SUPER PAC MAN and PAC AND PAL
(arcade reviewed; available NOW on NAMCO Pac man controller!)
Super Pac Man is my absolute FAVORITE Pac game of all time, displacing the lovely Miss Pac (which is a close third).
Super Pac Man gets a bum rap in my opinion, because it is, well, very different from most pac games. But Just as DK junior was great because it was a "different" game from Donkey Kong, so I think Super Pac is refreshingly unique among the pac games.
For starters, there are similarities; a standard blue maze with power pills that turn ghosts blue and tunels to go through. And the object is still to eat monsters and prizes, but instead of a series of bland dots SPM presents the player with SIXTEEN unique mazes of foodstuffs to gobble-everything from apples to clovers to tennis shoes, doughnuts and galaxian symbols. The catch is, the food is locked behind doors that must be unlocked in one of two ways. You can gobble keys to unlock them OR-the games main "gimmick"-you can gobble a SUPER DOT, press a speed button and smash right through those gates like Superman himself! Super pills, like power pills, only last a short time though.
The bonus system is a little weird-like a vegas slot machine, symbols flash in two boxes and eating a star when both symbols are the same gets you a big bonus. There are also bonus MAZES every few boards in which you get to eat as much as possible in a time limit-no monsters to annoy you here! The cartoon intermissions are the funniest of any pac-game and controls are perfect. SPM is the only Pac-game I have "conquered", figuring out patterns to get me through each board. I guess this is one reason I love the game, but if you are tired of eating plain ol' dots give SPM a go!
Pac N' Pal is a little-known, very strange follow up to Super Pac Man. Instead of keys, you unlock symbols with playing cards (you can eat the symbol shown on the card) S=the "special" symbol, which is the craziest part of the game. The first two boards have Galaxian ship symbols. Eat them and PAC MAN can SHOOT the monsters with laser beams! Later, eating a RALLY X car lets the pacster blow smoke at the monsters, and then a FLUTE will blow musical notes which cause the monsters to DANCE!-WEIRRRRD! Oh, then there is PAL of course. A little yellow pac-thing with legs, PAL wanders the maze and "helps" you pick up symbols- BUT, at times he takes the special symbol you need-thanks, pal! Again, every few boards gets you a bonus board full of cards- try to turn over as many $ cards as you can (and find the PAL card) before you uncover the MONSTER card. All luck here!
These two games-along with PAC MAN and PAC MAN PLUS are avaiable on the new Namco "Super Pac Man" controller. Like other Game-sticks, it is just a joystick with complete programs and audio video connectors in the base. It is a cool blue color and topped with a yellow PAC MAN knob! It LOOKS great, but like other namco sticks is a bit loose-expect your scores to be a little lower than on the coin-ops.
Still, this is a great way to try these games for those who don't have or want MAME. GO SUPER PACSTER!
grades: SPM: A+ ' PNP: C+
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