Pac Man and The Ghostly Adventures 2
PACMAN & GHOSTLY ADVENTURE 2
Kevin Stanley September 26, 2014 PS3
The original Pac-Man arcade game was released in 1980. It was a cultural phenomenon. Along with Space Invaders, Frogger and Asteroids it is considered one of the most loved video games ever made. In its native Japan and America it was huge. Pac-Man became synonymous with video games.
To the casual observer Pac-Man was and still is a simple maze game with fairly crudely animated characters. The hero of the game Pac-Man has to navigate the maze, chomp through hundreds of dots, eat fruit and occasionally chow down on a power 'pellet' or power 'pill' in order to be invulnerable to the ghosts that chase him around the maze - known as Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde (in the English speaking version at least) and progress to the next level. What the casual Pac-Man player may not know is that there were 255 levels! All fiendishly difficult and increasingly faster and harder. Only six people in the world have achieved a perfect score and few have ever claimed to have completed the game as it was in fact a game that was intended to never end with a 'bug' in it's coding that lead to a 256th level that is impossible to complete. although some video game aficionados claim to have done so.
Pac-Man spawned imitators throughout the video game world for many years and even many officially licensed spin-offs, as well as merchandise and coverage the last 30 years.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is the latest in the line of spin-off games. Graphically, of course, it's much more advanced than it's 1980 predecessor. It's delightfully colourful, sharply animated and fun.
The gameplay is fast and furious, as Pac-Man runs and jumps his way through the levels collecting gold coins and chomping on ghosts. It's fun to play. It's simple and it's easy to get into. It requires no knowledge of the Ghostly Adventures 1 or any other previous games. In terms of gameplay it is much closer to the late 80s and early 90s Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog platform games, than the original 2D maze game, but it does involve maze-like elements and puzzles.
It's clearly aimed at children with it's likeable characters, funny voices and simple narrative. The ability to interact with other characters and to progress through a story will appeal to children. One thing that children might find irritating is that they will often fall from platforms and lose a life. OK, so maybe I fell from a lot of platforms and constantly lost lives. Perhaps children won't suffer from this as they will probably be better at playing games and have better reactions than someone approaching middle age.
Truth be known, I'd prefer to chomp through mazes of dots on a 2D screen with a plastic joystick and just two simple buttons to press, than playing it on a next generation console with a fancy controller. I'd prefer to be feeding a video game machine quarters in the noise of an arcade than sitting at home on the sofa playing with a PS4 or an X-Box One.
But times change. And Pac-Man evolves. And at least these Ghostly Adventures are keeping Pac-Man - a cultural icon - alive and in the mainstream.