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Pac-Man (Atari 5200) artwork

Pac-Man (Atari 5200) review

"Atari righted its wrongs of the 2600 version and gave us a great remake"

When Namco released Pac-Man in the arcades to the masses it was a crazed hit since Pac-Man was the first video game character to have a name and actually have a personality. Since Atari had the best selling console at the time it was only expected for them to throw their weight at Namco and secure rights to program a home version for their Atari 2600. You all know how history went; Atari made a bazillion copies of the game and it sold like hot cakes but it didn't take long for the public to realize that the game was a heap of trash leaving most if not all owners angry at Atari for pulling such a fast one on them.

Fast forward to the days of the Atari 5200; it was the system that Atari touted would bring the arcade experience home. They now had a chance to remedy their mass failure of an Atari 2600 game and right their wrongs with the fans and gain their respect back.

Surprisingly, they succeeded.

Pac-Man (Atari 5200) image

I'm sure all of you know how Pac-Man plays, you know, run around a maze while avoiding the ghosts and grabbing dots. Yeah, I won't go to great lengths to describe it because you need to get out some more if you haven't played it but I'll give some of the highlights of this port of the game.

Pac-Man plays darn well on the Atari 5200, it's not perfect but it blows the Atari 2600 version out of the water. The maze is slightly scrunched down and widened compared to other versions which is the complaint of many fans and although it looks different, the game play is vastly improved.

The Atari 5200 joystick is a piece of crap as most of you know so the game is best when it's played with a Competition Pro stick or a Masterplay Interface which make it feel just like the arcade. If you don't own the better 3rd party sticks a standard Joystick will get the job done; the non self centering doesn't hurt this game too much and can be compensated for; only the start button needs to function eliminating the hassle of non working fire and keypad buttons.

Pac-Man (Atari 5200) image

It may not have the most detailed graphics on the console but it makes up for it with extremely fluid movement and it includes all of the intermission screens; it would feel like you brought the arcade home if only the game retained its vertical aspect from the arcade. The sound is almost dead on and once again adds to the game. I barely notice a difference over the arcade version at all.

Atari succeeded this time around and gave us probably the best port of Pac-Man in console format at the time, it looks and sounds great and is easily a great first effort for the console and if you own an Atari 5200 Pac-Man is a necessity. It paved the way for all of the other great almost arcade perfect games that the Atari 5200 would soon receive.


vgc2000's avatar
Featured community review by vgc2000 (August 06, 2017)

vgc2000's more extensive backlog of reviews can be found on GameFaqs. But some now live here.

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Nightfire posted August 13, 2017:

I'm not sure Pac-Man had much of a personality besides being hungry and being afraid of ghosts. I'm just sayin'.

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