Pac-Man World 20th Anniversary Review
Pac Man has been one of the most popular videogame mascots that originated in the early video gaming history. The little yellow character started out as a little ball, eating dots and devouring ghosts with the power of a big yellow dot. Sounds stupid doesn't it, but the people back then thought it could get any better than that, and the arcade game would easily eat up all of your change in your pocket. Now Pac Man has been revamped in an all new 3D Playstation adventure. Pac Man World was scheduled to be released last year in November, but Namco wasn't too happy with the results. They pushed back the release date to Fall 99 and added more features to boost the game life span. So has all of the boosting and revamping really helped?
First it was Mega Man who went from 2D shooter in to 3D adventure, and now it's Pac Man's turn to go into the 3D world. Pac Man runs at a fairly simple graphics engine that renders variations of 2D and 3D scenes. Namco took their time and managed to deliver very smooth animations with bright colors. Pac Man has really never looked so smooth, and the backgrounds really make this game come to life. The environments are excellently detailed, and the game has some great looking FMVs to stimulate the experience a little more.
There have been a countless number of great adventure titles, first there was the revolutionary Ape Escape, the ever quirky 40 Winks, and Spyro 2. Now to that list of titles we can add Pac Man's new adventure. Making his official debut on the PSX, Pac Man World features tons of extra goodies besides the Quest mode. You have the option to play the very original Pac Man and it's still as addictive as ever, and you can play 18 different mazes all in 3D. Each Maze stage consists of 3 Mazes, so if you do the math: there are 6 Maze stages, and three in each which equals 18. As far as the gameplay goes, Pac Man World really stands out there. The game opens up with Pac Man's whole family getting kidnapped. First his dog, his Dad (I assume) his two kids and Ms. Pac Man. Pac comes home to see that his house has been destroyed and his whole family has disappeared. So he takes his little round body and starts floating on top of the water to Ghost Beach, where Pac Man's enemy Toc is. Toc's henchman tell him that Pac Man is on his way, but Toc thought that the Henchman captured Pac, instead they captured his whole family. So now it's up to you to control Pac Man and help him save his dog, his kids, wife, and Dad.
Like many adventure titles out there, Pac Man World has very catchy tunes, that you be humming even after you stop playing the game. The title has some dialog, a lot like Ape Escape and Spyro 2, and the voice acting is pretty good. You will hear most of the voices during an FMV's clip, and since the voice dialog has been programmed with the FMV, the PSX doesn't have to search for a sound clip, so the result is the game has on time speech.
Lately the problem with most adventure titles is the lack of a balanced camera. The only game that almost didn't make me hurl was Ape Escape, which had fluid camera motions that always stayed with the main character and never wondered off. Like Ape Escape, Pac Man also has a great camera view. Although the camera basically has nowhere to go it still doesn't make me want to toss my cookies. Like all the other great mascots Pac Man has his own share of moves. He got a little of Mario (a butt stomp, swimming and metal Pac Man) and a little of Sonic (rev roll, and thunder shock). Moves like Metal Pac Man are power ups, and are obtained by either finding them in treasure boxes or round crates.
And finally I will leave with saying these words: Pac Man World was a pretty long wait but in the end it was well worth it. The game features the classic version of Pac Man, great FMVs, good dialog, mazes in each stage, tasks to be accomplished in each stage, and so much more that will leave you wanting more.