A fairly faithful reproduction of the classic Pac-Man arcade game, considering its age and use of CGA graphics. As ever, the main character moves through a maze collecting dots and avoiding ghosts, using power pills for a chance to kill the ghosts for points.
Every now and then you come across a game, so simple, so pure, that just screams for attention. PC-Man is one of these games, despite it's classification as a clone, PC-Man does what almost no other game as done before, it's better than its source material.
You may ask me why a game that's size is smaller than this review's, could receive a perfect five. It's simple. PC-Man does all a game needs to do, it's fun, so amazingly fun that it drags you back every time. The premise of the game couldn't be dumber, and everyone knows what it is. You are a round shaped creature, which has only one purpose in life, to consume small square dots while being pursued by ghosts that for some reason chose to haunt a badly designed maze. You, as Pac-Man (or PC-Man in this case), travel around trying to avoid the ghosts and consume as many pellets as possible, once you have collected all of them, a winner is you. It sounds simple, but there's a twist, the ghosts are all faster than you, so what do you do? You consume larger pellets that will render the ghosts edible for a short while, but even if you devour them they'll soon return, and that's all to it.
Sound... Mmm... Okay, so if you were expecting a orchestra to compose a monumental score for this game your hopes are going to be crushed like so many cockroaches in a mother's kitchen. The most you will receive is some catchy bleeping music for the title screen, and then some more beeping noises as you devour pellets. But wait! There's more! When you eat ghosts or larger pellets, the sound changes! It's magical! Not only that, but a small tune fun tune plays upon your death! How can you ask for more?
Now don't get me started on the graphics. You wouldn't expect a game so old to have any visual appeal at all, so don't go looking for any. Surprisingly, I myself enjoyed the graphics, just because unlike most other CGA graphic games, my retinas did not burn away, nor did my eyes separate from their sockets, and if I can play a vintage game without any eye-sores, then that is certainly good enough for me.
So, now you're probably wondering what you should do. If you came this far, then you're certainly interested. Go play the game! If you looked at the meager screens and read what I had to say with doubt, give the game a chance, I assure that you'll find at least a little satisfaction. All in all, I couldn't have hoped for a better game than PC-Man, not since the original flat panel Pac-Man have I ever been this addicted.
Why is the main character of this game called PC Man and not Pacman (as the legendary character) is unknown to me. Probably because Onion Software had no rights to use Atari's brand name... So, this is actually Pacman, but the PC version of it. Go around, eat those dots and stay away from ghosts.
Before Windmill Software and CHAMProgramming, Orion Software was one of the first game developers that specialized in creating PC "clones" of well-known arcade games, usually from the extensive catalogs of Atari, Taito, or William. Lack of originality or official license notwithstanding, their games are excellent conversions of famous classics that, surprisingly enough, often look and play better than official PC ports. Aside from great gameplay, Orion games are also notable for being coded with a built-in timer - which means they work at the right speed even on modern computers. Kudos to the designer Greg Kuperberg for having such foresight.. it's not so often you find a 1983 game that doesn't need to be slowed down :-) If you can't get enough of Q*Bert, Pac-Man, or Paratrooper, check out these excellent classics that truly stand the test of time.
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