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Are you a Pac-Maniac?

Ah, Pac-Man, the endless eating machine, symbolic of the consumerist capitalist society we inhabit. The ghosts represent in this context the intangible communist insurgents, shifty-eyed, cannon fodder pumped out of the prison of Mother Russia. What? You never read a Cold War allegory into a computer game before?

For those whose memory of the past is limited to Power Rangers, Mr Pac-Man can go into four directions, and travel round the identical maze that you'll remember from your childhood. All he has to do is eat all the seeds to complete a level. However, there are some nasty ghosts chasing you that will cause you to frosby flop to death if they catch you.


Eat a power pill and suddenly the ghosts turn blue and the hunter becomes the hunted. Just like the arcade version, you can find yourself getting stuck on corners, but just like the arcade, the ghosts signal where they're going with their eyes, allowing you to run rings round them, if you keep your wits and are lucky...

Of course since the days of Pac-Mans initial release, videogames have taken more than just one evolutionary step forward. But if you compare this title to another Xbox Live Arcade hit, Geometry Wars, the gameplay comparisons are not so dissimilar. In both the ultimate goal remains the same throughout - survival - and the real challenge for the hardcore is to do just that for increasingly longer periods.

But Despite the artful simplicity of the game we just can't justify paying money for this. Throwback kudos and nostalgia value aside, the game involves too little skill in comparison to the likes of Joust or the aforementioned Geometry Wars. It's enormously limited, doesn't develop but merely tests your reactions and it's not even been rescaled to a widescreen resolution! One for the Pac-faithful or those of you with Microsoft Points to spare...

The verdict

Less lively than Tu-Pac

Xbox Live Arcade
Namco Bandai