Who doesn’t know the classic game of Pacman? Pac-Man is a timeless single-player maze arcade game which was developed and released by Namco on May 1980. In Japan, it was originally known as Puckman then they later changed it to Pac-Man in the international release done by Midway Games.
Pacman, a very hungry yellow blob, roams around in an enclosed maze puzzle filled with dots or also called Pac-Dots or pellets. To complete the game, Pacman must consume all of the pellets. Pacman should also avoid the multi-colored roving “ghosts” that move around the maze. These ghosts are Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. As the levels progress, the four becomes more aggressive and their behavior and movement pattern changes. If a ghost touches Pac-Man, he loses a life.
The maze also holds four large “power pellets” spread out between quadrants, which grants Pac-Man temporary invulnerability. This temporarily allows Pac-Man to consume the ghost and earn points. The enemies, in turn, transform into deep blue and change their direction avoiding Pacman in the process. When a blue ghost is eaten, the eyes remain on the maze and returns back to the center ghost box where the ghost regenerates to its original color.
The bonus points earned for consuming a blue ghost increases exponentially for each consecutive ghost eaten while being powered up on a single Power Pellet. For example, when a Power Pellet is active a score of 200 points is gained from one ghost, 400 for the second, 800 for the third and 1600 for the fourth one. Then the cycle restarts from 100 points when Pac-Man eats the next Power Pellet. Blue enemies flash white and this signals you that they are about to return to their original color and they will be dangerous once again. As the game progresses, they will only be vulnerable for a shorter and shorter amount of time. At stage 19 for example, the ghosts do not become edible anymore but they will still reverse their direction.
Pacman’s enemies in this game are called “ghosts” or “monsters”. If Pacman would just need to consume the pellets, where’s the challenge in that, right? What makes it fun is that these ghosts have different personalities. That makes them very unpredictable if you’re not really aware of this.
The Red one is named “Blinky” and it will just simply chase or shadow you. Wherever you go, Blinky just follows. The Pink one is named “Pinky” which is clingy in characteristic. This ghost will aim at a position right at Pacman’s mouth. So be careful. Before you know it, Pinky’s already in front of you. The Blue one is called Inky. It is bashful or fickle in characteristic. Sometimes it heads towards Pacman, other times it just tends to move away. Inky has a random behavior that makes this blue monster unpredictable. The Orange one is Clyde and has a pokey characteristic. Its movement is more random but if you’ll notice it alternates its behavior. Sometimes Clyde alternates with Blinky’s behavior if Clyde’s away from Pacman but sometimes it just tends to gravitate towards the lower-left corner of the maze.
As you go along the game, fruits also appear in the center of the maze which grants you more points when you consume it. There are also fruits that appear twice per level and is located directly below the center ghost box. Eating one gives you a bonus of 100 to 5,000 points.
The table below lists the stage and the kind of fruits that will appear as well as their corresponding value. The table also lists how long the ghost is edible or are blue when a power pellet is eaten.
|Stage||Fruit||Fruit Points||Ghost Blue Time (seconds)||Flashes before Blue Time ends|
|19 and beyond||Key||5000||0||–|
The objective of the game is to get as many points as possible by consuming pellets, fruits, and blue ghost while avoiding the four ghosts when they’re not edible. After the dots on a certain stage are all eaten the stage is completed and Pacman will advance on a more challenging one. If any of the four ghosts touch Pacman, a life is lost. And after all three lives are lost, the game will then be over with the score you accumulated.
You will be needing a flash player to play this game as you will be utilizing both the mouse and keyboard to interact. The mouse will be used to hover the main menu. However, for the gameplay, Pacman is just a very simple game. All you need is to move within the maze and no other actions like attack or jumps are necessary. That’s why this will just use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move up, down or sideways.
Pacman is really far behind from modern graphics. It is retro-styled like Space Invaders, Galaxian and Asteroids. This kind of graphics may be considered “ancient” nowadays. However, because it is a classic game it is still well-loved by adults and kids alike. It continues to captivate from generations to generation. It is arguably basic but it is part of its charm.
Sonically, it is nothing extraordinary. There is no musical score in the background involved. You can just hear the sound of Pacman as he navigates and consumes the pellets. And the different varieties of sound effects the ghosts make when Pacman consumes a power pellet and they turn blue. Everything’s pretty basic but it doesn’t stop the fun.
Who doesn’t play Pacman? Well, probably the younger generation but for adults, they all most probably have played this game. Its gameplay and controls are so simple that even young kids can enjoy this game. What better way to develop hand-eye coordination, right? This game is actually fun if you played it in short bursts. If you’re okay with repetition, this is going to be great.
The levels are all the same. It just keeps getting harder and harder to clear the stage. You should also strategize how to amass a lofty amount of score at the end of each stage. You should earn your best score that early stages as it is easier to complete compared to the later stages. It involves, strategically eating the power pellets and predicting ghost movements. And like every video game, the one who has the highest score is deemed a champion.
Pacman may not be the best game nowadays but it still has its charm. It might not be action-packed but it is still nostalgic and challenging to play. You may have a fast reaction time in avoiding the ghosts that cross your way but it still needs a whole lot of experience to earn that top score.
This is a review on the online game Pacman, which we gave a score of 3.9 out of 5.0 on Online Game Magazine. You can read other reviews similar to this Pacman review by viewing the links below or browsing the many game reviews on the site.
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