Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Review

By Dana Vinson - Posted Dec 10, 2010

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is a breath of fresh air...if you consider fresh air to be a highly addictive revamp of an arcade classic which is so fun, you'll never want to leave your house or do anything besides eat ghosts again.

The Pros
  • Incredibly Addictive Gameplay
  • Ghost Combo Mode is Extremely Satisfying
  • Leaderboards Are a Great Incentive To Play Again and Again
  • Great Visuals and Exciting Mazes
The Cons
  • Your Thumbs Will Be Sore

I have a confession to make: I'm too young to have any special affinity for Pac-Man. I just missed it. That doesn't mean that I fail to grasp the little yellow overeater's contribution to gaming history, it just means that I don't have any fond memories of playing Pac-Man from when I was growing up.

Now that you know the state of affairs, you'll understand why when Pac-Man Championship Edition DX was released, my reaction was "meh." At least, that was my reaction until I picked up the controller and played it. I am woman enough to admit when I'm wrong, and I was wrong to be lukewarm about Pac-Man DX. The game is so good, that now I want to name my future children Pac-Man1, Pac-Man2 and Pac-Man3.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Some of the Other Hitler Youth

Championship Edition DX features nine different mazes, each with a different look and feel. All the mazes are customizable with different colors, unique Pac-Man looks, and music. While mastering a course is challenging enough, Championship Edition DX offers three different modes on all the courses: Score Attack, Time Attack and Ghost Combo. There's also a Free mode for all the courses where you can practice your smooth moves.

By offering different modes, DX offers a lot of replayability and none of it feels repetitive. In Score Attack, you have 5 minute and 10 minute options where you simply try to score as many points as you possibly can in the allotted time. With Time Attack, you're given a series of goals, e.g., eat 8 pieces of fruit in under a minute, but don't think you're done once you post a score: the game instantly prompts you to try and beat your personal best.

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Always Be Eating Ghosts

While Score and Time Attack are viciously addictive forms of gameplay and showcases arcade-style game design at its very best, Ghost Combo is undoubtedly the most satisfying mode.

During your frantic journey around the different mazes, you'll pass by blissfully slumbering ghosts. Awakened by your waka-wakaing, these ghosts will become agitated (kind of like you would be if someone was eating potato chips in your ear while you were sleeping) and start to follow you, forming a ghost chain. The ghost chain will never catch you, unless you take an ill-planned turn on a corner and you run into them, they will simply follow you around until you're ready to feast.

When Pac-Man eats a power pill, the ghost chain will turn blue and you score mega-super points for turning around and consuming them in one big gulp. Of course, you can only eat ghosts while you're under the effect of the power pill; however, some of the ghosts have more power ups embedded in them, so you can continue your Kobayashi-esque reign of eating terror.

You get points for eating ghosts in all the modes, but in Ghost Combo, you're trying to gobble as many as you can. Your score is solely based on how many ghosts you eat in a row. Occasionally, many ghosts will appear clumped together as part of the maze and the trick is to get a good chain going, wait until one of those clumps appears and then eat them all. EAT THEM ALL!

The sound effects, the points you're earning flying across the screen and the slight rumble of the controller come together for one big adrenaline rush. It's weird. You wouldn't think something like eating ghosts in a Pac-Man game would be so intensely enjoyable, but it's so well done. All you want to do is eat the ghosts and when you do it's seriously great. You will be alone in your living room, eyes like saucers, screaming, "I AM A GOD!"

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

It's the Bomb

Maneuvering the mazes can be challenging as your Pac-Man speeds up the better you do, until you're trying to turn corners at seizure-inducing speeds; however, DX helps you out by giving you two mechanics: sparking and bombs.

If a rogue ghost gets too close you, threatening your precious life, the game will go into slow motion, allowing you to do some evasive maneuvers. Your Pac-Man will spark as you try desperately to escape, but at least having the ability to spark gives you the chance to wiggle out of tight corners without losing a life.

There are times where even sparking can't help you, such as times when you're caught between a rogue ghost and your ghost chain. For these tragic times, you're giving a limited number of bombs in each round. Unleashing the bomb will send all the ghosts, including the ones in your ghost chain, back to the hideout. You'll be save once again to continue your run of dominance, but be careful to not run head-on into your ghost chain when they come out of the hideout.

Pac-Man: Where Friends Become Mortal Enemies!

While the traditional arcade offers the chance to put your initials in for eternal glory, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX plasters your scores and the scores of your online friends all over the freaking' place. You can't play a round without seeing how you stack up against other people and, for competitive gamers like myself, this is reason enough to play again and again and again...and again.

The number of leaderboards is a little staggering, because they're broken down for each course and every mode, but you won't want to stop until you're at the top of all of them. That's going to involve playing a lot unless you're some sort of Pac-Man savant (and if you are, call me! We can talk about Pac-Man a lot.), but it never gets any less fun.

xXsTeVeJoHnSoNsMomXx ate 94 ghosts and I only ate 93? F*#K that! I don't care if it 2am and I have to be up at 7am to fly a fighter jet over a children's playground; I am playing until I eat at least 95 ghosts. The leaderboards present a lot of opportunity for resentment and s&%t talking between friends, which, let's be honest, is a great incentive.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

A Buffet of Ghosts and Awesome

I don't know why you're still reading this review. You should be downloading Pac-Man Championship Edition DX right now. It's an amazing and wonderful game that doesn't involve guns or blowing up Taliban or spaceships. It's simple, yet the mastery with which it was made will restore your faith in humanity and deprive you of what little sleep you may have had the chance to get.