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POSTED 3/12/13


PAC-MAN AND THE GHOSTLY ADVENTURES

Namco Bandai
Wii U (also on PS3, Xbox 360)

In what will scarcely be startlingly revelatory to anyone, the original Pac-Man didn’t have a nose.

So, how’d he smell? Terrible!

Yeah, erm, thanks Dad. Boom-tish.

Anyway, the reason we mention the original absence of, and subsequent addition of, an olfactory protuberance is simple. As was the original Pac-Man. Delightfully so. You know – dotty maze, our favourite hungry, hungry cheese wheel, ghosts and various power-up goodies. It was magnificent, and remains infinitely playable today. Even its sortie into 3Dishness, Pac-Mania, was ace.

But the insane pop cultural explosion Pac-Man ignited led Hanna Barbera to cartoonimate him. Giving him a nose – and legs! Things were sliding downhill. Soon Pac-Land came along, a ho-hum side-scroller, and then the saffron-hued circular dude kinda skulked away.

But he’s back, baby! The Harry Potteresquely-titled Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a game based on the new animated series of identical name, which is based on a game. Brain explosion! Anyway, surprise, surprise it’s a 3D platformer like, well, most every other licenced game ever.

Like, Pac’s a dude-drawling teen tasked with saving stuff from some evil Betrayus dude. He still munches dots and ghosts, but in a gorgeous-looking Mario 64 kind of stylised world, with assorted power-ups offering different skills, such as bouncing, spewing fireballs, firing ice and toad-tonguing.

However, while game design’s truly impressive, they forgot to assimilate other Mario goodness – controllable controls. Toad-tonguing and wall-jumping, for example, are so fraught with crapulence that they cause multiple deaths. Then there’s the camera. ARGH! Seriously, the way it hurls about unpredictably would make even Lars von Trier greet his brekkie as it hurtles reversewards at great velocity from his tummy and splatters artily upon a dog drawn on a white floor.

With some careful polishing this would have been a sensational Pac-kage. Instead, it’s a bit on the nose.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.