Pac Man
Box Shot
Pac Man
Platform: NES
Publisher: Tengen
Designer: Namco
Genre: Arcade
Players: 2 (Alternating)
Published Date 1988
Reviewed by: Adam King

Who hasn't heard of Pac-Man, the name in arcade games? He is the most well known game character in the world, spawning countless games; sequels (Ms. Pac Man, Pac Man Jr.) and clones (K.C. Munchkin), and also having games released on virtually any system, even the old Atari 2600 and Colecovision. Pac-Man also has an interesting history on the NES. The arcade port was originally released by Tengen as a licensed game, but after they defected from Nintendo, they rereleased it as an unlicensed game. In 1993, Namco became a licensee and rereleased Tengen's game as a licensed cart (sorry if this sounds confusing).

There's nothing much to the gameplay. You play as Pac-Man, and the object of each maze is to chomp out all the dots, while evading the infamous ghosts. One touch does you in, but if you eat a power dot, the ghosts will turn blue and run away, and you can chomp them for bonus points. You can also snag fruit for points. Once you get all the dots, it's off to the next maze. Every so often, you'll see a little scene where Pac-Man and a red ghost duke it out. It's pretty amusing to break the monotony.

The graphics, though it resembles the arcade very well, are not much to talk about. You go through the same maze the whole game, and none of the sprites change. Almost the entire right side of the screen is taken up by by the status, but this was done to keep the size of the playing field the same (since the arcade monitor wasn't square like a television.) There's no music, just the simple sounds of you munching down dots (I think the sound you make when you die is neat). The controls handle well, even with the NES control pad.

Pretty much everyone has played Pac-Man in one form or another, so they won't find anything new here. But it's a down, homebrewn, all-in-all classic. However, it's nice to return to the arcade roots, and this game is a well-done port of the arcade, so if you don't have an arcade emulator, give this a shot, if not just for nostalgia.