#29 Ms Pac Man

Posted: 3rd August 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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445th played so far


Genre: Maze
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1981
Developer: Bally Midway/General Computer Corporation
Publisher: Bally Midway/Namco

Pac-Man was a popular game and it seems like it was geetting cloned early on. Ms. Pac Man, as is well known by now, was an early one. It caught the attention of Namco and, instead of suing, they saw the game’s potential and licensed it instead to be part of the official series.

Even so, we haven’t had a chance to play it, so here’s our chance.

Our Thoughts

This game doesn’t start off that different from its predecessor. The first level is layed out slightly differently – most notably with two warp tunnels – but stays fairly familiar. The ghosts start off in the same place and Ms Pac Man is just Pac Man with a bow and lipstick. That defines the game – it’s all very familiar when you know the original, but with enough differences and tricks to keep it fun.

Take the maze for example – where Pac Man‘s was static and did the same thing every time, Ms Pac Man alternates between four different layouts, giving you a different area to play with for each. The ghost’s behaviour have changed, no longer being predictable but instead having some randomness included – something you may or may not find useful. It all adds something new to the game and makes it a fresh experience while keeping the core gameplay the same.

The game looks slightly better – our protagonist is obviously more detailed, and the maze drawing style is slightly improved – but it’s not a big jump. It just tries a bit more and moves away from the abstract.

Final Thoughts

Considering the degrees in which games could and can iterate, this is probably the best example of a good, solid sequel. It has some nice features added, it looks a bit better and a bit more polished, but it’s still recognisably based on the same thing and starts off from those concepts. If you’ve played Pac Man, you immediately get this even if some things seem odd. It’s pretty much exactly what we want.

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