Monday, December 6, 2010

Pac-Man Fever in 2010 & It Is Still Arcade Perfection... The Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Review

Pac-Man needs no introduction for what it has done to video games. It is still a timeless classic today eating pellets, not running into ghosts, and then eating them once you ate the power pellet. It took a long while after numerous spinoffs, but the classic formula was modernized with 2007's release of the original Pac-Man Championship Edition on Xbox Live Arcade. A new competitive focus with time limits, shifting mazes, new ways to score even more points, and more opportunities to eat ghosts. It re-energized the franchise in my eyes and I was addicted all over again going for the highest score I can put up on the leaderboards. It also made route memorization more crucial in order to get those high scores in which you can not stop for nothing as if you're some robot. With the success of the original Pac-Man CE, Namco Bandai decided to take things to 11 with Championship Edition DX. If you thought having Pac-Man fever back in the day was amazing, you will have that same reaction in 2010 because it is as addicting perhaps even more with the inclusion of more mazes and ways to score even higher. Even in 2010, Pac-Man still manages to achieve arcade perfection.

The core formula from the last game is still intact with this DX release with the competitive drive to score as much points as possible within a certain time limit (five or ten minutes). If achieving scores in the hundred thousands was crazy enough, think again because high scores can rack up to the millions range because of the new changes and customizable options in place. Eating fruits in the changing mazes still works the same way, but there are more ghosts on screen. In the original Pac-Man CE, you were given more offensive opportunities to eat ghosts with more power pellets, but it was still a game of avoiding them while gaining that high score. This time around with DX, those offensive opportunities have increased tenfold with the amount of ghosts you can eat in a given stretch. There will ghosts just standing there, but you just get their attention by just going on your route and they'll just follow you like a train to no end not really posing a threat unless you get trapped. After getting a ghost train of 30 ghosts and then eating a power pellet, you will witness one of the greatest and satisfying moments of gaming this year eating that ghost train racking up points like crazy for that limited time. However, that is one way of having success in the game as it is still about route memorization and survival. The other main addition to DX makes things easier with bombs. These bombs are pretty much your get out of jail free card putting all the ghosts back to the their middle spot while avoiding a loss of a life. Like the last game, getting the game over is pretty much impossible once you're just on a zone, but getting hit by the ghosts still ruins your momentum and kills time. The new additions are amazing and makes Pac-Man more about getting that high score than just survive.

There are a few new mazes to choose from to get high scores and state your claim on the leaderboards which Namco improved upon from the last game. It would be nice to have friends leaderboards visible while playing, but I guess it would clutter up the screen ever more, which is okay. The Championship II course will get the most play, while other mazes are still pretty good for variety purposes like Highway, Spiral, and Junction. Even the original Championship course is still in this game and flows the same way with not as many opportunities to eat a lot of ghosts as the newer mazes give you. Speaking of variety, that is the case with the change of graphical styles and music. You can change how Pac-Man looks from old-school to modern with eyes and such along with the colors of the background. Even the music tracks can be changed before starting a game as all of them sound great being all trance-like as if you're in some rave going crazy dancing, but instead you're playing Pac-Man. Like the original, DX looks amazing and runs very smoothly which is expected especially when get things get frantic and crazy like eating a ghost train as an example. The sound effects also sound intact to what fans have loved for years, but the eating ghosts effect sounds so good when eating a lot of them.

I considered Pac-Man Championship Edition modernized arcade perfection at that time of its release with how addicting it was. I can say the same thing with this new DX version being perfection especially with the improvements and addition that change the game dramatically. The drive for higher scores is what keeps me going and will give the game basically infinite replay value especially if you're competing with friends or you're just willing to be at the top of the leaderboard. That was the case with me being the top player in the PSN version for its first week and then more people bought the game and figured out ways to score even higher, but it gives me motivation to level up my Pac-Man skills. Who of thought Namco can top themselves after the success of the original CE as I never expected they would till they announced this game. I have Pac-Man fever all over again and I'm not ashamed to say it in 2010 with how awesome Championship Edition DX is.

Score = 10/10

  • Modernized arcade perfection... what else is there to say
  • Best downloadable game of the year for me
  • You'll have Pac-Man fever because you'll be addicted to get high scores
  • The new additions make the game better and crazier

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