Before the big splash of Saturday morning cartoon characters based on videogames hit the air (like Mario and Captain N), there was Pac-Land. Pac-Land was the very first videogame turned cartoon character, created by none other than William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The ratings for this show failed, but not before it inspired its own game, a first in a videogame-turned-cartoon-videogame.
This coin-op adventure was successfully ported to the Atari Lynx, flaw by flaw. The game, despite its cartoon look and feel is quite responsive ... and challenging. It will require some good timing and patience to get past some of the baddies in this game. Speaking of bad guys, these are one for the record books. Not only do the enemies leaflet drop smaller enemies, and perform drive-bys, they also ride in on pogo-sticks.
Gone are the mazes, welcome an entire layered 2D world where you must jump over, under and around your enemies, and reaching for pick-ups that randomly appear. Pac-man can continue his odd fruit only diet, which picking up power pills that turn him into a ghost eating freak. The obstacles in this game are also very difficult. Having make you way around quicksand, over floating bridges, and springing over very large bodies of water; apparently Pac-Man can't swim either ... a trend that just seems to permeate through video games no matter what the genre.
For some reason, you are either controlled by a fairy, or you keep one under your Robin Hood hat. Either way, when you come to a "Break Area" the fairy gets out and has some fresh air, then quickly gets back under the cap. The story isn't all that great, so I'm not quite sure what you are doing, but you do it for 20 levels, through cities, canyons, deserts and forests. Some areas are actually blocking the actual character from view, behind a layer of trees and the like.
The story line as I understand it is about taking one of five trips, to deliver the fairy to where ever. Pac-Land is pretty much just running and jumping, nothing too special or over complicated. One thing that is nice is that the ghosts are random, making it difficult to devise a plan of action to take each time you play the same level. Being that you wanted to play the level over again, it would only take you a very short time to do so, making this game very short and limited in replay.
Being that this is the first Pac-Man game to ever break the very successful dot-eating-pizza-parlor formula, I have to give it credit, but not too much. Where this game makes up in innovativeness, it fails in everything else. The sound is horrible, and only loops one song taken straight from the TV show. The story is pretty bad as well, being that many other platformers up to this point had already shown what a good 2D story could be like ... I'm looking at you Mario.