The principle is so simple – you control a yellow Pac-Man wandering around screen after screen collecting little yellow pills, pursued by a group of ghosts. If the ghosts touch you, you’re finished.
There are, however, four power pills that will allow you to turn on the ghosts and eat them, boosting your score ito the bargain. As the game progresses, various items of fruit – cherries, apples, etc – appear towards the middle of the screen. They don’t stay for long, but if you catch them in time you gain more bonus points.What’s sadly lacking from the game is the ability to hide in the tunnel – perhaps it was a bug in the original game that allowed you to hide for a moment and watch the ghosts wandering around.
Controlling Pac-Man is a little unusual. If you’re used to a joystick or keyboard, playing a game such as this with the click wheel takes some getting used to. You can either slide your finger around the wheel using an on-screen joystick to control Pac-Man, or lightly tap the corners of the wheel to move in that direction. It lacks precision, however, which in a game such as this can be the difference between life and death.
Visually, Pac-Man takes you straight back to the origins of the game. Comparing the screen display to that of the original arcade version, there’s very little in it. It is, however, rather small when all’s said and done. Perhaps turning the display on a 90-degree angle would have made for better visibility – particularly for those with poor eyesight.
The sound effects will take you back to your first time playing the game. There’s no need for a full orchestra score in Pac-Man – there’s a real adrenaline rush whenever the ghosts are on your tail, and the sound effects help to drive that.
What we have here is a faithful reproduction of the original Pac-Man. Forget the imitations, this is direct from Namco and has the same look, the same sounds and for the most part the same action as the original. It is let down somewhat by the control mechanism and the small screen display but it still remains significantly better than the mobile phone implementations. Pac-Man is certainly worth a look.