It’s been years since I played Pac Man World 2 and this game has always been on my list. It just never made the cut and finally my bro ended up purchasing a copy. Does this game live up to the 10+ years of hype? Well, it’s tough for any game to do that and this one is a good game, but it’s not quite as enjoyable as the last installment…despite some fun additions. Time to see why it didn’t click!
The game takes place on Pac Man’s 25th Birthday. The festivities are cut short when Pac Man is whisked away into the Spectral Realm by Orson. Orson tells him that a new villain by the name off Erwin has kidnapped the four main ghosts and he’s wrecking both planets through his siphons. Once he has gained enough energy, then both planets will collide and the outcome will be devastating. Pac Man (extremely) reluctantly agrees to help, but he’s not too pleased about this scenario. Erwin is determined to stop him and he has the Spectral Fiend by his side to ensure success. In light of this, Pac Man gets some help from Clyde and Pinky.
Pac Man is the main hero in this game, but I’m sure that you expected that. He’s always the main hero in this series after all. He finally gets to talk in this game, which is a big gamble from the writers. We all come into the game with certain expectations of how cool Pac Man will be and this gives us less freedom for interpretation. He’s a little on the mean side and he believes in insulting first and fighting later. He’s an experienced veteran at this point, but he does complain a lot.
What might really get Pac Man fans is the ending. It’s not just Pac Man as Ms. Pac Man and Pac Man Jr look pretty mean as well. Let’s just say that if you’ve just been through a tough ordeal and you helped a hero save two worlds…don’t think that you’re invited to stay over. The situation ends up escalating very quickly and Pac Man decides to eat some people. Pac Man may have been a little on the mean side during the game, but that scene may have been overdoing it a little.
Pac Man did have his moments though and he gets a lot of witty comebacks. He typically outsmarts the villains and distracts them through discussion as they end up setting up their ultimate demise. Pac Man is definitely very crafty, but he arguably sacrifices his heroics in the process. I have to say that the character personality isn’t terrible, but it’s really not Pac Man. I’m sure that Mario fans would be outraged if he ever looked like this. Pac Man’s portrayal could have been worse though and we have a current example of that in the media…..
Orson is the helpful ghost who aids Pac Man throughout the game. “I’m sure there are many things that you don’t understand Pac Man” is one of his better lines as he insults Pac Man to his face. Usually, his insults aren’t quite that direct. He typically starts off every sentence by saying “Sorry Pac Man” right before stating what negative thing is happening this time. He typically teleports the hero into dangerous circumstances and you have to wonder whether it is intentional or not. The whole game he tells Pac Man that the worlds will be destroyed if they collide….and then the villain points out that this isn’t the case towards the end of the game. Orson quickly agrees and we find out that he knew this all along. Of course, most of that isn’t to be taken seriously as he’s a hero through and through, but his character was definitely interesting. He was a solid ally for Pac Man and he provided us with some necessary banter and epic lines.
Erwin is the main villain of the game and unfortunately, he’s not a very good one. He’s a comic relief scientist who is good at building robots and that’s about it for his character arc. Pac Man loves to humiliate him verbally whenever they meet. He’s supposed to be humorous through their chats, but while I do like Orson and Pac Man’s lines, Erwin’s aren’t really my style. They really needed a better villain to make the story more interesting. Erwin just isn’t very powerful and threats won’t be enough to stop the legendary Pac Man!
The Spectral Fiend doesn’t really get much of a name, but he’s a solid character. He’s tricky and he doesn’t mind a little deceit if it means that it will help him win the fight. He doesn’t seem to be much of a fighter as he talks a good game, but he quickly crumbles when things get dangerous. That being said, he was a fun villain and his voice is catchy. This is someone that I could root for and I wish that he could have been the main villain instead of Erwin. This guy’s design was also pretty great and he reminded me of a Sonic character.
The gameplay for Pac Man is your average 3D platformer. You walk and jump to the place where you need to be and solve puzzles along the way. Pac Man can ground pound and he can also punch in this game. Punching is pretty fun and it’s a great addition to the series. I definitely used it a lot at first, but ground pounding tends to be a lot more effective. There are also several orbs in the game that give him powers like thunder and circle explosions. They are pretty good and they can help to take out the villains a lot quicker than you could have otherwise. The gameplay itself is pretty fun and I just don’t care for the parts where you have to stop and fight a bunch of villains. There was something about the gameplay that made it a little less fun. It may have been the speed or something. That being said, it’s still a very good form of gameplay by any standard.
