THE PILL-POPPER'S BACK!
After being inflated into full 3-D for Pac-Mania (82%, Issue 59), everyone's favourite pill-popper has now grown legs and arms! After using these to finally escape his famous haunted mazes he returns back home to the island of Pac-Land. Pac's never been one for the quiet life though, and when he happens on a lost fairy he resolves to take it home to Fairyland.
But no sooner than Pac sets off on his trip, the ghosts Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde are on his trail. Having never been pill-poppers they haven't suffered Pac's limb-growing side effects, but that doesn't stop them driving cars and piloting planes. Once again Pac is on the run, this time across a flick-screen landscape - jumping fire hydrants and tree trunks, but not the ghosts who float upwards to gobble him up.
Pac's trip to Fairyland will take him through four sections, including a town, forests, desert and a mountain pass with moving platforms. As one would expect of Pac-Land there's plenty of food to gobble for extra points and quite a few power pills - so you can eat up the ghosts for a change. But all this exertion is tiring, and if your energy runs out you lose a life.
The rotund Pac has undoubtably won a special place in most gamesplayers hearts and has starred in some excellent coin-ops, Pac-Land being one of them. It's a pity, then, that the conversion is so poor. After some pretty neat scrolling of an isometric landscape in Pac-Mania, Grandslam now have the gall to offer a bland, totally colourless game with a flick-screen technique which severely limits the playability. Then there's the weird credit system - you can select up to a hundred credits but they don't give you extra lives! For the character alone it's fun to play for a while, but with no colour, no scrolling, and no Fairyland sequence this is a bit of an insult.
MARK ... 63%
THE ESSENTIALS Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair Graphics: monochromatic but characterful Sound: catchy 128K in-game tune Options: one or two players
Mike ... 84%
'Pac-Land is one of the most gorgeously endearing games I've seen in ages! The sound is excellent; a catchy (annoyingly so!) tune plays throughout. As happens so often, it gets a bit garbled when the spot FX try and play at the same time, but this is a minor point. The graphics are great - the monochrome is a bit of a disappointment, but the well-animated characters and equally attractive backgrounds more than make up for it. Playability, though, is Pac-Land's real strength. Varied levels and entertaining presentation all add to a jolly good basic game.'