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by Shot97 posted Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:53 am


Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures
Sega Genesis
1994, Namco

* My video review of Pac-Man 2

You might hate it. I’d understand if you did. Even if you like it, you’re going to hate it. It’s worthy of being made fun of, but it’s also worthy of being defended. As is the case with many games; the people doing reviews of them online do them no justice. They take the easy way out, make the most obvious jokes they can, and can never be bothered to finish the game. I’d hope this could be a review that will do the game and “real reviews” justice.

^ 3 games in one! Load her up!

I got the game when I was 9 or 10 years old. I do believe the screenshot on the back of the box showing the original Pac-Man is what made me want it. Who doesn’t love a good game of Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man? Even my father was intrigued by this one; a huge lover of those original arcade games. Of course what we got was anything but a direct sequel to the arcade game we all knew and loved. For better and worse we got one of the most unique games of all time.

^ Meet the cast of this “interactive cartoon”

They called it an interactive cartoon on the box. 1994 was the breakout year of interactive movies on the PC; Wing Commander III (and many others) being released that year. In some ways they are quite on spot with that description. The amount of animation in this game is staggering for a 16-bit game. You will be unlikely to ever come across a game with as many diverse emotions shown in its characters. Still; I’d label it mostly as its own unique beast; but closest in genre to a computer adventure game. There’s simply not enough story for me to identify it in the “interactive movie/cartoon” category. However, the game shares many traits with those computer adventures.

^ One of the first games I recall playing that offered a tutorial, our first “quest”, and the map screen

After a very impressive introduction screen you are thrust into what was certainly my first tutorial level, I wouldn’t doubt if it had been one of the first ever as well. I suppose we needed it, and any new comers to this game will be best served by playing it. This veteran skipped right past it though. The controls are worthy of discussion; unlike many games (that get the discussion anyway). You have no direct control over Pac-Man. He does his own thing; and he is quite aloof. He’s easily distracted, prone to sudden mood swings, and will easily get himself killed without your interaction.

^ We can’t control Pac-Man, but we can influence the world around him

Your main method of interacting with Pac-Man is through the use of a trusty old slingshot. Pressing the B button will load her up, and you can shoot just about everything you see. In our first quest to find milk we will find an irate farmer that will not allow Pac-Man to pass. Simply shoot the haystack above his head to have it fall down and eliminate the problem. Then in true Rube Goldberg fashion; hit a glass to get Pac-Man’s attention, then a bird to have it fly down and move the glass into reach for Pac-Man to then grab and milk the cow.

^ Upon accomplishing your goals, the ghost witch punishes our ghost friends for all of 5 seconds

I’m not going to lie and say there’s a hidden gem buried beneath the easy jokes taken at this game. These controls and having no control over Pac-Man will undoubtedly have you cursing and wishing the death of the game’s hero. He’s too damn slow, he stops far too often, and remember how we had to shoot they haystack to erase the farmer problem in our first mission? Yeah; We’ll have to do that for the entirety of the games missions if we’re to go that way. Anything you did in the last mission; provided it’s on the way in the next one; you’ll be forced to do again. There is simply no shortage of things about this game that boggle the mind. Yet if you happen to be in the right mood; I swear it’s an almost Zen-like game.

^ More drama for that couch potato Pac-Man to deal with

If you go into this game with the right mindset; you can enjoy it. It had been several years since I last played it, and having memorized most of what needed to be done, returning to this game was mostly a joy. Believe it or not, my memories of first playing the game are the same. Look; a truly bad game is not played again. Even back then when we only had so much to choose from; if it was utter crap we wouldn’t be bothered to claw our way through it. No; there has to be something good about the game that makes us want to continue to torture ourselves. The truth is that the hair pulling moments are not enough to distract from a wondrous game to behold.

^ Exploring the large and beautiful world of Pac-Man

There’s so much to explore, so many beautiful screens to marvel at, and so many puzzles to solve. What makes this an adventure game in my mind is the puzzle solving elements. Right there you have 60% of the reason most people immediately hate this game. They are “console gamer’s”, A.K.A. - if it don’t go left to right and have platforms they might as well be on an alien world for all they’re going to understand of games. If it requires thought or the reading of a manual, cross that off the list of the grand majority of people who only gamed on a console. If your sensibilities happen to be deeper; I would recommend you give this one a try. You’re never going to find another game like this. Again; for better and worse, it deserves a proper look.

^ Ghosts may be in plain sight, may hide, but usually carry something you need, so munch them!

