Pac-Man will always have a place in many gamers’ hearts as the annoying and completely addictive ghost-munching puzzle game it was. To this day I still occasionally search the web for the fantastic first version of the game. Unfortunately Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures does not live up to its predecessor’s legacy.
This game is a little tough to review as it seems to be more for children than the adult population of gamers, what with the bright colours, overly chirpy voice acting and witless dialogue that seems to make it look and feel like something on the Disney Channel’s game website for kids, but I guess that is very similar to what it actually is, seeing as though it is based on the animated series.
It is all well and good for companies such as Namco Bandai to make games like this for children and of course colouring it with too much wit and making it more realistic will confuse the little ones but to be honest this game is not something I recommend for the avid gamer. With the fact that these days, games are becoming a lot more than just some animated characters on the screen and are looking more life-like with every new release, it is strange to see the extreme colours and animations of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.
Bright colours are everywhere.
The game itself is not very interesting in the early levels and after a brief introduction to the game; you are pretty much left to figure things out on your own. You do get some hints like “use the X button to chomp ghosts” but nothing actually helps you find your way through the first level, you kind of just run around until you find a checkpoint. Checkpoints are the only way you can be sure that you are heading in the right direction, as most of the time they won’t let you go back after you have got it.
Once you finish the first level, you are teleported to a school, which becomes your base of operations. Unfortunately nothing helps you to get going onto the next stage. It was quite frustrating to run through the halls, not knowing how to get onto the next part of the game. Eventually I was able to find what I am supposed to do by pressing the B button near every single thing and everyone within the school. Most of the dialogue that comes out of the other characters is a one-liner that does not help you at all.
Not only is there no actual help from the characters in the game, the camera also seems to be against you. After so much hassle I eventually left it to auto-rotate around my character as I moved. It was rather horrible and caused me to not be able to target a few ghosts while I was button mashing to try and chomp them.
Sure the game becomes more interesting when you have to use power-ups to get around, such as becoming “chameleon-esque” and using your “sticky tongue” to grab on poles and vault yourself to the next platform, or make yourself invisible to get past search lights. That becomes the only variety in the endless, mindless chomping of ghosts. That is truly how I felt playing the game, mindless, all I had to do was mash the X button to get through each stage with little to no damage taken
Sticky tounge anyone?
The multiplayer is no more exciting, as you and up to three other players roam the Pac-Man mazes, collecting power-ups and the like, all the while trying to stay away from the computer-controlled Pac-Man. See in the multiplayer, you and your friends get to take on a different side of the Pac-Man saga; you get to be the ghosts. Even in the multiplayer, you play more for yourself than as a “team” because you are really only worried about keeping yourself away from the Pac-Man.
In relation to other Namco Bandai games, such as Street Fighter X Tekken and Soulcalibur, this does not rank very high up on the Namco Bandai greatest hits scale. In all honesty, this game is not for the avid gamer of today’s world, it more for first timers and young kids. Even though it is kid’s game, there is a fair amount of darkness to it, which of course kids won’t see but then again, what kids game/show has not had some underlying darkness incorporated within?