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Pac-Man - The Atari Times


Pac-Man Fever...
by Ryan Genno

March 23, 2006
Finally! After getting a rather blocky, ugly, and overall disappointing version on the old Atari 2600 this Pac Man is actually a fairly very good arcade port that's almost plays like the famous arcade original. Pac Man is the original 1980's legend that took the video game industry to a whole new level. Pac Man's creator's, Toru Iwatani, actually got the idea for the legendary character by eating a pizza with some of the slices missing, he wondered what if the roles were reversed and the pizza itself was hungry? Pac Man is born!

The objective in the game is simple: you are a little round yellow creature named Pac Man, and you must complete the level be eating up at the dots on the screen while avoiding the 4 pesky ghosts Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, that are trying to hunt him down. The 4 ghosts each act differently like Blinky (Red) is the aggressive guy, Pinky (Pink) is the sneaky one and is quite smart, Inky (Blue) can scare easily if you look at him and is not too smart, and Clyde (Orange) acts randomly and is the dumbest of the four but he can still get mad. Blinky and Pinky are the ones to watch out for because they always seem to know where Pac Man is on the board but as Pac Man moves from level to level they all get more cleaver. As you finish each level the game gets slightly faster each time and it here's were the real fun starts.

Thankfully for our brave hungry hero that he can eat one of four corner flashing power pellets so he can become the hunter now on the those rotten ghosts and eat them for points but only for a short time, be careful after the ghost have been eaten because they can easily regenerate themselves thanks to the center gate and they are going to be pretty angry. The now eatable dark blue ghosts even give you more bonus points as you eat more than one. As you eat each ghost the points you earn are doubled so it's 200pts for the first, 400pts for the second, 800pts for the third, and a huge 1600pts for the last but you should also know that the ghosts will run away after you got that power pellet so eating them all is not as easy as it sounds and in the later levels the time you have to eat the ghost gets shorter and shorter.

There are a few differences though. The big noticeable change is the screen is a little on the wider side now so it fits on the TV screen better. Also the game play feels a lot faster near the beginning so it's much tougher now. Another reason the game feels so hard is because of those stupid non-centering controllers make it extra difficult to move Pac Man around corners or even changing directions is a chore.

What the game lacks in controls it definitely makes up for in presentation. Gone are the bland designs of the 2600 version, they are now replaced with the more arcade-like black and blue mazes. It isn't all good though, the 4 ghosts are all one single colour and have no eyes. The game even has those cool in between game intermissions complete with background music. Pac Man for the 5200 even sounds like the arcade game because even the cute waka-waka is still here.

Other then a few alternations the game still has all cool Pac Man trademarks like colourful graphics and cute sound effects all right here. Pac Man is still kind of fun though even with the odd controller, but be aware that this is a little on the hard side now and it may be for everyone.


(c) Atari

...I'm going outta my mind.
At least they managed to make the maze basically the same as the original.
System: 5200
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 65%
Sound & Music Score: 65%
Gameplay Score: 50%
Control Score: 50%

Final Score: 63%

Reader Comments for Pac-Man

Why? by Gregory D. George on 2006-10-02 23:39:35
Ms. Pac-Man is so much more fun than the original. I know, nostalgia and all... The feeling you get from playing the original, but honestly, I NEVER play this one. It's either Ms. Pac or Jr. Pac anymore...
Re: Why? by Ryan Genno on 2006-12-12 19:40:25
I totallay agree and actually the Ms. Pac Man game had a higher rating. I wish I played the 5200 version of Jr. Pac Man myself here.
Almost as good as the arcade version by Randy Johnson on 2014-07-22 17:37:35
This is almost as good as the arcade Pac-man. The Atari 5200 version has all three of the arcade intermissions. That was something Atari neglected to include in the Atari 400/800 and the 2600 versions of Pac-man.
The 5200 Pac-man has all of the prizes of the arcade version except for one. The Thunderbird prize that's on the arcade version was replaced with the Atari Logo on both the Atari 5200 and the 400/800 Pac-mans.
A fantastic thing about this game is that it was free. It came with the Atari 5200. Coleco sold many thousands of their Colecovisions just because it included Donkey Kong. Maybe if the Atari 5200 controllers hadn't sucked, Pac-man would've made the 5200 a big success as well.
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