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Ms. Pac-Man - The Atari Times

Ms. Pac-Man

Even more than Pac-Man with a bow?
by Ryan Genno

May 22, 2006
If you're over twenty than you most likely know about a certain arcade hit that was practically all over the place when you were younger; the game was Namco's Ms. Pac Man. Although Ms. Pac Man on the Atari 2600 was pretty good, the 5200 edition has such amazing graphics and sounds the game is almost arcade perfect.

If you're just out of prison or you're Amish, here's how to play the game; make Ms. Pac Man eat all the dots on the screen while avoiding the pesky 4 multi-coloured ghosts. As each stage passes the game gets slightly faster and the Power Pellet don't last as long. Plus unlike Namco's Pac Man there are 4 different mazes to learn and master. Sounds simple enough, uh?

The game play mostly remains the same as Pac Man. As Ms. Pac Man, you have to eat all the pellets on the board to finish the level but be careful of the four wily ghosts Blinky (Red), Pinky (Pink), Inky (Blue), and new comer Sue (Orange) that chase Ms. Pac Man around the maze, one hit and she's a goner. Luckily for our brave yellow heroine that she can eat one of four corner flashing power pellets so he can turn the tables on the those rotten ghosts and eat them for points but only for a short time. The 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. Ms. Pac Man can also earn some points by eating those many pellets and the new 7 bouncing fruits that move around the board instead of staying on the center of the screen every so often.

A good game is never too easy and Ms. Pac Man is no exception. The ghosts will manage to find and trap you if you're not too careful and the 7 different bonus fruits that bounce around the screen after every 70 and 170 pellet eaten will sometimes lure you to the ghosts by accident. Just like the original Pac Man, the 4 ghosts each act differently. Blinky (Red) is the hunter, Pinky (Pink, duh) is the ambusher and is quite smart, Inky (Blue) can scare easily and is not too smart, and Sue (Orange) acts randomly and is the dumbest of the four. Blinky and Pinky are the ones to watch out for because they always seem to know where Ms. Pac Man is on the board.

Surviving the ghosts is even harder in Ms. Pac Man than the first Pac Man because of the increased AI, plus you have strange new mazes to learn to throw you off your game. After you finish the first two Pink mazes and see the 'They Meet' intermission you have to survive three new blue mazes. These blue mazes features longer corridors and longer one way paths for Pinky and Blinky to try and trap you more effectively. If manage too survive those three mazes than you'll see the 'The Chase' intermission and than you'll be taken to the new Yellow mazes. The Yellow mazes are actually easier to navigate thought than the blue mazes but now the ghosts are much faster and more intelligent. If you manage to survive four Yellow stages you'll see the very brief 'Junior' intermission and you'll go to the Dark Blue mazes. All I have to say is good luck even making it here.

Not only does the game play just like the arcade game but it also looks like it too. Unlike Pac Man for the 5200 all the ghosts now have white in their eyes plus the mazes aren't stretched out just so it fits the screen. The colours are fairly bright and all the characters are well detailed too thanks again to the power of the 5200. You'll also be happy to know that the game sounds just like the original too. Everything from Ms. Pac Man's sound when she eats a pellet to the dizzy effect when a ghost gets her is right here.

Ms. Pac Man may not be the most original game in the world but this spin off of Pac Man not only attracted more female players to the once male dominated game market but it also got the average arcade goer (like me) interested too because of its more in-depth and challenging game play. Even though I have my copy of Ms. Pac Man complete with the box and instructions but lets face it, the game is so easy to play that you don't need to read booklet to understand what's going on here. That's the beauty of a good Pac Man game, eh? The only problem is that the controller isn't always responsive when she going around corners (again those awkward 5200 controllers become a problem) so you may die a lot and there are a few flickers now and again as well. Despite a few issues Ms. Pac Man for the 5200 is well worth looking for.

At least all the Ms. Pac-Man games are good.
A couple of traps here.
Interesting tunnel.
This fourth maze always reminded me of the original Pac-Man maze.
Ms. Pac-Man
System: 5200
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Action
Graphics Score: 80%
Sound & Music Score: 80%
Gameplay Score: 70%
Control Score: 60%

Final Score: 71%

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