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Retro Review: Pac-man 2: The New Adventures

On 10/01/2022 at 10:56 AM by The Last Ninja

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This “sequel” feels like anything but a Pac-man game 

Everyone knows Pac-man. He’s one of the most iconic video game characters of all time. His game was simple and addicting, as you moved him through a maze picking up power pellets while avoiding ghosts. Fast-forward to the 90s, and Namco apparently wanted to make a sequel for their mascot. But what could they do? That’s when it dawned on them: a point and click adventure! Instead of laughing off the idea, they did it. This is certainly a bizarre choice, and they knew it, which is why they threw in the subtitle “The New Adventures.” They wanted players to know that this would be nothing like Pac-man’s old adventures—this was something completely different. Let’s dive in and see if this strange game can hold water. 

First, how is the story? Point and click adventure games are usually story-heavy. Well, this game should actually be called “the misadventures of Pac-man,” as everywhere the guy goes, he finds himself in trouble. The story goes that Pac-man is helping his family in various ways, such as getting milk for the baby or picking flowers for Lucy or getting Jr.’s guitar from the ghosts in the city. Of course, the villain and the ghosts are trying to defeat Pac-man at every turn, so he also has to deal with them. Pac-man’s interactions with objects, creatures, and people is what really makes the game so interesting. The story is not spectacular, but it’s something. 

pic 1

As for gameplay, the game quickly explains what you do. You don’t control Pac-man directly, instead you interact with him and objects using a slingshot. By shooting something, you can make different things happen which will (hopefully) progress the story. You can also point in a certain direction with the Y button, and a guy will say “look.” However, this function is broken, as many times the hand will point in a direction you did not intend, and Pac-man will then look or move somewhere that you didn’t want him to. If Pac-man gets hurt, you have to retry that particular section. Also, if the ghosts find Pac-man, you can throw him a power pellet, which will instantly transform him into Super Pac-man and he will eat the ghosts in glorious fashion. Honestly, the gameplay would have been much better if you had direct control of Pac-man. 

The controls are okay, I suppose. You control a cursor which can move around anywhere on screen. For some reason, this game is not compatible with the SNES mouse. The d-pad works fine, but the mouse would have been more user-friendly. 

pic 2

The graphics are colorful and detailed. Plenty of things move and react to Pac-man, making the world feel alive. Pac-man himself has a wide range of emotions which are expressed very well on his big face. The game has four main locations: the village, the mountain, the factory, and the metropolis. Each area is very distinct with several screens that present new things and people to interact with. It’s a very pleasant game to look at. 

Unfortunately, the entire game is hampered by poor design choices. Pac-man is given a main objective, but many times it is unclear what should be done in a given situation. This results in trial and error as you try to figure out what to do. For example, in order to get the empty glass bottle which is just out of Pac-man’s reach, you have to shoot the crow, which will swoop down and knock the bottle onto the ground. Sometimes you even have to shoot Pac-man to get him to move out of harm’s way. And Pac-man! He’s a total klutz here—he will trip over something if you don’t point it out. He’s also a wuss—one section has him running in terror from little worms! These are supposed to be humorous moments, but they end up being annoying as they ruin your objective in the most ridiculous ways. The game also has some mini game segments, such as the mine cart section and a hang glider section. These are mostly frustrating as you attempt to steer Pac-man clear of danger, but indirectly doing so is very tricky. 

pic 3

However, the presentation here is very good. The game actually plays out like a cartoon, complete with an opening that introduces all the main characters. Each mission starts with Ms. Pac-man telling her hubby to do something or get something, and once the task is accomplished, Pac-man returns home and the mission ends with a closing circle on our hero. Again, Pac-man’s expressions are really good, and they change depending on how he is treated; if he falls on his face, he becomes angry, or if he gets disappointed, he will droop and look sad. It’s also a lot of fun to watch Super Pac-man fly around and eat the ghosts. Between missions you see the mysterious villain punish the ghosts for not defeating Pac-man by (apparently) eating them. But don’t worry, they come back. 

Pac-man will constantly be making sounds as he moves, looks around, and performs tasks. Overall sound is good, and you can tell that they went with many cartoony sounds on purpose. The music is good, although nothing really stands out, except for the occasional Pac-man theme to remind you that this is indeed a Pac-man game. Also, there’s not much replay value in the main game due to how frustrating it can be. However, there are two arcades in the game in which you can play the original Pac-man (have you played it? It’s a really fun game). And if you can find the three pieces of the cartridge, you can also play Ms. Pac-man (which is even better than the first game). These two games are, sadly, more replayable than the main game. 

pic 4

Final Verdict—3 Stars: It’s Okay

Pac-man 2: The New Adventures is a mixed bag. On one hand, it has great graphics and presentation, but on the other hand, it has poor gameplay and design. If you’re a big Pac-man fan, you will enjoy seeing his world and helping him to help his family; but if you’re not much of a Pac-man fan, this is a mediocre point and click game. Strangely enough, it was never released for computers, which would have been a much better fit for this style of game. All I’m gonna say is, Namco, keep Pac-man in the mazes—that’s where he belongs.




10/02/2022 at 06:21 AM

I thought it was some kind of sequel to Pac-Land (a game that had its own design issues) until I read up on it some years later and found out it was a point-and-click.

Cary Woodham

10/02/2022 at 08:22 AM

If they were going to put a 2 on it, they realy should've called it Pac-Land 2.  The Japanese title: "Hello Pac-Man" makes more sense to me, seeing how you play it.

Cary Woodham

10/02/2022 at 08:24 AM

Call me crazy, but I actually really like this one.  It's not my favorite Pac-Man game or anything, not even in my top five.  But it sure is a memorable game for being so weird.  There's never been a game like it since!  In a time where everyone else was making me-too Sonic platformers, Namco took their mascot and made something completely different.

Super Step Contributing Writer

10/02/2022 at 06:39 PM

I don't think you're crazy, I just think you're a Pac-Maniac! Wink

The Last Ninja

10/03/2022 at 01:32 PM

True, but it's also as far from the Pac-man formula as you can get, which I don't like. Sometimes you can go too far in the other direction. 


10/05/2022 at 03:25 PM

Where was the Doom-clone Pac-Man game? Everyone was making one at the time. I want to roam 3D mazes in first-person and gobble stuff up with jump scares when you turn a corner and a ghost appears. 

The Last Ninja

10/11/2022 at 08:40 PM

LOL that might actually work. Pac-man's enemies are ghosts, after all...

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