Pacmania logo

NOSTALGIA is big business nowadays - we have '50s and '60s music back in the charts and Pacman back on the computer screen. The little yellow blob with a penchant for pills is back once more and he's still being hounded by Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Clyde, Sue and Funky.
Can Pacman cut it with the big boys in 1989? Or is the game an insult to the circuitry of your beloved Amiga? The answers to these two questions are yes and no respectively.

Pac-mania is an arcade-quality program. Stunning use of colour, shading, and three dimensional perspective make it an Amiga showpiece.
The most attractive feature of the graphics is the way that they fill the screen completely - there is no border. By combing this with superb four directional scrolling, the programmers have created a perfect illusion - the monitor seems to disappear and you are left looking at the game itself.

Sound is exemplary - a different tune accompanies each level, with every one taking full advantage of the Amiga's stereo capabilities. Even after several hours of play I didn't feel the desire to switch the music off - so it must be good!

Our hero must out-run or outwit his ghostly following as he races around four different types of maze. The first is described as Block Town. I would have called it Lego Land since the floor and walls are constructed from Lego type bricks.
Number two is set in Pacman Park with tubular rails forming the barriers. The third level is based in Sandbox Land - here the dusty paths are separated by the regular shapes of sand castles. Finally we have the elevated wooden walkways of the Jungly Steps.

Apart from the regular Dotty pills the maze also contains several larger pills of various colours. There are always four yellow ones on a screen - these are Pacman's power pills which make him mean, macho, and menacing and also give him the ability to eat ghosts.

Occasionally a red pill will materialise. Eating this doubles the value of any points scored from that time onwards - quite a bonus if any of the high value fruit tokens appear.

Finally there are the green pills - which give Pacman the ability to out-run any ghost on the screen. I would advise you to take a yellow pill soon after swallowing the green one - a high speed blob can be difficult to control, so it helps if he's invulnerable.

The final weapon in Paccy's armoury is his jumping ability - not a feature of the original game, but a welcome addition. A quick stab at the fire button can send you flying over a pursuing ghost.

When the strains and stresses of saving the universe begin to get you down, play Pac-mania and smile again!


Pacmania logo

GRAND SLAM ENTERTAINMENT

The coin-op version of Pacmania was responsible for denting the financial status of many arcade goers. At least Grand Slam's version won't cause any problems in that area, but with the same addictive qualities as rampant as ever it's certain to prompt a few late-nights.

PRE-PACMANIA

Human-kind once divided their span on the earth into two phases: these phases came to be known as BC and AD. As mankind developed he learnt to become the master of his Universe. He created such miracles as a machine with revolving blades which could be used to cut away the fluff on his face and a device to wake him up in the morning. But by far his greatest achievement was the creation of a piece of plastic filled with things called chips and buttons. A very special game was created and a new era in the reign of mankind was formed. It too was given a name. Once again man split his span into two phases, these were known as BP and AP - before and after Pacman.

For anyone who's spent a century with their head up the back end of a chicken, Pacman was the game in which you steered a filled circle around a maze, eating up the dots and being chased by ghosts. If you ate a power-pill you could run after the ghosts, eating them and seeking your revenge.


AMIGA VS ST

There are very major differences between the two games. The ST version does not have the coin-op graphics screens downloaded from the original game and the pills on the ST are black on a grey maze instead of yellow, which makes it extremely difficult to distinguish them. The musical tracks accompanying play are also not nearly as impressive as those in the Amiga version. Whereas the screen is scrolled on the Amiga, no such benefits are offered to ST owners, who'll have to live with a smaller window too.


PRO-PACMANIA

The gameplay of Pacmania has changed very little from the original version. It's in the graphics where the changes have really been made. Instead of looking down at the maze as in the original version of the game, In Pacmania you're looking at the Pacman from a front-on 3D view. This feature comes at a price - you can no longer see the entire maze which means that you don't realise you have the 9th battalion of ghosts on your tail until they suddenly engulf you.

