by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
It might be revealing my age somewhat but I remember the arcade versions and the Atari 2600 versions of Pac-Man. It was an incredibly addictive game that was just too difficult to put down. Pac-Man himself was perhaps the first video game character I can remember, even predating Mario and Sonic by quite a few years. Of course you don't need to be an old timer to appreciate the game. The chances are if you played Pac-Man for the first time today you still appreciate it's simplicity as well as it's challenging difficulty. Pac-Man World 2 takes the basic concept of Pac-Man and incorporates it into a 3D platform game. Just for us old timers, they've even included the classic arcade versions too.
The story of the game goes something like this. Pac-Land has a sacred tree that has five golden fruit. As long as the tree is undisturbed the people of Pac-Land are safe. However the peace is soon to be shattered. One night the ghosts sneak into Pac-Land and take the fruit from the tree. Before they can say boo, the evil Spooky is released from his imprisonment underneath the tree. Spooky orders the frightened ghosts to hide the five fruit. Spooky knows that without the golden fruit, the people of Pac-Land are helpless against him and the ghosts. It's up to Pac-Man to come to the rescue.
Of course with the game being a 3D platformer, our Pac-Man needs some new abilities (besides being able to munch) and the developers saw fit to give him a fine collection of new moves. Pac-Man can now butt-bounce, rev-roll (which is a kind of Sonic-like speed power up), swim and even acquire a metal power-up that is especially useful for acquiring items under water. Of course he can still acquire power-pellets and of course when he does it's lookout time for the ghosts as they turn blue, indicating that Pac-Man can once again devour them.
The 3D levels in the game have been nicely done with and a very distinctive Pac-Man feel has been retained in these levels. The one flaw with the 3D platforming levels is the old problem, the camera. For the most part the camera is OK and you can adjust it manually using the right analogue stick. However there are times where you can't adjust it, a crossed out camera icon appears on the screen to indicate this, and occasionally your view is a perilous one as a result of this. The camera is the Achilles heel of the game. It's not a major problem but there are times where it will frustrate you.
One of the most endearing features of Pac-Man World 2 is the ability to unlock the original Pac-Man arcade games. Throughout the levels you'll have the opportunity to collect tokens which are then used to unlock the games in the arcade in Pac-Man's village. The games on offer include the original Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, and Pac-Attack. All of the games are faithful recreations of the arcade originals. It's really been great to play the original Pac-Man after all these years and for any Pac-Man fan the game is worth the asking price simply for the inclusion of these old classics.
Graphically the game looks colourful and inviting. Whilst the graphics hardly push the capabilities of the PlayStation 2 they do the job admirably with the look and feel of the game being in keeping with the spirit of the Pac-Man games. Throughout the game you'll come across 3D maze games, which play like Pac-Man in 3D and provide a good diversion from jumping around. The game supports widescreen televisions with the 16:9 ratio which is always good to see. The only problem with the 16:9 ratio though is that it does not stretch out the arcade versions of the early Pac-Man games.
The game isn't fully subtitled but whilst this isn't great news for deaf gamers there isn't really much of an obstacle to enjoying the game. The introduction and cutscenes are not subtitled but the games tutorial messages are. What this means of course is that you'll miss elements of the story but be fully aware of how to play the game. If you are a fan of Pac-Man games, I would still recommend the game to deaf gamers because the story telling cutscenes are of little consequence anyway, especially when you consider the brilliant original Pac-Man games that have been included.
Pac-Man World 2 is a game no self respecting Pac-Man fan should be without. The 3D platformer part of the game will probably take a little over 12 hours to fully complete but while that doesn't seem overly impressive you have to take into consideration that you will also gain the brilliant original Pac-Man games which can be unlocked. It's also great to see that the original Pac-Man game only requires 10 tokens, which only take around 30 minutes of play to amass, so you'll soon be able to play the brilliant original.
Game Rating: 8.0/10