Once in a while, you have to enter the arcade and then the gameplay goes back to how it was in the original game. The only difference is that the gameplay isn’t quite as smooth and the levels are very small. You get 4 lives, but most of them are a cakewalk with one as you just grab a Power Pellet, regular pellets, and then repeat the formula. The ghosts will never even be able to recover and you’ll be set. If the levels were not so easy, then it could have been a challenge since the animation didn’t work well with the gameplay. It was hard to tell when you were being chased or not.
The gameplay itself shouldn’t be that bad, but it’s just not as great as it could have been. Each level is around 30 minutes and that’s not necessarily a bad thing although it is definitely a big threat when you are not a beat em up style game like Dynasty Warriors. Getting through a level can feel like a big challenge because the game typically leaves you to your own devices. I got lost or temporarily stuck several times because I was unsure of what to do next. Because of that, the game lasted for quite a while and I’d say that the game was around 7-8 hours long. It could have been a whole lot shorter though since 3 our of the 15 levels were very short. There are times where you get to play as the ghosts, but I can’t say that it really added a lot of depth to the game.
This game puts a lot of emphasis on fighting so there are many rooms where you simply have to stop and fight the enemies. Defeating the enemies isn’t really that fun because the gameplay simply wasn’t built for it. Beating an enemy can take a little too long at times and defeating the ghosts requires you to run to a power pellet and just eat them. The only problem is that they only come out 4 at a time instead of all at once so you have to keep running back to the power pellet.
There are also two levels where you get to play as Toc Man. His gameplay is fun although it’s a little too easy and simplistic. Just keep on punching away at the villains until they go down and then the level is over after a few minutes. I would have liked more of these levels since they were a pretty nice change of pace. They could have added in some more challenges and then I’d be set.
Pac Man’s graphics holds up pretty well. The ghosts can be a little hard to take seriously with their big mittens and all, but they don’t look bad. The level designs can be a little dark so it’s hard to see, but it’s not really an issue with the graphics. Older games just tend to come out dark on my TV. It’s good to see Pac Man have his classic design back as well. The graphics aren’t the next Super Smash Bros Melee, but they are very good.
I enjoyed the soundtrack in the game since it could be pretty catchy. Unfortunately, most of the good tracks aren’t in the actual gameplay, but around it. I like the theme that plays when you jump into the arcade and battle it out with the ghosts in a retro fashion. Losing always brings about a classic sound and the stages within the game were supported by the peaceful music. You’ll forget the in game music instantly, but the arcade one never fades.
The game has a decent amount of replay value to it. You can replay a level to get a higher score or to get more of the collectibles that are scattered across the stages. Doing all of this will take some time and you can always keep on playing the retro stages for points as well. The replay value is there, but there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to getting all of the collectibles.
The difficulty of the game is pretty low as you continue from where you were even if you lose a life. So, you can die during a boss fight and wake up in time to beat him. He won’t regain any health and building up lives is pretty easy. I had over 10 left when I completed the game. One area that separates this game from Pac Man World 2 is the boss fights. World 2 had several of them and they were all fairly interesting. This game only has two bosses and the second one is just a recoloring of the first. Since this game was more fight heavy, I was expecting a whole lot more in that department. When I saw the final boss, I couldn’t help, but feel like it was a wasted opportunity. We need a boss for Pac Man to punch!
Overall, This was a good Pac Man game, but it didn’t have the usual aura of fun that the classic game and World 2 had. World 3 had too many stop and fight moments and the stage designs weren’t that good or unique. You were typically locked inside a pretty small place and you wouldn’t get to see the sun in all its glory. There are a lot less levels in this game than World 2, but they are longer. I prefer a lot of short levels to a few long ones, but it’s a matter of preference I suppose. Pac Man’s portrayal was unique and he didn’t really feel like a hero or Pac Man anymore. His family wasn’t much better and the ghosts were all right, but Clyde is really the only one who got a big role. Orson is a good supporting character, but Erwin isn’t a great villain. The writing can be pretty cheesy at times, but I definitely liked all of the insults that were thrown around by the heroes and villains alike. The graphics and soundtrack are solid and it’s still a nice way to end the trilogy. There may not have been a lot of closure at the end, but there was enough. I recommend this to fans of the platforming genre and especially if you like challenging yourself to solving tough puzzles. They definitely gave me a run for my money at times. Considering that the price for the game is pretty low, this is definitely a worthwhile investment and a chance to see the classic Pac Man one last time.