Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I just beat Tales of Symphonia. It was amazing. It was made by Namco. BUT I am not quite ready to write a review on it yet, as it will probably take a bit of thinking to really form my final thoughts on that game, so instead, I am considering which other Namco games I have really enjoyed in the past or present. Soul Calibur 2 is among my favorite Gamecube games ever and that was made by Namco, but what about that round guy? You know, apparently gaming's most iconic character. Not Mario, not Sonic, but the yellow cheese wheel that Americans call Pac-Man!

Ever since his arcade debut in year 1980, Pac-Man has been eating fruit and taking out ghosts in almost every genre that 80s gaming would allow. He has seen Tetris spin-offs and even female spin-offs. If you wanna get your best bang for your buck when it comes to Pac-Man trivia, check out Did You Know Gaming's website for a video all about the hockey puck. You guys are here for another reason though: to find out MY thoughts on a game that I enjoy. Now that you know that today is all about Pac-Man, I bet you're beginning to wonder which game I plan to discuss. Pac-Man on the Gamecube? There's only 1 best answer.

Pac-Man World 2

Pac-Man World 2 is a sequel to Pac-Man World released in year 1999 for the Playstation. Now I admit, I didn't play the first Pac-Man World game so I can't compare it to it's sequel, but I can discuss why I think Pac-Man World 2 is a fun game totally worth the $3 price tag! Hmm, I guess I'll go Gameplay, Level Design, and Soundtrack for this one.

The gameplay of Pac-Man World 2 actually reminds me a lot of Crash Bandicoot with abilities taken from Super Mario 64 and Sonic Adventure. You control a fully 3D Pac-Man in fully linear 3D levels just trying to navigate from the beginning of the level to the end. There are 25 levels spread across 6 different worlds ranging from Forests to Volcanoes and in order to beat the game, you must utilize your jump, butt-bounce, and rev-roll ability to beat every level. It's a pretty simple game that depicts how easily gamers used to be satisfied, but it is a delight to be playing again. When it comes to what sets this game apart from other linear platformers, really, there isn't much to say. This game was, as I like to say, "standard stuff", when it came to gameplay. However, like a fine wine, this game has aged quite well. When it comes to platformers, game developers nowadays have put so much effort into making this genre that tends to be a bit on the shallow side grow. They add guns, gimmicks, and speed to try to set their game apart from platformers of the past. Going back and playing old platformers can cause just as much of a culture shock because the difference between platformers made in 1999 and platformers made in 2007 is just as great as the difference between platformers made in 2008 and platformers made in 2014. True, it may take an experienced gamer to appreciate an older title, but I think that this game is simply so much fun, that the experience necessary to tolerate its age is less vital than it would be if this game wasn't any fun at all.

Now LEVEL DESIGN is another story. Holy SHIT this game just looks amazing. Not that it is graphically extraordinary, but the colors, the art-style, the models, the ghosts, the environment is just so bright and colorful that I feel like I am going to shit balloons for an hour after playing this game! Now this is definitely a good thing in the case of "why Pac-Man World 2 is different and dare I saw better than other platformers of its kind VS. people who aren't me". When a game, especially a platformer, is only average in 1 category of it's core experience, its only hope of doing well in the streets relies in its ability to compensate enormously in its other features. Pac-Man World 2 totally nails it when it comes to level design. This game is a pleasure to look at. Every color is so bright that even Pac-Man himself has a gigantic smile on his face during the entire game! What makes this especially pleasing to hardcore gamers is that this emphasis on color is actually a clever nod to the original Pac-Man back from 1980. Every ghost in the original Pac-Man game was originally supposed to be red. As a result of a survey taken by volunteer gamers back in 1979, each ghost was given their own unique color, Red, Cyan, Orange, and Pink in the final game. The fruit in Pac-Man were also always brightly colored, as fruit is in real life. This importance of color has obviously been cherished over at Namco, as their utilization of bright greens and blues really shows through all of Pac Land, right down to the power pellets.

And to finally make up for the reused platforming concept featured in Pac-Man World, we have the soundtrack. This game's soundtrack....THIS. GAME'S. SOUNDTRACK. is actually one of my favorite soundtracks of any game I have ever played, INCLUDING Guitar Hero Rocks the 80s and Tony Hawk's Underground 2. The game features orchestral music which is actually really well-composed. It has a really triumphant yet accessible feel to it that makes you want to save the damn world while humming. The game has an extremely catchy main theme, and every individual level features background music that is some sort of variant of the main theme. But of course, no soundtrack would be for-real unless it matched up with the theme of the level. Each variant of the main theme in each level is composed with respect to the level in which the song is featured. The ice themed levels are very peaceful with a lot of bells and chimes. The forest levels emphasis a lot of percussion. The Graveyard levels feature a lot of jarring harmonies- you get the point.  And finally, the sound effects. Not much else can be said other than they are mostly the exact sound effects used back in 1980. Everything from eating pac-dots to losing a life utilizes the same sound effects that were used 23 years before this game was released, much like how Sonic's signature ring-collecting sound hasn't been changed since Sonic's debut in 1991. It's clever and familiar as it is always comforting to witness something that simply is not affected by time.

I bet all this talk of Pac-Man has put you in the mood to play! Well that urge, once more, is something that is addressed by Namco in Pac-Man World 2. Among the collectible fruits scattered across each of the game's 25 levels (each of which are about 5 minutes long) are tokens. Tokens can be collected and exchanged for classic Pac-Man titles in the Pac-Man World 2 arcade! Collecting sufficient amounts of tokens will grant you access to the original Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Attack, Pac-Mania, AND brand new 3D mazes that play the same as the original Pac-Man, but were designed especially for Pac-Man World 2. Nothing like a new spin on an old game, especially when you can play the old and new games back to back!

Pac-Man World 2 is a damn fun platformer whose bright colors and surprisingly good music will bring you back to gameplay you may have thought you'd seen the last of many years ago. I'd recommend to Crash Bandicoot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Pac-Man fans, as well as fans of platformers that emphasize collectibles, as there are quite a lot of them in this game. If nothing else has convinced you, if you see it in the store, it will have a $3 price tag and I say that it is fun. Isn't that enough?

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