The DEFINITIVE home version of the arcade classic!
Gobble your way through the maze of Pac-Land, chomping on dots and avoiding the four hungry monsters, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. But if you can manage to eat an energizer, turn the tables on those monsters by feasting on them for bonus points!
Dennis Debro sought to create an adaptation of Pac-Man more faithful than Atari's 1982 version for the VCS. Utilizing the same 4K memory limit as the original, Dennis' game is a feat of programming that finally brings Pac-Man to the Atari 2600 as it was intended.
Improvements over Atari's Pac-Man
- Original, arcade maze layout
- Proper "siren" sound that changes pitch
- Monsters are proper colors
- Maze is correct colors
- Pac-Man and Ghost graphics much truer to arcade
- Monster behavior modeled after arcade
- Bonus items true to arcade
- Feels like Pac-Man!
Includes cartridge and full-color, four-page manual. Available in NTSC, PAL50, and PAL60 television formats, please select above.
|Number of Players||1|
|Cartridge Size||4K (hence the name!)|
|Game Graphics||Stefan Haddewig|
|Label, Manual Design||Tim Lapetino|
Ghosts go to their proper corners.
Pac-Man slows down while eating dots.
Ghosts slow down in tunnel.
Ghosts reverse direction when energizer is eaten.
Ghosts always travel west when coming out of the pen.
"Safe zones" are in tact. (Areas where ghosts can't travel south to north unless they are blue.)
Prize appears after eating so many dots. (Not timed.)
Accurate maze , ghost colors, prizes. (Atari Age logo instead of Galaxian...nice touch!)
Ghosts seem to even reverse direction at times to try and get to home corners briefly.
Every detail I can think of, Dennis got right! I can't praise him enough for such attention to detail.
Only bug I found in the game happened to me only twice... When eating the last dot in the maze, Pac-Man continued to glide across the screen until he hit a wall... Then the next level started like normal, so really no problem at all.
The game speeds up quite quickly (which I like actually...keeps you on your toes!) I've only made it to the second grapes so far... very challenging!
Rid yourself of that awful original Pac-Man abomination on the 2600 and buy Pac-Man 4K instead. You will be in awe when you see how well Pac-Man can be done on the 2600!
Pacman 4k, is simply put, the best version of Pacman ever ported to the Atari 2600. It may not look exactly like the original, and may have a squashed aspect ratio, but by golly it has the same blue walls and white pellets, same overall shapes (all of the little "T" pieces from the original are there) and this time authentic sound effects. Lastly, the brilliant homebrew authors that have worked on this game have managed to cram this wonderful piece of arcade nostalgia into the same 4K-bytes of ROM that the craptastic original port did. Play the original side by side with the homebrew. There is no comparison.
Overall this game holds up quite nicely to the arcade version. It's certainly faster and more frantic than the NES port for sure. Due to the extreme aspect ratios of the pellets, there are physics differences, most notably Pacman consumes pellets faster in the vertical direction than horizontal. Whether it can be used as strategy for evading ghosts, I'm not entirely sure, but it certainly feels right. Even the dreaded "Cruise Elroy" mode is back where you've eliminated most of the pellets and Blinky switches into hot pursuit mode. Best to gain ground using the tunnels because you cannot outrun him when he's like this. There are also special areas where the ghosts cannot follow you like above the ghost chamber, just like in the original maze. Use these areas to your advantage to escape the wrath of Blinky Pacman and ghosts are all correct colors and flicker at 20 hertz. This isn't as bad as it sounds because unlike the original 2600 port, everything is the correct color and the ghosts, Pacman, and fruit (real fruit sprites, from cherry all the way to the blue key; no lamo square "vitamans") are all over a black background. The entire maze is solid and flicker free so no worries of eye fatigue.
There are a couple of minor glitches I've discovered, most notably on occasion if you collide with both the ghost (blue or not) and the fruit at the same time, the collision detection will fail and the fruit, ghost, or Pacman may escape unscathed. Honestly though, the original arcade had a similar issue where collision detection between Pacman and ghost would occasionally fail, and besides it's not frequent or game breaking when it occurs. One caveat of the 4k ROM is that no intermissions were added. There was originally some effort to add intermissions and even expand it to 8k with a proper title screen, but little work has been done in this regard. Anyone holding off on this game expecting an update will be missing out on one of the best Pacman experiences currently available on the VCS.
Overall, 5/5 joysticks. Huge improvement over Pacman Arcade... :)
P.S. I put my original Pac Man game out of misery... took it outside and shot the cartridge with a BB gun.
THIS is what we should have had way back when...
Can't stop playing it!
This redeems the game for me. It's more fun. And read the story in the manual - it's worth it to read what the programmer had to do to get this to work.
And for Mark's question above - I'm not sure which is "closer" to the arcade port, but I prefer this.
Pac-Man 4K only cost me $30.00, and it looks, sounds and plays like the Pac-Man that I dreampt of(every second of every day), when Atari announced the games development and pending release in 1982.
The entire Family, including my visiting mother and a neighbor kid ended up gathered around the T.V. begging to play next, whilst screaming their heads off during the action! It was reminiscent of a corny, early 80's Atari T.V. commercial. This was not planned - it just happened.
I do offer one recommendation for the programmer, if this game is ever upgraded. Build the speed of the game a little more slowly. The pace starts out at what I consider a moderate speed. On the second board the speed cranks up to "full tilt boogie"! I like a challenging game, but the rate of speed change is almost a turn-off. This is a minor observation although. I, without hesitation, rate this game a 5 out of 5, and recommend it highly!
Thank you for Dennis Debro for the joy and closure you have given me!!!!