Grandslam boast that the Pacman has been created using 16 shades of yellow. This might seem like overkill but the resulting image looks very solid. A little more effort could have been made with the ghosts but this is only a minor fault. The mazes I the Amiga game have actually been downloaded from the original coin-op version, so they look excellent.

There are soundtracks playing throughout the games as well as gobbling sounds each time the Pacman eats a pill or a lump of fruit. These last-mentioned can grant double point scores for eating ghosts or make your Pacman move faster.


CONCLUSION

Just when you think Pacman has finally died a death, up comes another version like a dose of glandular fever. Sometimes you wonder if anyone can give it a decent burial. However, Pacman was a phenomenal success in its day and the Amiga's graphics and sound offer enough variation on a hackneyed theme to make it an even greater game and almost more addictive than the original, if that can be possible. Mind you, the ST version fails to add much to the original Pacman - we'd only rate it 65% overall.


Pacmania logo

Grandslam
Price: £19.95

Pac's back! Only now he's got more colour, a large scrolling maze and a few special abilities.
Pac has been enlarged, rotated through 90 degrees, and given a new, overhead perspective view of the world. The game, however, remains exactly the same. Pac, a rotund yellow eat-anything ball (a bit like C+VG's ad man just after he came back from his holiday) has to race around a maze collecting all the pills that are lying on the floor by running over them, eating them as he passes.

The only things hindering him are the ghosts that race around the maze, some in a random pattern, some of which home in on him almost telepathically, and some which follow him in a 'line of sight' fashion, that is, should he go round a corner, they stop tracking him until they see him again.

The original Pacman used to get quite hectic, if you had two ghosts coming from opposite directions, and nowhere to turn, there wasn't very much you could do, except wait for the impending doom. Happily, in Pacmania, there is. You can jump up into the air, clean over the approaching ghosts and away into the blue yonder. As the ghosts don't change direction in the middle of a path, you should gain enough time to do a runner (or should that be a roller?).

As in the original, Pac has his power pills. In each of the four corners on the maze are oversized pills, which temporarily turn the tables on the ghosts, making Pac invincible and allowing him to kill them off by munching them. When dead, the ghosts' eyes are all that remain, whereupon they fly off to a special location in the centre of the maze to reform into ghosts, and return to menacing.

At random intervals, a special pill appears in the centre of the maze. This gives Pc things like extra lives, super speed, invulnerability or just plain points.

There are four worlds to travel through, the first three are selectable as starting levels from the front end. The amount of levels on each starts at one for world 1, and increases in direct proportion to the world number. On the high levels, things like wraparound mazes appear just to fool you into thinking that the maze is larger than it is. More and more ghosts appear and the mazes become more intricate. Right near the end, the big ghosts appear. Twice the size of an ordinary ghost, these things are hard to avoid.

The one type of nasty that gets me every time is the jumping ghost. It starts on world 3 and can't be jumped over, as it has a habit of jumping when you do, so you tend to jump into it, rather than over it.

To be honest there's very little distinction between the arcade version and the Amiga version - unsurprisingly since the graphics were downloaded from the coin-op. For a start, the borders have been removed to give the game a full screen. The characters are large and well detailed with all the character of the original.
The sound is really nice too with a tunette here and there, and a continuous wakka wakka sound when Pac moves.

Pacmania is a good game. There's no denying that. It's playable, fun, a bit on the easy side maybe, but fun nonetheless. The problem is, as an idea it's a bit outdated. Nostalgics might see things differently.


64 £19.95
The 64 version of Pacmania isn't bad either, though funnily it's a lot faster than its 16 bit counterpart. Unfortunately it doesn't have the full screen playing area. But there's only so much you can do with a 64.
The gameplay is fast and furious, but falls down by being far too easy. It took me two goes to get to the final level, so maybe forking out a tenner for 15 minutes of entertainment is a little bit much.
GRAPHICS
SOUND
PLAYABILITY
LASTABILITY
OVERALL
73%
57%
76%
46%
69%
 

The definitive dot-muncher gets a new lease of life

Pacmania logo Zzap! Sizzler

Grandslam, £19.95 disk

Allow yourself, for a moment, to think back to a time when video games were still a fairly new concept. What are the games that you always remember from years ago? Space Invaders? Scramble? Defender? Always firm favourites. But there is another one, isn't there? Yes, that's it - PacMan! One of the most successful games ever and certainly the most successful maze game ever.

