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.
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.
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, theres 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 arent 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.
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; youll be seriously let down
when all Ms. Pac-Man does is jump up and down a couple of times. (I really shouldnt
say "jump" because shes so vertically challenged she doesnt 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, youll be
very disappointed because the ending credits are really sad and not worth beating the game
Another thing I
found disappointing in the game was that the only controls you can use are the direction
arrows. The game doesnt 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 wont attract many players who are not fond of this
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 dont 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".