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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX


I never got to grow up with Pac-Man in the early days of arcade video gaming, thus my only experience with the game has been on computer flash games as a child and the recent resurgence of the Pac-Man legacy on the HD consoles like Pac-Man, Mrs. Pac-Man and the original Pac-Man Championship Edition. I jumped at the chance to review Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, mostly because I got caught up in the popularity of the first edition a couple years ago. Pac-Man CE very much felt like a natural progression of the series, but set in the same set of rules of the Pac-Man universe. Pac-Man CE DX goes in a different, bolder direction, namely reinventing the structure and natural design of the gameplay. Itís definitely a brave move from Namco, especially with an anxious Pac-Man CE fan base to appease.

pac-man ce dx green stage

While survival the key to all Pac-Man games, the game introduces new ways to ramp up your high score. The base concept of Pac-Man is intact though; race though a maze of glowing pellets, evade ghosts and simply stay alive. DX introduces three new concepts to the gameplay, dormant ghosts, explosives and slow motion. You will see dormant ghosts all over the board, simply waiting until Pac-Man gets near to activate them. While normal ghosts take multiple paths to isolate and destroy Pac-Man, these dormant ghosts simply remove the possibility of flipping around for an about-face and escaping the way you came. This also sets up the possibility of gaining tons of following ghosts, snacking on a power pellet and munching all those ghost followers in seconds for a monster multiplier. Balancing the ghosts chasing behind you and the erratic patterns of the regular ghosts is extremely difficult and only gets worse as the speed of the match increases.

If you do get into trouble, you can use an explosive to relocate all the ghosts away from Pac-Man and reduces the game speed. Similar to Geometry Wars, you only have a small number of explosives in each level, so you have to use them only when Pac-Man is completely surrounded. It also penalizes the player by removing Pac-Manís ability to wake up the dormant ghosts and applies a 50% reduction in your current multiplier. Another helpful addition to evading death is slow motion. When a ghost gets within millimeters of you, the pacing of the game automatically launches into slow motion and gives the player time to adjust position to avoid losing a life. This is especially useful when the pacing of the game is flying along at a breakneck speed.

pac-man ce dx evading dormant ghosts

These new gameplay elements offer less experienced players more opportunity to succeed in DX, but the difficulty is still insanely tough for those skilled enough to last the entire times round. Itís sure to cause a high level of competition on your friendís list, but Namco didnít keep up with the times regarding the implementation of the leaderboard scores. The whole point of the previous title was really competing with friends and rubbing their face in your high score whenever possible. Namco should have created a more imvolved way to view friendís scores during matches to spur competition. They also botched including your high score with your friendís scores, forcing you to switch between leaderboards in the menu to figure out whoís the best on each level. However, you can view replays of how players got high scores and you may learn some tips in the process.

The achievement set is pretty standard and awards gamerscore points to people that attain high scores or last until the end of a timed match. There are some tougher ones in there like finishing score attack without using a bomb. Overall, itís a fairly straightforward set that Pac-Man CE champs shouldnít have a problem with knocking out.

pac-man ce dx blue level

Graphics

You will immediately notice similarities to games like Geometry Wars in the redesign of the gameís neon induced levels (other than the inclusion of the Pac-Man bomb function). It quite often feels a bit overwhelming, but without becoming overly annoying. The game runs very smoothly and I didnít run into any framerate issues. Loading times are relatively quick and you will be launched into a quick match in no time at all.

Audio

No complaints here. The game plays plenty of homage to the original Pac-Man while also delving into new music during the fast paced matches. The sound effects are top notch as well.

Conclusion

In the end, Iím really judging my enjoyment level of Pac-Man CE DX compared to how addicted I was to the previous title. In that regard, DX is capturing my attention just as effectively. Iím betting that not everyone is going to be a fan of all the changes found in Pac-Man CE DX, but itís certainly a great way to involve the Geometry Wars crowd into Pac-Manís universe. Pick up Pac-Man Championship Edition DX if you loved the previous game or are simply looking for a new fast-paced arcade game to tackle. This also a fantastic game for competition with friends for leaderboard position and priced very appropriately at 800 Marketplace points. Highly Recommended!



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