Along with your slingshot, you have “God” button in C. It tells Pac-Man to look in the direction you point, hopefully (but not guaranteed) to get his attention where you need it. Should you run across our ghost friends, pressing the A button will launch a power pellet at Pac-Man, so he may eat them. They carry several things of necessity in the game, so you’ll want some helpings of ghosts.

^ So many ways to die

This is not a game you will be actively searching out the various deaths. You don’t really want to die in this game because you simply don’t want to go through even the smallest of delays to progressing. Still, I guarantee everyone shall smile when they find a new way for Pac-Man to die. Given the animation, the sometimes absurd circumstances, you shall laugh… At least until the 5th time you’ve seen the same death and can’t get past it… But you shall feel rewarded once you figure out how to get past it.

^ Action scenes in an adventure game? They never learn…

Except for the action scenes that is. You’ll feel no reward for having defeated them. None at all. Why did so many damn companies feel a need to shove in game modes that are utterly out of place to the games intended genre? You have no control over Pac-Man, just a slingshot and a button to direct him to do various things like go faster, higher, jump… The minecart stage will have you so angry at me. The flying stage is not so bad, but it still should not be there! Two of three action scenes are required to beat the game, and they’re beyond awful. I have memories of my father playing this game; and calling for me to get him past those stupid and unnecessary action scenes! You get no pass from me on that one, game!

^ The undiagnosed bi-polar Pac-Man

Beyond influencing the world around Pac-Man and directing his attention; you are responsibly for considering his mood. Everything he and you do will alter his ever swinging moods. If he’s not in the right mood to do something, he’s not going to do it. If he’s sad or scared, he won’t go into a scary area. Being super happy is no better, as the cocky bastard will start doing stupid stuff that will get him in trouble! Sometimes he has to be utterly pissed off to get past something. The main reason I did not win this game as a kid was because I was unable to collect a required password that could only be found by hitting a pan with the slingshot when Pacman was in the “right” mood. I hit the pan many times… But he was never in that right mood, so he never used that pan to bang other pans to reveal a password. If he’s depressed enough he may voluntarily commit suicide… Yeah; this game goes there. You can say bad things about his mood swings, but I simply can’t imagine this game coming out in any other way. It’ll never be one of the best, but it shall always forever etch its place inside your mind.

^ What you all came here for, right?

If you still end up hating it, at least you’ve got both the original Pac-Man and a brand new arcade game called Pac-JR to play. I feel the original plays true to the source, the ghosts seem to behave as they should. I feel the original code might be in there, so you do have the 1980 classic Pac-Man in there. Exclusive to the Sega Genesis is Pac-JR. I’d say it’s loosely based on the 1982 arcade game JR-Pac-Man, with an occasional level design that seems to be from that. But it’s mostly its own new thing, with warps (unlike the arcade) and new cut scenes. The Super Nintendo version featured Ms. Pac-Man in place of Pac-JR. Only Pac-Man is accessible at the start of the game, with Pac-JR (or Ms. Pac-Man on the SNES) requiring you to collect 3 hidden cartridges to play.

^ It’s not just my dirty mind, right?

Upon completing all of the various quests set out for Pac-Man, getting all the I.D. cards from the ghosts, and entering the password for the final area you will face the game’s only boss battle. I feel the controls of this are going to have most people losing their first couple times; but once you know what to do, the boss is an utter pushover. Surprising considering what a pain in the ass they made the action scenes like. The major plot was that the ghosts were stealing “ABC Gum” to build a “Gum Monster” to take over the city. Upon destroying said monster (who looks an awful lot like Cedric from King’s Quest) the Ghost Witch vows to return (she won’t), and you win the game.

^ We got a message from Pac-Man

You’ll be greeted with a nice end sequence, credits, and even completion percentages. A code may be given to access the sound test, where I feel the best song in the game is, and the game will be over. I honestly have good memories of this game back in the day, as well as in my subsequent times playing it. I will concede there will be many times you’ll be swearing at this game. It’s not hard as much as it’s just frustrating at times. I had to play the game 4 times for this review. Once to make sure I remembered it, twice for the video because part of it got corrupted, and once to take pictures for this written review. I will say that I only had fun the first time I played it this time, with the other three being a complete pain in my ass. But it’s not a game you should be playing over and over again. No, a several years break is fine with me, but I shall be returning to this, I guarantee it… Because it’s not bad, it’s not great, but it is special.

Check out that video review, even I take my turn poking fun at it a little.

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