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by Infogrames

1.jpg (9920 bytes)Anyone who has ever played a video game knows about the Pac-Man series. From the Nintendo Entertainment System to the present, Pac-Man has survived the test of time. Its easy-to-learn, classic game style keeps Pac-Man going from one generation to the next.

4.jpg (10221 bytes)Now the Pac is back (no, not in pog form) in a new 32-bit, 3D world for the PC. Produced by Infogrames, Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze puts together the action generated by the arcade game but with no quarters required. You can choose either one of two modes: going against another player in a two player, head-to-head game (really not worth the time); or on an adventure with Ms. Pac-Man, traveling through several worlds full of zigzagging mazes to find the elusive Golden Maze.

5.jpg (10293 bytes)Along the road to "Cleopatra", Ms. Pac-Man must face her four nemeses: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Sue (I guess they ran out of names ending with –inky); these are the adult ghosts who are doomed to wander the mazes and protect the pellets from all those who try to eat them. As you guide Ms. Pac-Man through each maze, gorging yourself on pellets half your size (definitely not a cheap date), there are a few items to help you along the way. First, there are the classic power pellets that briefly allow Ms. Pac-Man to eat any of the adult ghosts. Second, there’s the new addition of a baby ghost, which if eaten gives you a special item like super speed or invulnerability for a short period. But if these power-ups aren’t enough to elude the deadly ghosts, and Ms. Pac-Man dies, she can always earn extra lives through the use of fruits and bonuses (sounds like they are trying to tell kids to eat their fruits and bonuses). This feature, new to the Pac-Man series, allows you to gain extra points and access warp rooms in order to receive extra lives. During the journey, Ms. Pac-Man must use every advantage possible to stay alive long enough to reach the Golden Maze.

6.jpg (10558 bytes)After beating a level (sometimes this is very difficult) you may expect to be rewarded by some great eye candy in the transition between levels. No such luck; you’ll be seriously let down when all Ms. Pac-Man does is jump up and down a couple of times. (I really shouldn’t say "jump" because she’s so vertically challenged she doesn’t really get off the ground). Then when you finally made it all the way through the game, have found the Golden Maze, and raced past all the ghosts to get the last pellet, you may again expect something visually appealing. If you have any such expectations, you’ll be very disappointed because the ending credits are really sad and not worth beating the game for.

2.jpg (10566 bytes)Another thing I found disappointing in the game was that the only controls you can use are the direction arrows. The game doesn’t add any special features like being able to run by holding down the shift button or anything to engage the gamer more. I feel that by only making use of one hand, the game really won’t attract many players who are not fond of this genre.

3.jpg (10696 bytes)Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze uses traditional graphics with multiple camera angles to accomplish its 3D environment. Each level characterizes that of an actual Egyptian-like labyrinth, complete with stone-textured walls and brownish tones. Although, when you access a warp level, the rooms become more colorful and have several different designs. The only time these graphics change is once a world has been beaten and a short cut scene (emphasis on short) displays Ms. Pac-Man progressing to the next area; there is only one big problem; there is no ending cut scene. The graphics are ok, but really redundant. Infogrames should have made this "arcade style" game a lot more visually appealing because the current graphics don’t do the game any justice.

The audio is also anything but spectacular in this game. The repeating, "scary" background music gets old really fast, and the 10 total sound effects really hurt the game. Throughout the entire game there never was the classic chomping of the pellets sound effect or famous ghost sound bytes. Musically it is the same tones you would normally hear in a game meant for younger aged players.

Personally, I have always found the Pac-Man games to be interesting and challenging up to a point. The gameplay has always been unique and entertaining for younger players. Ms. Pac-Man stays true to the original Pac-Man series, but it fails to add the needed requirements to attract more players. For all those younger gamers who like this genre, I would definitely recommend it for the challenge. Anyone else, I would suggest finding the arcade game and spending a few quarters if you really want to play it. With its minimal requirements and nostalgic qualities, this game is great to play with your kids or if you just want the old "back in the day feeling".

Kelsey Miller   (12/02/2001)


Ups: Old-school Pac Man action with nicer graphics.

Downs: Redundant; no cool add-ons; simplistic control and interaction.

Platform: PC