After almost a decade, you wouldn't think this brand new sequel would ever come out. Finally, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is upon us but does it live up to the undeniably awesome original?
Pac-Man Championship Edition was an instant classic take on the original Pac-Man formula. When I first played it, I was blown away how they modernized the gameplay in such a fantastic way. This sequel retains the spirit of frantic and addictive action that'll keep you hooked until you top your high score just one more time.
For the uninitiated, you basically control Pac-Man to score as many points as possible by gobbling up fruit to advance through stages while filling your dot meter and eating large chains of scared ghosts. Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 offers many new mechanics that do a great job of making it a worthy sequel. Ghosts will unite to create trains that you can anger after bumping into them a couple of times. Doing so will make the ghost chase you just like in the original arcade game. However, upon collecting a Power Pellet, you can eat the head of each train to instantly gobble up the whole thing but you have to be quick! Luckily, the trains have highlighted paths that they travel along. There's also Bomb Jumps that allow you to warp to the starting point, timed boss fights, warp jumps, and even runaway fruit. There are so many factors that it makes the onscreen chaos loads of fun to take part in.
The visuals are almost identical to the first game. To mix things up, you can implement various textures, backgrounds, and camera angles. My favourite configuration is to make the layout seem like it's straight from Pac-Mania. Anyway, the sound effects are bursting with Pac-Man charm but the electronic music is kind of flat and not catchy at all. I wish it consisted of just Pac-Man remixes but it primarily contains generic tunes that you'd hear in almost any other modern arcade-style game. It's quite disappointing.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 features loads of content to master. After taking the tutorial, you can work through a collection of ten Score Attack stages complete with four difficulty settings each. Upon progressing about halfway through that mode, you'll unlock a huge adventure mode where you earn stars on tons of stages in order to unlock further stages. This mode alone can take hours to complete and getting all of the stars would be a feat fit for an arcade champion. Overall, there's much more content than you'd expect.
One step back that Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 takes is that confronting ghosts is a lot less intense this time around. In the first game, the camera zooms in and time slows down whenever you're near a ghost which added a layer of tension that made it all the more enjoyable to play. In this sequel, you can bump into ghosts and eventually anger them which takes a lot of the pressure away. My only other significant complaint is that the warp jumps in a lot of the stages can be extremely disorienting. Considering your eyes are mostly focused on what's ahead and not on Pac-Man himself, jumping from point A to point B has the potential to make you lose track of the little yellow dude from the corner of your eye. Unless you're super-careful, this will likely cause many accidental game-overs.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 mostly retains the spirit of the original while offering a ton of content and plenty of fresh gameplay mechanics. If you're a Pac-Man fan like me then give it a download. You won't be disappointed.
- + A fast-paced take on classic arcade gameplay that'll keep you hooked
- + New mechanics make it a worthy sequel
- + Loads of content to work through
- - Intensity from encountering ghosts in the first game is unfortunately absent
- - Music doesn't suit the retro arcade vibe
- - Jumps can cause confusion