Man fan, surprisingly, I hope this new cartoon never gets made. I’ve already expressed my hate of Pac-Man’s new look. But more importantly, while I can understand why they would want to make this cartoon different from the old Hanna-Barbera one, I just can’t stand the changes to the character. Pac-Man in the new CG cartoon is supposed to be a high school student, and eats power pellets with his friends to beat the ghosts. I’ve always considered Pac-Man a family man with a wife and kids, not a kid himself, and that’s what makes Pac-Man’s character cool to me. I’ve also heard rumors that in the new Pac-Man cartoon, the four main ghosts are his friends. However, depending on how they handle that, I might be OK with that idea since I like the ghosts so much. And as popular as Pac-Man still is, I just can’t see anyone approving of a cartoon where the main character pops pills in this day and age. I hate to sound arrogant, but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who could do Pac-Man justice in a cartoon. Do you ever feel that way about stuff you really like?

3-D Factor

I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth, so I can’t see 3-D effects like the ones on the 3DS. So I had my brother Jeff play Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions for a bit to tell me what the 3-D is like. Of course, the intro movie is in 3-D. He says there’s hardly any 3-D at all in Pac-Man Tilt. However, he says the effects in Galaga 3-D Impact are excellent and really make the game. You can see the 3-D even if you tilt the system around, but you have to tilt your head, too. Jeff says you lose a lot of the coolness factor if you turn off the 3-D, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t impressed with Galaga 3-D impact.

The cool thing is Jeff says there is 3-D in the other games, too. The numbers jump out at you in Pac-Man Championship Edition, as well as the lighting and explosions in Galaga Legions. Even in the two classic games, Jeff says the screen looks like it’s behind the cabinet art, and the quarters laying on the tabletop look like they’re sticking out!

Other Pac-Man and Galaga Mixes

And that’s all about Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions! It’s pretty good, but I’d say it probably isn’t really worth 40 bucks unless you’re an insane Pac-Man nut and classic Namco fan like me. OK, now we’ll take a look at other games where Pac-Man and Galaga intertwined.


Yup, from the very first game they were mixed. One of the bonus fruit in the later levels of Pac-Man is the Galaxian flagship, or Galboss. And Galaga is just the sequel to Galaxian, really. So this could probably be considered the very first video game cameo, too! The Galaxian flagship has appeared in nearly every Pac-game since. We won’t go through them all, just the more significant appearances.

Pac & Pal

This was a Japan-only arcade game that only very recently was available to play in the US. It’s kind of weird and plays a bit like Super Pac-Man, but not near as fun. Instead of power pellets, you can eat items that let you ‘zap’ the ghosts. Some are from other Namco games, like the Rally-X car that lets you blow smoke into the ghosts. Another one is the Galaxian flagship again, and it lets Pac-Man emit a tractor beam like in Galaga which makes the ghosts spin around and around.

Namco Museums

Yeah, Pac-Man and Galaga are usually in the same collections, but on the PSOne, they had little animated intros, too. In one, Pac-Man would run from the Galaga spaceship, and in another, he flies the Xevious ship while being chased by Galaga bugs, but Mappy saves him in the Gaplus ship! Speaking of arcades, I have to mention the popular arcade cabinet that has Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga in the same machine (you can also play the original Pac-Man with a secret code).

Pac-Man World

It’s not the best game ever made, but Pac-Man World is a very special game to me because I got to follow it from start to finish as a game reviewer, and I got to know a lot of the development team really well. In the game, Pac-Man’s friends are captured by bad guys, and Professor Pac-Man gets sucked up into space! Pac-Man has to travel to a space world to save him, and the last level is one of the highlights of the whole game! It’s a shooter level where you blast Galaxian ships, and the final boss is King Galaxian, and he can suck you up like the Galaga bugs do! Say what you will about Tommy Tallarico, but he did the music for Pac-Man World, and it was very fitting. The Galaga remix tune that plays while you fight King Galaxian is totally epic!

Galaga Remix

On the Wii, Namco Museum Remix had a few game updates that used the Wii remote. Every one of them had Pac-Man in it, even if it wasn’t really necessary. Such is the case with Galaga Remix. You had to point the Wii remote at the screen and shoot Galaga bugs to protect Pac-Man, who was rolling through a tube in space.

Pac-Man World Rally

It was a blatant Mario Kart clone, but the tracks were fun to race on. One track was set in space and made a few Galaga references. When I first heard this game was being made, I wrote a letter to Namco with some suggestions. Surprisingly, all my suggestions made it into the game. I wonder if they really read my letter?

And that’s all I can think of! I hope I listed them all; otherwise I’d have to turn in my Classic Namco Fanboy Card! Ha ha! If you can think of some more, let me know in the comments section!

3DS Price Drop Opinions

I’ll conclude with my opinions on the 3DS price drop, which everyone seems to be talking about lately. People have said that many folks are complaining, but I haven’t read about any complaints myself. Personally, I can’t complain. Even though I bought my 3DS on day one, I knew that the price would drop at some point, and I had to accept that since I chose to be an early adopter. People need to take more responsibility for their own actions. I’m really happy about the free games Nintendo will give to early adopters (which is nice since the price drop did come rather quickly), and the free games offered sound a heck of a lot more interesting than the ones Sony provided when their PSN went down. I just hate it that a lot of game companies are having so much trouble. I bet a lot of it has to do with the recent disaster in Japan.

OK, enough of that. Next time on my blog, the Namco fandom continues with an import game review of the new Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX game for PSP! –Cary

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