Pac-Man (Datasoft/US Gold) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Datasoft
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #4


Pac-Man must be one of the most well known computer characters of all time. The millions of Pac-Man telly programs, computer variants, mugs, tee-shirts, Y-fronts, arcade rip-offs, furry jock straps and comics tell the tale.

For the one Trappist Monk in outer Mongolia who has been locked in a crypt without any communication with the outside world for the last four years, this is what Pac Man is.

You take the role of Pac-Man, a custard pie like thing which has an insatiable appetite for dots. You have to patrol a single-screen maze and eat all the dots to advance to the next screen. To add a little spice to your gobbling escapades there are four ghosts, Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde, who chase you, and if they catch up, kill you. To help you thwart their horrible, aggressive tendencies there are four power dots at the four corners of the maze and if eaten, these turn the ghosts blue. You can now chase the ghosts and eat them for bonus points. After a while they'll start to flash. This is the warning that they are just about to revert back to normal and will give chase, so steer well clear.

Twice during the screen, a fruit will appear. Eat this and you will gain bonus points. On higher levels this fruit increases in value until it is worth 5,000 points. On higher levels the ghosts become much faster and meaner in their tracking capability, the power dots become less powerful until, on the key levels, they only make the ghosts turn round.


So, the official version of Pac-Man hits our screens at last, eh? Big deal! It seems far too simple and aged to really worry about, unless you're a big fan of the original. The graphics and sound are as poor and dated as the gameplay, and this isn't one of US Gold's better releases. Still, some people will love it and it will probably sell.


This is a really good version of Pac-Man, the only trouble being that it has reached Britain about two years late. This official version provides a nostalgic trip back to the long, hot summer of '82, and provides as much challenge as did the arcade game. The graphics and sound are very similar to the arcade original, and this is the best version for the C64. It's a nice game but considering its age would be better suited with a far cheaper price tag.


Having no C64 Pac-Man in my software collection, I must say I really enjoyed playing this one. There's quite a big challenge for anyone buying it although, to say the least, the game is a bit dated. You can develop your own patterns for each screen and it will take quite a while to find a pattern for the hardest key screen. The graphics and sound are very similar to the arcade game, which is to say, a bit simple and old-fashioned looking. Overall, although expensive, this is the best Pac-Man available, and all I can say is that I'm surprised hardly anyone has done it on the C64 before.


Presentation 72%
Good instructions and play options.

Graphics 23%
Very close to the original, i.e. rather poor and dated.

Sound 19%
Very close to the original, i.e. very poor and dated.

Hookability 47%
No real initial interest unless you're a historian as the game idea has been long overtaken.

Lastability 31%
Nothing to really keep you going other than nostalgia.

Value For Money 42%
A tenner seems very high for this aging arcade game even if it is a classic.

Overall 35%
It's the best version of Pac-Man on the C64, but it's just too late.