Pac-Man Rides Again.
Before I begin this review, I would just like it stated for the record that I have made no secret of my affection for Pac-Man and his lovely companion, Ms. Pac-Man, before being assigned the privilege of rigorously scrutinizing the newest video game incarnation of everyone's favorite power-pellet munching fiend, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. Yes, it's true I even said as such in our Thanksgiving Round-Up that these are my all-time favorites. But none of that would've mattered if the game had sucked. Key word here being “if”. Because it didn't suck. No, not at all. In fact, it did the opposite of that and totally owned.
[image1]We're all familiar with the story by now: Pac eats pellets, Pac meets Ghost, Pac runs from Ghost, Pac meets power pellet, Ghost runs from Pac. It's your classic Romeo and Juliet tale, if Juliet was an undead apparition hell bent on eating Romeo. We don't need to go over the basics here. This is GR, you guys know your s*** already.
What we can talk about is what's new and awesome. Now I know you're thinking that this game hasn't had any tweaks that were lasting or actually innovative. (Remember Pac-Attack? Look, kids! He can jump now! Ooooooh!) It's true, they were nothing clever, nothing like what they've done this time around.
But now, ghosts appear in two forms. The first, you're familiar with: the ones that run around the maze trying to corner you. The new ones are the kind that sleep in the maze and start trailing behind you one after the other, giving the game an interesting twist a la the classic Snake. Not only does this present a new challenge to veteran players, it creates a new way to rack up ridiculously high scores as you get longer and longer lines of spooks following behind you.
[image2]You're also equipped with bombs that will send all the active on-screen enemies back to their central pen and gain you some time that you would've lost with your life. It strikes an almost perfect balance with the Snake feature. It's very feng shui.
All the modes from the previous Championship Edition are back as well, redone with the same treatment, along with new time trials and unlockable challenges for all of them, adding a greater depth of gameplay overall.
Then there's all the nice little things that they've done, like an added speed meter so you can watch the progression of intensity, and a meter that lets you know exactly how much time you have to munch down on ghosties. There are even various sets of skins for levels and characters that draw from Pac-Man's sordid past (There's even a Pac-Attack skin!) and others with vibrant neon colors straight out of an LSD-induced dream.
[image3]My only complaint about Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is that there's no “classic” mode. As cool as morphing mazes and time trials are, there's nothing quite like the experience of taking on level after level in a test of endurance. Knowing how long you're going to go for removes the need to push yourself in the same manner as classic arcade-style Pac-Man games.
Still, even with that slight downside, Pac-Man Championship Editions DX is a great game and a must-have for anyone who is a fan of old-school, classic games. I'm already in the top 20% on the leaderboards and I'm only going to get better the more I play, so if you want a chance at keeping up with me, you should download yourself a copy soon.