Super Pac-Man
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9  |  It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...Pac-Man with a cape!
Darryl B. , 8/4/2009 9:11:13 AM

PLEASE NOTE* - This review was originally submitted by "Darryl B. , 8/2/2009 1:17:34 AM", but 'SuperPac' - added one sentence toward the end of the story.

"Super

Oh boy, am I going to GET it for giving a positive review for this one!

Because I still hear to this day the cries of "this wasn't Pac-Man! You didn't eat dots!" Oh wah, boo hoo. I found it more intuitive than Pac-Man, since you have to WORK at unlocking parts of the Super Pac-Man maze in order to get more access to the fine cuisine (?) you had to devour later. Granted, I'll admit I never had to stand in line to play this one from back in the day, but I still enjoyed it a lot, even though this wasn't one of the more favorable Pac sequels to most gamers in general (along with Pac 'n Pal, which I had never even heard of until a few years ago! Never saw that one anywhere!).

Yes, this strayed from the Pac formula quite a bit, as there's not one single dot in the entire game to eat. That's all there was in the original, along with Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, and Jr. Pac-Man: dots, dodging the monsters (remember that they were originally monsters, then everyone started calling them ghosts after the flickery Atari 2600 version came out?), eating the monsters after consuming an all-important energizer, and the occasional bonus prize (if you could grab it before it disappeared).

In this game, Pac-Man's menu was greatly expanded, from hamburgers to doughnuts to what appear to be shamrocks in the later rounds (? But then, Pac-Man's stomach has never been anything short of amazing over the years, albeit slightly disgusting), among other items.  In order to get to the food, though, Pac-Man must first eat nearby keys to unlock doors to the maze. Careful attention must be paid too, since sometimes the player would enter a corridor, then realize that they hadn't unlocked the other end of it, resulting in a literal dead-end if there's a monster on the other side of Pac-Man, blocking his escape route (say goodbye)...

There's the usual escape tunnels too to try to shake the monsters from your tail, along with a kind of slot machine-type bonus for the prize this time around, where several prizes will appear in very quick fashion underneath the monster pen. Only one certain prize will be worth big points if caught; the others, not so much. And there's also the occasional bonus round where, as Super Pac-Man, the player can use the speed button to hurry through the maze (minus the monsters), eating as much (or everything) as possible before the bonus points run out.

Oh yes, the new addition as to where the namesake comes from: along with the regular energizers where the player(s) can eat the monsters with (just out of habit, I almost called them 'ghosts' right there), there's also two Super Pac-Man energizers per board. Eat one, and not only are you invulnerable to the monsters for a short period (along with them shrinking to half their size in fear over your super stud self...or something), but pressing the speed button will enable Pac-Man to fly through the maze at super speed, and he can even crash through the locked doors of the maze corridors without needing a key as well. (This is especially helpful when Super Pac-Man accidentally locks the keys in his car too.)

The graphics weren't really improved this time around (although that was usually the way the Pac games were back then, until the series went 3-D with Pac-Mania a few years later), nor was the sound (although it was fine), and the controls responded well (might want to ease up on that speed button just a tad as you whip Super Pac-Man around the corners though), and patterns helped as well, since I know a few and can get to nearly the 20th round with over 140,000 points. And the game's still fun (to me anyway), believe it or not!

This wasn't the usual gigantic smash as the previous games of the original and the Ms. Pac-Man sequel were, though, and it didn't get much of it's share of ports either, as the video game crash killed it's Atari 5200 port, and I believe it was planned for the 2600 as well. Decades later though, it made it onto the Plug 'n Play Jakks Retro Arcade Pac-Man unit (with 11 other games, not all Pac-Man as well), and I think another unit before that one too (which I'm being too lazy to look up).  It's also made its way in the form of a Homebrew on the Atari 7800 last year.  So at least it's been brought back to today's crowd, even if it didn't draw one back in the day.

Plus it did a lot better than the huge flop of the Professor Pac-Man quiz game, at least.  Ugh...what were they THINKING on that one? 9/10
 

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