If you thought that you'd seen the last of this little hero then you'd be sadly mistaken. PacMan has spawned a whole series of spin-off games, such as Miss PacMan, Baby PacMan, PacMan Pinball and more recently, PacLand.

Now we have another spin-off but with a slight difference. Instead of progressing into new scenarios - as in Pacland - Pacmania reverts to the more traditional 'run around the maze eating dots' format. The difference is that the new game takes place in a 3D forced-perspective environment, taking Pac into four different worlds: Block Town, Pacman's Park, Sandbox Land and Jungly Steps - each depicted in their own relevant, fab 'n' triff graphic style. PacMan has the usual ghostly enemies pursuing him around the mazes - and one touch means the loss of one of his lives. Uuurgh!

However, as well as the normal power pills which enable PacMan to chase and eat ghosts for a limited time, he can now foil the evil spectres by swiftly leaping over their heads - leaving them to wander off in the wrong direction. But beware! On later levels some of the ghosts can jump, Too!

Other additions include 'Snack' bonuses (like the fruit in the original game) and extra performance pills (see box).

If you play well enough, the bonus lives are awarded on reaching every 100,000 points, and completing all the worlds means that you have to play through them again but with much more nasty ghosts to contend with.


Gordon Houghton Aren't Amigas fab 'n' triff? I mean you can get really nice graphics, really nice sound and games virtually identical to their arcade counterparts. Pacmania is a case in point. It's almost exactly like the arcade version! The visual effects are completely brill, looking more like plastic toys than video graphics - and what's more the whole screen is used for scrolling - a method unfortunately not used on most games, The sound is equally impressive, using a whole range of familiar arcade-like sounds to capture just the right coin-op atmosphere. My only qualm is that there are only four levels, and dedicated gamers may soon bore of the action - I may be dedicated, but I love cute games, and they don't come much cuter than this! If you can live with the lack of levels and you want a top class conversion to boot, buy Pacmania.
Kati Hamza Is this an arcade machine I see before - aargh, what's happened, I can't tell the difference between computers and coin-ops any more! Well, actually, I can - you stand up to play the Pacmania coin-op but you can sit down to play the Amiga version. See. We reviewers aren't total idiots, you know. Anyway, I haven't seen a conversion as ace as this ooh, ever since Bubble Bobble. The graphics and sound are brilliant - for only 20 quid you can have full-screen scrolling, loads of colour and some of the best and most faithful arcade quality sounds around - and on top of this you've got superb gameplay! Even more rabid with the desire to play than I was, Paul, Maff and Gordo threatened to throw me out of the window unless I let them have a go. Let them throw me out, then - I'm going back to the Amiga!
Maff Evans Isn't it amazing what a quick graphical brush can do for a game? I mean, who'd have thought that PacMan could make such a wonderful re-emergence in 1988? Mind you, I did think that the original was great at the time and played it for hours on end, so the arcade release of Pacmania came as a welcome surprise. Now all I had to hope for was a decent conversion... Well now it has arrived. The Amiga incarnation of Pacmania is brilliant! The graphics are magnificent, with ultra-smooth full-screen scrolling, with loads of colour (I'm told that there are 32 shades of yellow on the PacMan alone!). If you liked the arcade game then you'll like this. Well, if you've got any sense at all, you'll buy this as soon as possible! It's the best arcade conversion I've seen so far.
Pacmania: Dot A Dot - eat them all to clear a stage
Pacmania: Power Pill Power Pill - eat this to catch the ghosts
Pacmania: Snack Bonus Snack Bonus - gives extra points
Pacmania: Speed Pill Speed Pill (green) - gives a limited burst of speed
Pacmania: Super Power Pill Super Power Pill (red) - acts as a Power Pill but gives more points when ghosts are caught