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Pac-Attack (Genesis) artwork

Pac-Attack (Genesis) review


"It seems developers have no problem these days with using their star characters to promote other games that are hardly relative. A quick look through the gaming platforms of old uncover several titles which are basically simple in execution, but with a mascot on top. Something that may spring to mind is Dr.Mario – a poor Tetris clone with Nintendo’s plumber hero stuck in for a few cheap sales. He’s not the only victim however. Sega threw sonic into a pinball machine for Sonic Spinball, although ..."



It seems developers have no problem these days with using their star characters to promote other games that are hardly relative. A quick look through the gaming platforms of old uncover several titles which are basically simple in execution, but with a mascot on top. Something that may spring to mind is Dr.Mario – a poor Tetris clone with Nintendo’s plumber hero stuck in for a few cheap sales. He’s not the only victim however. Sega threw sonic into a pinball machine for Sonic Spinball, although this was fairly good. The cast from Street Fighter even managed to battle it out amidst falling gems in Super Puzzle Fighter something of other - which was great.

So now we have another puzzler – and a cheap Tetris one at that – with a familiar face stuck in for good measure. This time the developer is Tengen… (What do you mean who the hell does Tengen have?) …and the hero is Pacman.

The premise of the game is fairly different from all of the ‘blocks-in-vat’ games we have seen millions of times before. Basically there are two types of block which fall – solid block and ghost block. Solid blocks can only be removed by lining them up horizontally, forming a complete row. Ghost block need a different approach however. Every third drop will bear a Pacman block, which when dropped, will fall in a certain direction gobbling up the ghosts it encounters. This calls for a strategy to be adopted and a little forward planning if you hope to survive. See, if the vat fills up, its all over.

There are three modes which you can play over, some of which some are the standard affair. Survival mode gives you an empty vat and throws blocks at you until you lose. Only a steadily increasing drop speed and a level indicator lie ahead. It is basically a race for points here, with your name at the top of the board the target.

Versus mode speaks for itself, pitting two players against each other. As you make lines and eat ghosts, your opponent receives sprinklings of ghosts relevant to the size of your loss. This does get a little frantic at times, but remains a good laugh once the single player modes have been exhausted.

Puzzle mode is by far the most challenging part of the game, giving you a hundred levels in which to plough through. Each level has a set pattern of blocks to start, with the idea being to remove all of the ghosts. This doesn’t sound too bad until you realise you only get so many Pacman blocks, making logical planning and a little luck with the blocks essential. Later levels include different kinds of blocks that don’t fall to the bottom of the vat and others that need the lined up twice, making your progress a little harder. A password feature is included in case you get a headache mid game and wish to return for more.

What we have here then has been done many a time elsewhere now, yet Pac-Attack still remains above average as far as puzzle games go. The three game modes are varied and add to the longevity of the title, which lifts it above many others on the system. Sadly, it still falls behind Dr.Robotniks Mean Bean Machine (another one!) and either of the Columns games, which when all said and done isn’t too bad. It is certainly one for the puzzle freaks, who wont be too disappointed - and oh, don’t buy it because it has Pacman - as if you would anyway!

Rating: 5/10

djy8c's avatar
Community review by djy8c (January 16, 2004)

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