Pac-Man: Adventures in Time gives the famous round yellow fellow a fresh new 3D look and sends him off through mazes and challenging environments set throughout history. Pac-Man's temporal travels take him from a prehistoric land of dinosaurs, into an Egyptian pyramid, through a town in the old west, and even into a science-fiction future. Ghosts and other characters are often "dressed" to match the current time period. Most of the levels view the pellet-gobbling action from a slight angle looking down on the scene, which provides a greater sense of depth. Other levels make full use of all three dimensions, sending Pac-Man to munch his way across a revolving globe or navigate his way up and down a maze carved around a giant tree trunk.
Over the past few years, 3D technology has been used to update several arcade classics. We've witnessed numerous 2D characters come to life in such titles as Frogger, Galaga, Q-Bert, Pong, Breakout and Centipede, among others, all courtesy of Hasbro Interactive. Hasbro's latest reincarnation is Pac-Man, everybody's favorite pellet-munching pal, as the classic maze game of the 1980s returns in full 3D action, just in time for it's 20th anniversary, in the all-new Pac-Man: Adventures in Time.
Much like their other arcade classic remakes, Hasbro Interactive wasn't going to be satisfied simply recreating the original title with up-to-date technology, oh no. Pac-Man: Adventures in Time tells a tale of hope and bravery. The Magical Power Pellet, which keeps Pac-Man's planet alive, has been smashed and scattered across time by his archenemies, the Ghosts. Pac-Man must use time portals from Professor Pac-Man's laboratory to travel back in time, retrieve the four pieces and return them to his planet's core before it cools, all the while trying to get home in time for supper with the wife and kids.
I'm sure many of you have seen the movie Back to the Future, we all know time travel isn't an exact science., Pac-Man will find himself bouncing back and forth between five themed, real-time 3D worlds, as he searches for the four pieces of the Magical Pellet, including the Wild West, Prehistoric, Medieval, Egyptian and Futuristic environments. There are 45 mazes in total, varying in size, shape and difficulty level. Players start out in flat mazes and progress to more challenging mazes featuring slopes, seesaws and multiple levels, while avoiding such added dangers, aside from the usual ghosts, as falling boulders, hungry alligators and slippery snakes. Also introduced later in the game are new spherical, cylindrical and cubic mazes that are definitely more challenging.
Pac-Man has changed a bit over the last 20 years. For starters, there are two different views available in the game. The original top-down angle is available, but for more of a challenge, a 3D view is also in the cards, which gets you up close and personal with Pac-Man and the environment. Pac-Man has also developed the ability to jump over obstacles and enemies if need be. The jump button cannot be used continually though, as it takes a number of seconds for Pac-Man to get his legs back after making a jump. So if you think you're cornered or you feel a falling boulder is going to get the best of you, the jump button just might save the day for Pac-Man. Besides the 45 mazes available, Pac-Man: Adventures in Time also includes several mini-games. Some of the mini-games are based on classic games like Concentration and Cups 'n Ball, but there are also some original mini-games such as Cannibal Dash, Railcart Rush, Asteroid Antics and Dot Mania.
Graphically, Pac-Man: Adventures in Time is much like Hasbro Interactive's other remakes, colorful and upbeat. The game opens with a nice cinematic and as you complete each series of mazes, movies help advance the story and set-up the next world. With a wide assortment of characters and environments available in the game, I was more than pleased with the visual presentation of the game. For those fans of the original, you'll be happy to know that many of the sounds from the original game are used in this remake as well. The music and sound effects will have you remembering days gone by in the arcades playing this addictive classic, while the speech during the cinematics is solid as well.
Pac-Man: Adventures in Time isn't without a fault or two. For starters, the new 3D view can be a bit of a pain sometimes. When moving in a Northerly direction, you can see quite a ways ahead of you, but when you move in a Southerly direction, you can't see much. This caused me to run into one of my Ghostly enemies a number of times, because my sight was limited. I also found the game stalled on a few occasions, including right in the middle of a maze a few times. On top of that, the controls aren't as responsive as they probably should be. There were many times when I tried to make a left or a right, but all for not.
Pac-Man: Adventures in Time does feature multiplayer via the Internet or LAN connections. You can compete against your friends for highest score on a number of different mazes. There's no match-making service currently set-up, so it might be a little difficult finding opponents to play against. In terms of the single player game, you can save your game every three to five mazes, but your lives won't be replenished the next time you load up a saved game. If you save a game after the third maze with only two lives left, you'll have two lives every time you load up the game from that point. This kind of system does an excellent job in terms of challenging players, but also gives players the opportunity not to have to play through prior mazes.
Overall, Pac-Man: Adventures in Time is a great re-creation of the arcade classic. The best part is the fact that the addictive gameplay, which made the original so popular, remains the same. The addition of cylindrical and spherical mazes is a welcome change from the usual flat mazes, and the inclusion of slopes, bridges and other various objects, as well as dangers and enemies, increases the gameplay value considerably. The responsiveness of the controls and the overall feel of the 3D view could be a little better, but the game is just too fun not to enjoy. Whether you're a younger gamer, a casual gamer, or a fan of the original Pac-Man, Adventures in Time will certainly fill your arcade fix.
People who downloaded Pac-Man: Adventures in Time have also downloaded:
Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze, Pac-Man World 3, Pac-Man All-Stars, Super Mario Pac, Lemmings, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend, Lemmings Revolution, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition
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