Baby Pac-Man Arrives on the 7800!
Baby Pac-Man is the first complete home port of the 1982 Bally / Midway Video and Pinball hybrid game. While there have been may hacks to existing Pac-Man games to include the mazes from this game, there was never an actual home port with the more aggressive AI for the monsters, pinball section (on screen), or the new rules for energizers / tunnel speed.
You must guide Baby Pac-Man through the multiple mazes, and avoid the most aggressive (downright nasty) monsters that ever existed in a Pac-Man game. Drop off the bottom of the maze to the pinball section, and you can earn energizers (you don't start with any), speed through the side tunnels to quickly outrun the monsters, and to advance the fruit level.
You can also earn an 'extra life' through the pinball section by lighting all of the middle arrows.
You have the added option of playing the pinball section only, the video section only, or the entire game as it existed in the arcades. There is also the option of using the more 'classic' monster AI (including no 'quick reversals') for slightly easier game play. It's the best of both worlds!
Baby Pac-Man includes several options to customize the game and keep it fresh as you master the maze and pinball portions of the game!
- One or Two Players
- Number of Lives: 2 - 5 (default is 3)
- Energizers: You can decide whether to keep the energizers after a player dies. Default is 'Yes'.
- Game Mode: Full game, Maze only or Pinball only.
- Monster AI: 'Arcade' (monsters behave as they do in the Baby Pac-Man arcade game) or 'Classic' (monsters behavior is modeled after other classic Pac-Man games)
Baby Pac-Man includes game cartridge, full-color, 8-page manual, and professionally printed box.
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Additional Programming||Kurt Woloch|
|Box, Manual and Label Designs and Artwork||John Calcano (Atariboy2600)|
The game is tough as nails, but to help combat the arcade ghost AI, at least you have the option of choosing classic behavior - which is much more forgiving.
The pinball portion of the game is a blast and even incorporates the ability to "shake" the playfield. Controls with a standard CX-40 style joystick are familiar and even though you get discrete flipper buttons using a gamepad, I'll always prefer a joystick for maze games.
If you like a challenging game with a little Pac-Man and pinball thrown in, I wholeheartedly recommend adding this game to your 7800 collection today!
I've had the pleasure of playing the arcade version of Baby Pac-Man a few times, and I've long been intrigued by it. I had tentative plans to produce an Atari 5200 version, but Bob beat me to the punch and produced this fantastic home port. I can honestly say that I've spent more time with this game than any other homebrew title I've purchased. This game has as intense "one more game" quality to it that I just can't resist. Part of its charm is the fact that it even exists, since I don't think anybody was really expecting a home port of this game.
The maze portion of the game is ugly, but so was the arcade version, so I can't fault it for that. The ghost AI is tenacious, but with practice you'll learn to handle it. This game forces you to play Pac-Man in ways that you haven't before. You'll also notice over time how truly devious the maze design is.
The pinball section is very well done. I've seen a few odd ball behaviors from time to time, but nothing game breaking. The pinball table will truly make-or-break your game in the maze. The bonuses you earn here are essential, particularly the tunnel speed-up. I thought this bonus sounded dumb and useless at first, but it's actually tremendously useful. Every power-pill you earn is precious, and the decision to use them in the maze is a fascinating one, since they can be saved for the next maze. The pinball game should not be viewed as a sideshow, it's a critical piece of the game and is just as important as the maze.
To sum up, this game is easily the crown-jewel of my Atari 7800 collection. I love everything about it, and can't recommend it enough. It's a shame it took until 2019 for this title to finally make it home.