Welcome to another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games! Join Cyril every Friday as he reviews the best (and worst) retro releases for the week.
It's a slow week on the Virtual Console. This week's only new game is the questionable port of Pac-Man for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Is this the best Pac-Man game on the Nintendo 3DS? We'll answer that and more in this week's episode of This Week in Defunct Games. And stick around for a very special video that compares the various Pac-Man games!
[ Release: November 29 | Price: $4.99 Points | Console: NES | Year: 1993 ]
What Is It?
It sure did take Namco a long time to port Pac-Man to the Nintendo Entertainment System. First released in Japan in 1984, this early generation Famicom game didn't come to the U.S. until almost a decade later. This version of Pac-Man came out a full eight years into the life cycle of the 8-bit NES and two years after the Super NES launch. Needless to say, it came late. (For more information on the storied history of the NES ports, make sure and watch the video below.)
The good news is that this is a competent port of an arcade classic. This has everything you expect from a Pac-Man game, including a never-ending series of mazes, ghosts and those familiar neon walls. The goal is to eat as many dots as you can before the otherworldly spirits chase Pac into a corner. Pick up fruit along the way for extra points, or simply gobble the ghosts with the mighty power pellet. Don't expect any new levels, music or upgraded graphics, this is the bare bones cartridge Namco first released in 1984.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The gameplay is good, though the turning isn't as forgiving as I would have liked. After spending the last few years with Championship Edition, it's awfully hard to go back to the original Pac-Man. My personal preferences aside, this port looks and feels a lot like the arcade classic. There are a few flicker issues that seem out of place for a Nintendo Entertainment System game released in 1993, but it doesn't ruin the experience.
Is It Worth The Money?
We're a year into the 3DS Virtual Console's existence and already we have two Pac-Man options. If you really need your ghost goblin fix, then this NES port is the way to go. The previously released Game Boy port (which I scored a STOP) is total garbage that isn't worth your money. It may be tiny, but at least I can finally see the full maze. The real problem is that we now have two Pac-Man options and Ms. Pac-Man is nowhere to be seen. Somebody needs to fix that immediately.
Pac-Man: Namco vs. Tengen Comparison
How many more Virtual Console games will we see in 2012? Nintendo has already promised Ninja Gaiden, Wario Land II and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels for the Nintendo 3DS. And let's not forget that Sega announced Sonic Blast and Sonic Labyrinth for this year. Will any of these games show up next week? Will Nintendo release more than 22 games for the Wii Virtual Console? Will Earthbound show up before year's end? These questions and more will be answered next Friday when you tune in for another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games!