Pac-Man Championship Edition DX for PS3 (Game Review)

It was about a year ago or so when I came across an article on the internet (or as my father so mistakenly calls it; the ‘telecom’) that said roughly only one-third of video games turn a profit.  That was rather dismally shocking, considering all the money that’s spent annually by consumers on the massive range of titles and gaming consoles, including PC’s.  I guess if you think about it, how many titles actually get sequels or spin-offs?  Mario is a given.  Star Wars titles are pretty successful.  Halo has rocked it out now for a while too.  But few have the staying power of one of the original video games that helped pioneer the entire genre; Pac-Man.



New on the Playstation Network from Namco is Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.  What else can you do with the beloved yellow sphere of hunger?  We’ve all seen the simplistic yet addicting 2D romp through the maze chasing pellets and ghosts.  Then we’ve seen the 3D landscapes he’s explored in Pac-Man World.  When it seems like you’ve run out of ideas, go back to what works and add a little different flavor.  Pac-Man DX takes the old wire-framed maze, translates it to more of a wide-horizontal feel for today’s TV’s, and adds a little opposite spin from the original version.  Instead of going from board to board, trying to clear paths of pellets, you stay on the same board for a specified amount of time.  The mazes are nearly devoid of Pac-Man’s favorite food at times with only a few stray pellets here and there.

The object is to clear those bi-symmetrical pellet paths which generate special edible items and new rows of of the little white dots in other areas of the maze.  As for the typical 5 or 6 ghosts that try and chase you down, you are now faced with anywhere from 1 ghost to a figure that can get as high as 30!  Some of the mouthless baddies will appear out of the familiar old box in the middle of the screen while others lie sleeping at various points on the map.  Pass them and they’ll awaken, eager to chase you down with the other train of ghosts already hot on your tail. 

Like the original, there really is no ending to the game in a story sense.  However, levels are more finite and infinite than the original at the same time.  Finite, in the respect that you’re on a clock that’s ticking down.  Infinite as you can clear the board countless times in your designated time period.  One helpful addition in your board-chomping duties is a new time bar that appears when you eat a power pellet that makes the ghosts edible.  As it quickly evaporates from right to left, you’re able to see just how much time you have left before the Inky, Blinky, Clyde and company turn back to their normal selves.  An added feature is the use of bombs.  Tapping the L1 or R1 buttons near ghosts that are in close proximity to you will unleash a bomb that sends them back to their middle-of-the-map home where they quickly regroup to begin he chase once more.

As far as each map’s time limit is concerned, it depends on the level you’re on.  The amount of time on the ticker can range in length from 1, 5 or 10 minutes.  Completing a level in your specified time records it and sets that as the new clock for that level.  If you completed a 1-minute map in 29 seconds, the next time you play that map the clock starts at 29 seconds.  The addiction to keep replaying these time trials in hopes of defeating your prior time is pretty ridiculous.  I had some non-video game matters to attend to and I found myself reverting back to my 6th grade years, “Just one more time, then I’ll turn it off.  Okay, maybe just one more time, then this will definitely be it.  Alright, this is definitely the last time I’m playing this level…for sure.  Oh man, I know I can beat that time.  Let’s just do one more.”  It was at that point I discovered this game has time warp capabilities, turning what feels like 15 minutes of playing time into over an hour of real time.


In this game of simple ups, downs, lefts and rights, you have the option of using the thumbsticks or the directional pad to guide Pac-Man on his merry way.  I prefer the directional pad since A) that’s what I grew up with on Nintendo, and B) in a game of sharp turns, I’d rather not use the flexibility of the sometimes overly liberal thumbstick which, I  fear, could send me in an unwanted turn into the clutches of a vile ghost.  The pace of Pac-Man DX, while it starts off slow, can get pretty hectic as your time on a board progresses.  The exits on the map that take you from one end of the board to the other can be numerous, and with sleeping ghosts blocking some pathways, you need to be on your toes when choosing your direction of momentum.  

You will find a little frustration in trying to negotiate some turns when the speed of the game hits its peak.  On more than a few occasions, I tried to make that hard left or that sudden right to glide down an open path, only to have old Pac keep on going in the same direction.  Am I getting older and is my reaction time deteriorating?  Well, yes, but certainly not to the point where Pac-Man is too fast for me to play.         

Graphics & Sound

There are a variety of boards to play on, each with its own styled layout, most of which need to be unlocked before you can play them.  The simple blue wire frames are now colored in an array of designs ranging from a uni-color standard to a rainbow-esque neon look.  When using that new multi-colored look, the game looks absolutely beautiful in high definition.  The colors jump out at you in structured psychadelic fashion.  In addition, you can also change the grapics from game to game.  The options include the traditional 1980 look, neon character outlines, lego-esque style blocks, a more pixelated appearance, and a 3D look that gives Pac some and the ghosts some added personality. 

The sound is not something I expected a whole lot out of considering the game consists of the traditional pellet-gobbling sounds, along with that of scaring ghosts and getting eaten.  However, the game’s creators managed to do a lot with a little.  There are six different music options you can choose from (or opt to use no music at all), which offer a similar variety of techno-beat tunes.  The music thumps pretty well out of a surround sound system, making surprising use of the subwoofer.  Granted, you’re not going to feel like the ghosts are right behind you through the rear channels, but given this is an overhaul from the 1980 classic, I was quite pleased with the resourcefullness that game director Tadashi Iguchi and company utilized.

Final Thoughts

For the price of $9.99, I thought it was a bit high for the same old game of ghost chasing and dot digesting.  Good thing this isn’t just the same old game of Pac-Man.  The facelift makes the price easy to swallow and the replay value is through the roof.  This is easily a no-brainer buy and even when you’re not competing against yourself amidst three difficutly settings, the in-game scoreboard keeps a running tally of where you rank amongst the world’s Pac-Man DX players.  Bon Appétit!



5 Responses to “Pac-Man Championship Edition DX for PS3 (Game Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I downloaded the demo, but I’m a Tetris guy.

  2. Brian White


  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    I feel like I should give game review writing a try. I play plenty of PS3 games and have some strong opinions about certain games (I wish Enslaved was a bigger hit), but my time is so scarce. We’ll see. But for now: woka woka woka woka woka Cherry woka woka woka woka woka ghost woka woka woka woka Ms. Pac Man Bonus woka.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    Pac-man is fun but I’ve moved on to next gen games.

  5. Rohan Padiyar

    I got a PS3 early this week and downloaded a game demo of this. I still find Pac-Man addicting. HAPPY 30th ANNIVERSARY, PAC-MAN!