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Pac-Panic Reviewed by Tom Lenting on . Rating: 57%
Pac-Panic Pac-Panic
  • Review Score:

  • C+
The CD-i has a strange collection of games. Some games are not playable in any way, but merely seem to exist to show the machine's graphical abilities (Rise of the Robots, Myst and any FMV-"game" springs to mind). Other games feature average 2D-shooters, screwed up Nintendo franchise or electronic board games nobody asked for (and nobody played).

If the game doesn't fit in any of the categories mentioned above, it will probably be a port of some sort of forgettable puzzle game. Pac-Panic proves this point. Though it wasn't bad, the game neither made much of an impact when it was released as Pac-Attack for the Genesis and Super Nintendo.

In first instance you would think a combination of classic games like Pac-Man and Tetris has potential. But alas, Pac-Panic is just an average Tetris-clone. The bricks consist out of, well, brick, ghosts or a Pac-Man. The idea is to line the ghosts up in such a way that Pac-Man can eat them from the above. If ghosts have been cleared away, bricks which were lying on top of them drop down, and create new horizontal lines (if you're lucky). If you're in normal mode and Pac eats enough ghosts a fairy will appear, which magically lets all the ghosts that were left over disappear. It is also possible to play a 100-level puzzle mode and to play the game with two-players.

Pac-Panic looks alright, with bright and colorful graphics. I especially like the classic look of the ghosts. The audio is suitable for the game, but not outstanding in any way.

The gameplay of Pac-Panic doesn't come near the quality of the original Tetris or of the original clones like Puyo Puyo or Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. That's mainly because the player in Pac-Panic is more dependent from luck than strategy. Half the time it is a guess which way Pac will eat his ghosts. Because he is unpredictable, the game isn't very long-lived. It isn't really possible to work out extensive tactics. Furthermore, it just isn't very satisfying to play since lining up ghosts has no point until a Pac-Man comes along. Often he comes too late, and your collected ghosts become even harder to clear away.

Though the control is excellent, the game also has that kind of layer of slowness upon it which seems to bother many titles in the CD-i library. I also couldn't appreciate the options menu's which have symbols of Pac-Man having different emotions instead of plain English text. However fancy the idea, if it leads to consulting the manual to know what you are doing it can't be a good thing.

Overall, you can do lot worse for CD-i than Pac-Panic. But that an average Tetris clone stands out as one of the few decent games for the system, makes clear why the CD-i never had any chance to succeed.
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