1988
Arcade: Maze
£8.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

10
Phil King, Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

PAC-MAN GAINS AN EXTRA DIMENSION

The ultimate consumer is back! And just as greedy as ever. Levels are completed in the age-old tradition of gobbling down all the dots and pills available. Naturally the more conservation-minded ghosts - Slinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde - are still haunting the mazes trying to catch the hero. On later levels they're joined by two new recruits: Sue and Jumpy.

At the start, the player can choose to start on Round One, Block Town; Round Two, Pac- Man's Park or Round Four, Sandbox Lane. These are all different maze layouts with their own unique graphics. Round Five, like Three, is a different coloured 'bonus' version of the previous maze. Round Six is the wonderful Jungly Steps, after which all the remaining 16 are re-coloured versions of the four basic mazes - just like in the arcade original. Due to their increasing difficulty, a lot more bonus points are awarded according to the round you're on.

Helping you on your way to a huge points total are the familiar power pills, turning the ghostly hunters into prey for a (very) short time. Also of use is Pac- Man's newly-found ability to jump over his old foes - but not his new ones, so look out for Sue and Jumpy when they arrive. While wondering whether it's Clyde or Jumpy on your tail you might also cast your eyes over the bottom of the screen. At various times an object icon will appear here. If you then rush to the centre of the playing area Pac-Man will be able to grab it. Look out for cherries, apples, sweets, mugs of coffee, and bananas, all with varying bonus point values. Even more useful are special green and red power pills: green gives turbo speed, while red makes ghosts edible for big bonus points.

This is the biz! The ghosts and backgrounds are monochrome, but nicely drawn and very cute. Pac-Man himself is yellow, clashing a touch with the backgrounds, but that's only a slight flaw. As for sound, 128K owners are treated to some acceptable tunes, whilst 48K owners have good chomping effects. Nevertheless underneath all the special FX it's just another Pac-Man game, albeit a very good one.

MARK ... 77%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: well-drawn sprites in fairly smooth-scrolling isometric mazes
Sound: superb, catchy in-game Pac-Music
Options: music on/off. Choice between three starting levels

CRITICISM

'Hey, look who it is, it's my old mate the over-inflated banana, perhaps better known as Pac-Man. This time he's in glorious 3-D and full of bouncy jumps. Graphics are good and the sound is really cheerful - helping simulate exactly the same fun as in the arcade. Pac-Mania is an excellent conversion of the arcade machine ... but still just a Pac-Man game. Great presentation admittedly, but I don't know if it's original enough to keep you playing for all that long.' NICK ... 79%

'Oh, me of little faith; I thought there was no way this great Namco coin-op could be adequately converted. But in fact some wonderful programming has proved me wrong. The scrolling's pretty darn smooth, the sprites are well-defined and not too slow either. Furthermore, the programmers haven't stuck strictly to monochrome and have managed to have a yellow Pac-Man chomping through a different coloured maze. Even more amazing are the absolutely brilliant in-game 128K tunes - some of the catchiest I've heard on the Spectrum. Of course, technical excellence can't solely make a great game, but Pac-Mania is such a great coin-op and all of its intricacies are here. This is one of the most playable games I've seen - even if it is only a souped-up version of Pat-Man. Highly addictive, a pleasure to watch and listen to - what more do you want?? (A free coin-op from Grandslam, Phil? - Ed.)' PHIL ... 90%

General Rating: A very competent conversion of the coin-op. Not very original but very playable all the same.

81%
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79%
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82%

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POPPING PILLS

Don't forget you can turn in mid-jump, this comes in very handy for dodging ghosts.

Wait around near power pills till you get a gaggle of ghosts (that's what they're called Isn't it?). Now eat the pill and gobble them all up.

Clear the central area of the maze first when the ghosts start chasing you, make for the outside and the nearest power pill.

You can identify the jumping ghosts by their frowning faces.

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Gte that power pill before Inky munches you