Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Life is hard for the Pac family. Due to a quirk of fate, they are condemned to spend all eternity eating dots. This may sound like a laugh (if you’re a fatty), but it is in fact quite the opposite, especially when the dots are spread all over the floor of a maze which is inhabited by fearsome ghosts!
Things are made a bit easier, however, by the presence of power pills and food. Power pills endow Pac-face with the ability to strike back at the ghosts by eating them, whilst food provides a welcome change from dots and ghosts, and grants the player bonus points too!
As everyone should know, PacMan is a game in which the player zips around a maze in a frenzied attempt to consume every yellow dot on screen. Once this is done, you move on to the next, more challenging maze.
Ms PacMan would be in an awful lot of trouble if it weren't for those power pills. These useful pieces of kit lurk in the darkest corners of each maze, waiting for our heroine to suck on one. Once she does, all the ghosts turn blue with fright, and suddenly become edible! If Ms PacMan can catch the ghosts in the seconds before they revert to their previous hues, they are eaten and temporarily disposed of. Being ghosts, however, it's just a matter of time before they regenerate their bodies and return looking for revenge.
Ms PacMan is fond of chewing on a good hard plum or two, and other vitamin C laden goodies await her delectation among the dots. Every so often, a piece of fruit will appear in the maze. It's up to the player to make it to the fruit before it runs away, which is surprisingly quickly in this game! Foodsome frolics come in the shape of pears, oranges, bananas and cherries.
Only a few more "dots" to be gobbled here, but the ghosts have other ideas...
A power pill is just around the corner - go get it Ms PacMan!
No ghosts? What's happened?
The effects of a Power Pill!
The ghosts return to Spook Central
Not much action here. Suffice to say that the ghosts want Ms PacMan for dinner.
The ghosts enter Spaz Mode and completely ignore Ms PacMan - doh!
It's a dangerous place for Ms PacMan - those ghosts are closing in on her monkey ass
Sadness has prevailed! As you can probably see, Ms PacMan's running out of chomping material, and the ghosts are closing in - FAST!
Ms Pacman is over a decade old, and while I enjoyed playing it, I found myself quickly getting bored of its simplistic gameplay. It's several steps back from Pacmania, where at least you have different ghosts, a new viewpoint, different power-ups and the ability to jump. The two-player mode adds a bit of fun, but even that becomes dull after a verY short period of time. If it cost a tenner, Ms Pacman would be a reasonably fun purchase that your parents, grandparents or baby brother or sister could play and enjoy instead of playing charades after Christmas lunch, but at E24.99 it’s very overpriced for what is basically a very quick and nostalgic trip to boredom central.
These days, Pacman games are looking more than a little dated, so what have the programmers of Ms Pacman done to improve on the old gameplay. Well, in one-player mode, not a lot. It's the same old dot-eating action, but with bland graphics and sound and laughable "cartoon” intermissions. However, perceptions of the game alter a little once you try the game in two-player competitive mode, which injects a bit of freshness into the gameplay, with each player fighting over the power pills and fruit and bouncing into each other to spang the other player into a ghost. But to be honest, it all gets rather dull very quickly. If you’re a Pac-fan, go for Pacmania - it's a lot more varied and enjoyable than this.