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Review

Pac-Man Museum Review

Still Gobbling After All These Years
by Jeff Cork on Feb 28, 2014 at 08:00 AM
Reviewed on Xbox 360
Also on PlayStation 3
Publisher Namco Bandai Games
Developer Namco Bandai
Release
Rating Everyone

Pac-Man hit arcades back in 1980, which means there’s a good chance that he’s older than you. He’s starred in numerous games, and those games have been bundled together in a variety of collections. Rather than toss his titles in a larger library, Namco Bandai is giving the little yellow fellow the chance to host his own downloadable collection, Pac-Man Museum.

The biggest draw to the collection is Pac-Man Battle Royale, an arcade game that’s hitting living rooms for the first time. Created for Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary back in 2011, the game allows up to four players to face off as rival Pac-Men in matches that are structured closely to Pac-Man Championship Edition’s. It’s fun for a few rounds, but there’s not a lot to it once you get over the novelty of seeing a gigantic Pac-Man greedily bearing down on one of his smaller counterparts. The lack of online play or the ability to use multiple bots in single-player keeps it from being much more than a quick diversion when you have three friends over.

Beyond that, you’ve got the arcade original and a parade of others, including oddities like Super Pac-Man and Pac & Pal, the side-scrolling Pac-Land, and a port of the console puzzle game Pac-Attack. All told, there are nine games in the collection – not a particularly bad deal, but it really depends on your enthusiasm for all things Pac-Man. I never thought much of the bland, isometric Pac-Mania, and playing it again here didn’t change my opinion. I did get a kick out of Pac-Man Arrangement, which retains enough of the classic game to remain familiar while steadily adding features like warp pads, elevators, and boss battles.

The overall presentation is cute, with a virtual Pac Room that you can deck out with unlockable items, and a sticker album that you fill up by completing challenges. Namco missed a critical opportunity, however, in putting all the games into a greater context. Why do any of these games still matter? What did each one add to the character’s legacy? What year did they come out? Where’s Baby Pac-Man? If you’re hoping to get any sense of history from the collection, you’re out of luck. This is less of a museum than a self-guided tour. That’s fine, but after seeing so many of these titles packaged together in various collections over the years, I was expecting more.

7
Concept
Package nine games featuring the gaming icon, from his old-school arcade days through more contemporary releases
Graphics
The games are as sharp as you could hope for, though the letterboxing is kind of a bummer
Sound
It’s Pac-Man, from his chirpy little intro theme to his warbling death sounds
Playability
The controls work as well as they did in arcades
Entertainment
Pac-Man did more than cruise through mazes and eat pellets, as this collection shows. Not all of the artifacts on display hold up, however
Replay
Moderate

Products In This Article

Pac-Man Museumcover

Pac-Man Museum

Platform:
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: