If I were to ask a random sample of strangers what the greatest arcade game is I’m sure Pac-man would be one of the top responses. The yellow hero has been entertaining us for 30 years, and chomping millions of our quarters as well as digital pellets, fruit and ghosts. Pac-man Championship DX takes the basic game we are familiar with, remixes it, and presents us with a new experience.
The first change from the original game is the maze itself. Many new mazes are available, and noticeably more rectangular to fit today’s widescreen televisions. Not only are the mazes new, but I enjoy having the choice of how they appear. From the starting menu, we are able to select mazes that look like Tron-inspired neon, colorful Lego-like bricks, or even simple blocks for a retro-Atari era look.
The biggest change in Pac-man Championship DX is how you play through the maze. Ghosts will sleep until you pass by them, then follow relentlessly. Every time you eat a fruit, the maze resets, and new ghosts and pellets appear. It is not uncommon for a ten ghost tail to be following you as you wait for a power pellet to appear. Once you chomp the power pellet, and the ghosts become vulnerable, you can rack up many points as you eat 20 or more ghosts in a row. Another fun element added to DX is the bomb. You are given a small amount of bombs you can trigger if you find yourself trapped in a corner between ghosts. The bomb bounces every ghost back into the center, saving your pac-man’s life. If you don’t use a bomb, but have a close call, the game slows down, and a spotlight shines on pac-man, making the near miss even more exciting.
What sets this version of Pac-man apart for me is the time commitment; the focus is less on surviving the maze for as long as you can, and more on racking up a large score in a short time. The game has a 1, 5, and 10 minute mode, as well as unlimited time where you play until your lives run out. I really appreciate the bite-size game sessions. With my busy schedule, it is great to play a game for five minutes and having a rewarding, complete experience. I like the look of the game, the music is catchy, and it is fun to chase lots and lots of ghosts once I finally get that power pellet, but the ability to jump in and enjoy a quick game makes this a title I will return to many years from now.