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Article #15 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Pac-Land
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Date: Mon Aug 19 11:47:21 1991

  A tip, a trip, a slip -- a review!

  (Regular readers will note that the numbering system for my reviews has
been revised. Hopefully, this refinement will keep my writings from looking
confused and schitzophrenic)

1 or 2 players, Horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx

  Anyone remember Hanna-Barberra's PAC-MAN cartoon from the early '80s?
Yes, folks, before Nintendo's CAPTAIN N hit the airwaves, the world's most
famous video game star had his own television show. The adventures of Mr.,
Mrs., and Junior Pac-Man failed with the Neilsons, but not before they
inspired Namco's arcade PAC-LAND video game, now available for the Atari

  Despite the presence of "pac-" in the name, PAC-LAND has nothing to do
with mazes and dots. Rather, Pac-Man is on a mission of charity, who must
take a lost fairy back to her home. So he puts her under his hat, then
proceeds to run and jump across the towns, forests, hills and deserts of
Pac-Land. The way is dangerous, with rickety bridges, quicksand, and deep
chasms to cross, not to mention the ever-present ghosts. However, if Pac-Man
looks hard enough, he can find tools, powers and secret warps to help him
complete the job.

  Despite the silly storyline and cute graphics, PAC-LAND is not an easy
game. There are five "trips" to be completed, spread over 20 levels; you
can choose which trip to start at, which lets pros skip the easy parts.
Each trip consists of several levels to return the fairy, then a level of
guiding Pac-Man home. Along the way, Pac-Man must dodge the ghosts, who
chase him in cars, busses, airplanes, and pogo sticks. There are also
swimming pools to be jumped, floating ledges to ride, and darkened houses to
explore, each with their own tricks and dangers. For extra pressure, each
level must be completed within a given time limit.

  Pac-Man is not completely helpless, naturally. If Pac-Man walks across
certain areas, hidden fruit will appear, which he can eat for points. There
are also energizer pellets, which enable our hero to temporarily chase the
ghosts. In addition, there are goodies such as helmets, invulnerability, and
warps to higher levels hidden in the game, and assorted known and unknown
point bonuses to try for (can you get the 7,000-plus-point bonus at the end
of each level?).

  While PAC-LAND is an engrossing "run and jump" game, it's not as complex
as other titles in this genre. The different levels offer a bit of variety,
but each level does not take long to complete. The ghosts are fairly easy to
avoid with a little careful dodging; to compensate, their appearances are
randomized, which prevents patterns from being developed.

  The graphics on PAC-LAND are cute and cartoony, appropriately enough.
Pac-Man looks friendly and animated, while the ghosts are silly and amusing.
Other items are drawn with bright colors and simple designs. Finally, there
is some multi-plane scrolling both behind and in front of the action;
however, the positions of Pac-Man and the ghosts are always clearly shown.
Game sounds are similarly simple but amusing. The background music is taken
from the original cartoon show, though some people may find it irritating.
Other sounds come from the ghosts on the prowl and various game actions, but
are simply average.

  PAC-LAND is a simple but challenging action game. The cute atmosphere
masks lots of surprises to uncover, and the game requires attention to beat.
There are a few shortcomings, but they are there because the card is
accurate to the arcade original. Veteran video jumpers may breeze through
this title, but for other players, a trip to PAC-LAND is worth considering.

                GAMEPLAY:        7
                GRAPHICS:        7
                SOUND:           7
                OVERALL:         7

  Rating values  10 - 8   Great! This game can't get much better.
                  7 - 5   Good. Average game, could be improved.
                  4 - 2   Poor. For devotees only.
                      1   Ick. Shoot it.


  It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.


Send whatevers to | If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+------------------------------Lynx up!
       "If it moves, shoot it. If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway."

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