STAFF REVIEW of Pac-Man World 2 (Xbox)

Friday, December 6, 2002.
by Underdog

Pac-Man World 2 Box art Namco has brought their yellow little mascot, Pac Man to the Xbox for his latest adventure Pac Man World 2. This time those mischief ghosts have stolen all of the golden fruit from a very special tree. Unknowing that by plucking all the fruit from the tree, would unlock a prison cell which contained Spooky, a very evil and powerful ghost that was trapped there for many years. Now with the help of the ghost that released him, Spooky has the capability to cause havoc on Pac-Land and Pac-Man is their only hope.

The straight forward platforming gameplay and the excellent job the developers did on making Pac-Man look and feel Pac-man, truly made Pac-Man World 2 a treat to play. There were times were there was a slight camera problem, which could make you pull your hair out due to frustrating platform jumping and the dreaded loading of the level every time you died were the only drawbacks to the title. Die hard fans of Pac-Man will really get a kick out of playing Pac-Man World 2, but for those few picky platformer gamers out there who are looking for a real challenge ( you know who you are) you might want to rent it first. But for the young gamers out there, Pac-Man World 2 is a good title to get you rolling down the path of action platforming.

Pac-Man has all the moves that most platform gamers are accustomed to having in a character, the running, the jumping and the ever so devastating butt-stomp. Pac-Man also took some lesson from Sonic the Hedgehog, to learn a dash move that comes in handy when Pac-Man needs to get some distance when jumping. While trying to obtain the golden fruit from Spooky and his mob of ghost, you also have to collect other items as well. Just like analogies on the SATs, Crash is to gems, as Pac-Man to Pac-dots, fruits and tokens. I hear a few of you people saying, "Tokens, what does Pac-Man need with tokens? Well I'll tell you, as the game starts off in Pac-Land, you meet some of the Pac-People who give you reasons to collect tokens. Such as Sue, who owns an arcade where you can play 4 classic arcade Pac-Man games. To play those game you must collect those tokens, bring them back to Sue in Pac-Land and she will unlock the game of your choice. Then there is Handy-Pac who is trying to rebuild the Pac-Museum, bring him tokens to get a history lesson about Pac-Man.

While on the mission of collecting various items, Pac-Man's adventure will take him through six unique worlds, all having their own different theme. Such as an arctic and forest level just to name a few, all with dangers ranging from bottomless pits, blunt sharp objects, flame throwers and let?s not forget the ghosts, plenty of those to chomp on.

To break up the norm and to keep things fresh the developers gave Pac-Man the ability to use ice skates and swimming flippers, as well as a minigame called "Maze Mode". To acquire this you must seek out a well hidden item called a "Galaxian" on each level. Once found it will put you into a maze similar to the ones in the classic arcade.

There were a couple of flaws with this title. First off, there was issue with the camera, being this is a platform game and jumping to little platforms can get a little tricky if the camera doesn't work just right. Sometimes I found it to be really frustrating due to the fact that the camera seems to have a hard time finding its way around sharp corners or through small passages, making it sometimes very difficult to adjust the camera to get that right view for that crucial jump of faith. Next, was the loading screen which no one likes to sit and watch one of those. Since most platform titles you have to play by trail and error, you end up dying a lot and then when after the fact you made that dumb mistake you are made to sit a watch a loading screen. Oh I don't want to give you readers the wrong idea, the loading process doesn't take that long, but to die a numerous time on one level and seeing that screen just made made my blood boil.

The visuals in this game were just right and since I'm a child of the 80's and grew up watching Pac-Man on Saturday morning. The developers did a great job on making the environments look like that Saturday morning cartoon all bright, colorful clean and crisp. Also, by paying close attention to details, making everything have a round and smooth look to it, which truly made you feel you were in Pac-Land.

Sound too was right on the money, using old classic sounds from the arcade. Such as the chomping of Pac-dots and the chomping of ghosts. Which when mad and disgusted could get on your nerves just a bit, but hey that's what the volume on your remote is for. They even have some of the old music scores and some new remixed versions from the arcade.

Just work on that camera and loading problem and your next title for our dear friend Pac-Man will be flawless.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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