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Pacmania

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Released: 1985

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4

Publisher: Mr. Chip Software

Developer: Shaun Southern

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

Right, for starters, this is the best Pac-Man style game available on the C16 – written by Shaun Southern, he of Amiga Lotus fame – and secondly, it’s not quite Pac-Man, more Pac-Man with a twist, or maybe twisted. Probably. Let me explain…

Start the game and things seem normal enough – there’s even the familiar Pac-Man start-up tune – Mr. Pac-Man appears all yellowy in a familiar looking maze set-up, and the regular four ghosts start to swarm from their little home at the centre, intent on capturing and killing the pill-crazed muncher. What to do? Well sure enough there are four power-pills strategically placed in each corner of the maze – get to these and our ghostly hunters become the prey – well they turn a shade of blue, so they do, and for a short time can be eaten, yum…

…yum – just went through one of the tunnels… Anyway, eat a ghost, but kill it not – their, um, spirit? Soul? Oh I don’t know, their chi maybe? Their life-force? Whatever it is, it returns to their central and they become renewed, they are aglow, ready to kill again… But you already know all this right? So what makes Pacmania twisted then? Hyper-Ports, that’s what.

Each maze has four big H-blocks – when Pac-Man munches on these blocks he will be randomly transported to another point on the maze. This will often get our hero out of a tight spot, but will often place him into the loving embrace of our ghosties, so watch out little fella!

Oh, another twist – the speed of the ghosts – right from the first level, some of the ghosts will be able to outpace our man, so a bit of tactical savvy is needed to outwit those spooky sprites.

So it’s Pac-Man, but with a few extra elements thrown in to make the game, dare I say, a little more fun, a little more strategic even?

Frustrating at times, but hard to resist another go – Pacmania, great fun. Yum yum.

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