If a psychedelic rave ever had a forbidden love child with the video game classic Pac-Man, I think Pac-Man Championship Edition DX would be the result, minus the LSD. From the second you press start, the bombastic bass bellows from your speakers inducing a trance that foreshadows you future feelings to this game. It’ll strap you down, make sweet love to your senses, and you’ll love every second of it.
Pac-Man needs no introduction. Ghosts need busting, pellets need eating, and the yellow circle man is the prime choice for this problem. Although things are different here. This time Pac-Man is on the offensive, even being outfitted with an array of screen-clearing bombs. Cowering and running from the ghosts is a tactic best left in the 1980s, as you now have the power to run trains on the once pesky ghouls. Your perverted mind jumped to a completely different topic when you read something about “running a train,” but it seems like the perfect description. You travel through the many visually pleasing mazes but this time, you must awaken the ghosts and have them follow you to their imminent doom. After a minute or two, you end up having a complete trail of a couple dozen tasty ghosts and all you need is the sacred power pellet. Once the power pellet is consumed, the line of phantoms might as well be a line of cheeseburgers. Flipping 180 degrees lets you gobble up every last ghost with an immensely satisfying sound along with your score shooting through the roof. I got giddy every single time this happened because the visual and audio feedback loops are extremely satisfying as the jarring ding noises and stop motion are great effects.
Championship Edition DX has a couple different modes deriving from the same core of eating your daily caloric intake of phantasmal energy, but what really grabs your attention is the fantastic tunes. I mentioned the infectious opening track, but that is just scratching the surface of groovy music. Level after level has something new to listen to and you won’t be disappointed as you will be bobbing your head consistently. The songs even ramp up to match the tension of having only one minute left to topple your score, which is small, effective detail. I seriously lost track of my ghost train sometimes because I was too busy focusing on the music pumping out of my surround sound. I said this with VVVVVV as well, but chalk this one up for memorable and funky video game soundtracks.
If leaderboards (or scoreboards in the PS3 version) are your thing, Championship Edition DX has you covered. Taking it a bit further than run-of-the-mill leaderboards, a personal scoring system like the auto-log in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, has been set in place. Always showing you what your friends are doing is an odd incentive to push you to do better. Just one more game to beat Josh’s 1,243,942 score in Championship II. I can do it. Just one more try. It taps that personal competitive feeling because, let’s face it, you’re probably not gonna be gunning for the top spot in any leaderboards, so why not start with people you actually know?
I don’t often get attached to arcade or downloadable games but this new updated Pac-Man has me hooked. Coming in at only $10, it’s the perfect arcade to be played in bursts but still retains the enslaving pull to play off and on. The simple game play that matches the hypnotic music that will be stuck in your head shows that Pac-Man never really left, he just needed a fresh coat of paint.
+Music is awesome
+Offensive Pac-Man is fun Pac-Man
+Personal leaderboards gives reasonable goals
+Lot of different stages with a few modes
+$10 for a good amount of content
-D-pad can occasionally can cause missed turns
Final Score: 9/10