Pac-mania (Grandslam) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

By Grandslam
Archimedes A3000

Published in The Micro User 7.01

Out for the chomp!

When Pac-Mania landed in my lap I thought "Oh no, not another Pac-Man!" Well it isn't, and I'm a converted Pacmaniac.

With all the versions of the original game around - including Snapper, Munchy man and our very own Hac-man - I'm sure you're all familiar with the little chomper, power pills and the ghosts.

In this new game you not only get a 3D view - which doesn't cover the whole screen - but four different worlds to chomp your way through.

When you boot the disc you get a fairly dull set of instructions and from there you go to screen selection, which has pictorial representations of Block Town, Pac-Man's Park, Sandbox Land and Jungly Steps - theoretically graded in order of difficulty.

The default controls are Z,X,O,K and spacebar for jump. You can define your own keys but although unusual I found the default ones quite comfortable and convenient. All extra options such as pause, sound and so on are controlled by Shifted keys, so you won't press them accidentally.

Selecting Block Town takes you to an intermediate screen which has Pac-Man being chased across the screen by the ghosts, now named Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Clyde, Sue and Funky. Then you get to the game proper.

You start to munch your way round the maze, composed of Lego and Duplo blocks and accompanied by a jolly tune using excellent sounds, chomping at the little yellow spots while the ghosts wander round randomly matching your speed. Scattered to the four corners of the maze are the power pills which, when chomped, change all the ghosts blue and reduce their speed for about 15 seconds.

In this time you can chomp them - the points you get double for each subsequent ghost chomped, up to a maximum of about 7000. The ghosts' eyes then wander around the maze rapidly until they reach their base, at which point they re-constitute.

Occasionally, a piece of fruit or a sweet appears at a point on the maze and will give you a score if you chomp it - but it only lasts for a while. If you're very lucky a small green sphere appears. When munched this gives you double speed for a while and can really help in cleaning up the maze and getting high scores. Also short duration turn-blue pills occasionally appear but they aren't very useful.

If you are being chased by a persistent ghost it is possible to reverse direction and jump over it. You can see its eyes look up as you go over it - but watch out. Don't jump just before a junction, as this is where ghosts change direction and it'll stay on your tail.

Once Block Town has been cleared you move to Pac-Man Park via alittle theatrical interlude. The park looks like the classic original as seen from the side - including the route off screen from the right to the left, except the ghosts can use it too. This screen has a different tune, excellently rendered, and is much more difficult to complete than Block Town.

Completing it the first time results in you having to do it again with different colours, but now the purple ghosts move faster than you and are virtually unshakeable. The only way is to get them on astraight with no junction near and do the reverse jump.

Sandbox Land is reached via an interlude screen which informs you that green ghosts can now jump too. This seems the easiest screen. Not only are there so many twists and turns that it's easy to foil pursuing ghosts, but if you get a go-faster pill you can wipe the floor with your opponents and get massive scores.

You do this screen twice - the purple ghosts go faster on the second one - then move to Jungly Steps after seeing a nightmare where Pac-Man is chased by a giant ghost at least

four times normal size. After getting over your fear of falling

floor - you can zoom around this new screen fairly success fully on the first round. The impression of going up and down slopes isquite uncanny.

On the second round the ghosts are faster again, but it's still easier than Block Town. From here you go back to the start with the whole game running twice as fast, with jumping ghosts and superfast ones.

This game is an example of what really professional games companies can produce at it is superb. Buy it.


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