Well, I'm reviewing this game, largely because I like it. The hacker behind it has convinced me that this isn't the most horrible game ever made after all . . .
As you can see, your character is a pink bio-engineered post-apocalyptic Pac-Man . . . Why Pac-Man? . . . Well, what else are you going to create to defend a radiation-ravaged world from deadly Sea Ghosts under the control of the villainous super-ghost Cyplix, to whom massive statues reminiscent of Iron Maiden album covers have been erected, that is, if Iron Maiden had covered "Pac-Man Fever". . . Of course, they didn't.
The reason the original game has a massive reputation for sucking oceans of ass is simple. The first move you make is the most difficult one in the history of the 2600. Just jumping off the platform and into the deadly Ghost-filled sea if fraught with peril . . . The red, orange, and yellow Sea Ghosts cunningly hunt poor Mr. Pac-Man down like so much dogmeat, and unless you fake them out with all the grace of Gretzky dekeing some Calgary defender back when people south of Detroit actually gave a rat's ass about hockey, the average Pac-Man lifespan is about 1.5 seconds. . .
Once you fake out Danny, Quinty, Babo and Cipa . . . (I have no idea why the big yellow one and the little orange one don't have names) and shoot them with the Power Pellet emanating from your Pac-Mouth, you go to the mysterious second screen, which even the majority of http://www.atariage.com/ forum posters didn't even know existed until this hack was made.
Here, you have to save E. T., E. T. Jr. (who is probably the product of a liaison between E. T. and either Ms. Pac or Lilly from the Pitfall-esque other Taiwanese pirate game "Lilly Adventure"), and Ms. Pac-Man from the even more cunning Sea Cy-Ghosts, Ezzy, Kepone, and Cpuwiz. If you can snag Pac-Man's paramour and both of your little space buddies before the 60-second time limit runs out and return to the platform, you get an extra 10,000 points. . . However, it is not essential to go down to the second screen every time to achieve a high score (I'm up to 200K now, which would be way in the lead in my own contest for this game on the AA board, but since the contest was my idea, I can't enter :( . . . Besides, I'm getting a copy on cart anyway, which kicks the ass), instead make one successful run to screen 2 and back, and then jump back in, shoot all the ghosts, and camp on the bottom of screen 1 . . . As each new ghost pops out, shoot it, you should be able to get 11 or 12 of them before the time limit forces you to head back up and take your score.
Which is my one peeve with the game, really. You don't receive your score until you return to the platform, and then it counts up R . . . E . . . A . . . L . . . S . . . L . . . O . . . W 100 points at a time, which gives you time to take a piss if you just made a 10K+ score) On the bright side, Sea Ghosts do not spawn while the score is racking up, so you'll have the same sea conditions when you jump back in as you did when you entered.
Well, it's a hack of a game that was beyond ugly to begin with . . . That said, the Sea Ghosts look oodles better than the ugly-ass fish in the original, and I especially like the little Cyplices on the bottom and their 4-frame eye motion. . .
There's hardly any. . . Which is not unusual for multi-format pirate games (although the aforementioned Lilly Adventure has a nice rendition of Frere Jacques in the background). No changes from the original, AFAIK.
Once you get past that first step (and especially if you don't cheesily cheat), this is a hella fun game. . . Precision positioning and timing is needed to take out the Sea Ghosts before they get you. Once you get the hang of it, nothing feels better than plugging a Sea Ghost right in the belly (Don't shoot them in the eyes, though. Because the original sprites were smaller than the Sea Ghosts, you'll miss, and be basically ghost chow).
Like 4 kilobytes of crack. . .
In short, download this game from BeepBopBoop.com , fire up Stella or Z26, and play it now. Heck, enter my contest, someone has to be able to beat 110,000 besides me (considering that the creator himself, who has access to the full disassembly, can't, maybe not, though).
(c) Gray Games