Review: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
One of the first games I ever got for my old Sega Genesis was Ms. Pac-Man. It was fun for awhile, but eventually, you can only play so much pac-man for so long. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this title, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has injected a frantically fun and fresh experience into the old standard. While it’s still about eating as many pellets as you can, it puts an emphasis on paths taken while eating these pellets. As you eat all the pellets on one side of the board a fruit will appear. Eat the fruit and it will spawn a new set of pellets, ghosts, and sometimes layouts on the other side of the board. The major scoring mechanic is still eating ghosts, but to succeed, you want to wait to eat them until you have amassed what is called a “ghost-train”. As you take paths around the board eating pellets, you will pass by sleeping ghosts. They will wake up and begin to chase your every move after you pass them. Chaining them together into a train allows you to score a massive combo when you finally eat a power pellet. Getting Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde all in one power pellet used to feel rewarding, but this falls short in comparison to eating some 50 ghosts all at once. It’s downright satisfying.
Other tweaks have been added to compensate for this new style of play. The better you do, the more the game speeds up, finally maxing out at 50 times speed. I showed this game to my buddy and once I maxed the speed out he thought he was gonna have a heart attack. It gets truly frantic. Also added are bombs which allow you to knock ghosts back to the spawn point if you find yourself cornered. This truly makes the game more about skill and not just the randomness of the ghosts’ path taken. My favorite new feature is a slow-down mechanic. It acts almost like a bullet-time; whenever you’re about to run into a ghost, the game will superspeed down, allowing you to try and back out before you die. This feature is a godsend at the higher speed levels.
Graphics and sound are great. There are 8 different graphical styles you can choose from, so the game never looks dull, and it allows you to pick a favorite (mine being 2, a very pixelated style). Sound effects are a mix of the classic sounds we know and love as well as newer more modernized versions. Music is very catchy, but a common complaint of mine; why can’t I listen to my tunes? C’mon devs, this shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Pac-Man offers up a multitude of different boards to play on as well as different play styles. These include time attacks, ghost combos, and speed runs. Each allows for variably different types of experiences, even on the same board. They certainly make for a “just one more time” mentality. I felt like I wanted to keep putting a quarter in the machine after every run through. There is also a robust leaderboard system that constantly ranks your runs through levels. I have an S rank on one of the boards, so I’m kind of a big deal. As I’m editing this, Eric has gone and taken my high score on Championship II, so I’m sure I’ll have to sign on again soon and take back whats mine.
This game is pure fun. Namco, you’re doing something right.
We purchased this game out of pocket. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Ghost trains
- Fresh gameplay
- Robust scoring system
- Trippy visual options
What I Dislike:
- No custom soundtrack support