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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Ms. Pac-Man

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Maybe in some alternate world or in the distant future when society finally recognize video games as a legitimate art form, a woman’s rights activist will speak up for Ms. Pac-Man. Apparently, her red bow and mole on her cheek are not enough to gain the mainstream’s attention as the better half.

Then again, maybe we’ll never know why this Pac-Man sequel failed to gain the proper attention and will stay as a hardcore gamers true test of knowledge to know that Ms. Pac-Man is leagues ahead of the original.

Sure, the premise is the same. You control a yellow dot, albeit a more colorful one, trapped in a glowing maze with four ghosts. You win by eating all of the white dots and the occasional lost soul trapped in a generic-looking ghosts body.

What the female side of the Pac-Man legacy does is add needed variety to the game. You’re not romping through the same maze each time out. The change, however subtle, completely shifts a dedicated player’s strategy. Fruit moves around the stage, making its delicious extra points tougher to find. The four ghosts also have a far more varied routine in their pursuit.

As far as the Xbox Live Arcade is concerned, this translation is a tough sell. Namco is quickly becoming the worst offender in the retro category, failing to add anything to their games to increase their value. The Namco Museum releases over the years further devalue titles like this.

However, here it is at a full $5. There has been no graphical update, Xbox Live has nothing to connect to, and the achievements are lazily implemented matching the same ones used in Pac-Man. Regardless of the quality increase back in the early 1980s, it’s no longer the sequel fans drool over.

It’s hard to stick up for Pac-Man’s wife/girlfriend/significant other in situations like this. Sure, she’s prettier and has more to offer, but she’s asking far too much for her services. That rarely leads to a successful sale.

Ms. Pac-Man is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Everything.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.