Pac-Man World 2 PC CD-ROM
by Hip Games (LSP)
Developed by Namco
Released - Out Now
Price : £9.99
Last year we looked at Pac-Man World 2 on the PlayStation 2 and it was the definitive console compendium of the classic game. It might be revealing my age somewhat but I remember the arcade versions and the Atari 2600 versions of Pac-Man. It was an incredibly addictive game that was just too appealing to put down. Pac-Man himself was perhaps the first video game character I can remember, even predating Mario and Sonic by quite a few years. Of course you don't need to be an old timer to appreciate the game. The chances are if you played Pac-Man for the first time today you would still appreciate it's simplicity as well as it's challenging difficulty. Pac-Man World 2 takes the basic concept of Pac-Man and incorporates it into a 3D platform game. Just for us old timers, they've even included the classic arcade versions too.
The story of the game goes something like this. Pac-Land has a sacred tree that has five golden fruit. As long as the tree is undisturbed the people of Pac-Land are safe. However the peace is soon to be shattered. One night the ghosts sneak into Pac-Land and take the fruit from the tree. Before they can say boo, the evil Spooky is released from his imprisonment underneath the tree. Spooky orders the frightened ghosts to hide the five fruit. Spooky knows that without the golden fruit, the people of Pac-Land are helpless against him and the ghosts. It's up to Pac-Man to come to the rescue.
Of course with the game being a 3D platformer, our Pac-Man needs some new abilities (besides being able to munch) and the developers saw fit to give him a fine collection of new moves. Pac-Man can now butt-bounce, rev-roll (which is a kind of Sonic-like speed power up), swim and even acquire a metal power-up that is especially useful for acquiring items under water. Of course he can still acquire power-pellets and of course when he does it's lookout time for the ghosts as they turn blue, indicating that Pac-Man can once again devour them. You'll even have boss fights to contend with too, which makes a change from the usual platform style of the game.
Whilst Pac-Man World 2's control system is pretty much set in stone on the consoles, on the PC it's a different matter entirely. Thankfully the PC version of the game allows you to configure the game as you want to. The default control system is a keyboard and mouse combination that works reasonably well. However you can also configure a gamepad of your choice to play the game with and this is the recommended option. Personally I used a PlayStation 2 controller with a USB-PS2 adapter and it worked like a charm but any PC gamepad you have would work just as well with the game.
One of the most endearing features of Pac-Man World 2 is the ability to unlock the original Pac-Man arcade games. Throughout the levels you'll have the opportunity to collect tokens which are then used to unlock the games in the arcade in Pac-Man's village. The games on offer include the original Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, and Pac-Attack. All of the games are faithful recreations of the arcade originals. It's really been great to play the original Pac-Man after all these years and for any Pac-Man fan the game is worth the asking price (only £9.99 on PC) simply for the inclusion of these old classics.
Pac-Man World 2 looked good on the PlayStation 2 and it looks even better on the PC thanks to sharper graphics, anti-aliasing and the ability to run the game at a screen resolution of 1600x1200. Even though the main part of the game is in full 3D it still has that almost cartoon-like quality to it and it's wholly appropriate for a game of this nature. Of course once you move a traditional 2D game into a 3D world you have the added hassle of camera problems and even though you can manipulate the camera there are times when you can't move it (shown by a camera crossed out icon). Most of the time this doesn't cause a problem but there are times when the camera is temporarily stuck behind objects. Thankfully this doesn't spoil anything though.
The game isn't fully subtitled but whilst this isn't great news for deaf gamers there isn't really much of an obstacle to enjoying the game. The introduction and cutscenes are not subtitled but the games tutorial messages are. What this means of course is that you'll miss elements of the story but be fully aware of how to play the game. If you are a fan of Pac-Man games, I would still recommend the game to deaf gamers because the story telling cutscenes are of little consequence anyway, especially when you consider the brilliant original Pac-Man games that have been included.
Pac-Man World 2 is a game no self respecting Pac-Man fan should be without. The 3D platformer part of the game will probably take a little over 12 hours to fully complete but while that doesn't seem overly impressive you have to take into consideration that you will also gain the brilliant original Pac-Man games, which can be unlocked. It's also great to see that the original Pac-Man game only requires 10 tokens, which only take around 30 minutes of play to amass, so you'll soon be able to play the brilliant original. This PC version is much better value for money than the console versions were on their release which cost £39.99, whilst the PC version costs a mere £10, a snip when you consider all the legendary games that can be unlocked.
Game Rating: 8.3/10
The great Pac-Man compendium finally comes to PC. The 3D main part of the game is fairly enjoyable but it's the classic Pac-Man games that you can unlock that make this a great value game and at less than £10 you can't go wrong.
Some omissions but it's perfectly playable.