PS2 REVIEW: PACMAN WORLD 3

Pac is back. But who the heck invited him? by Cole Smith

February 14, 2006 - I didn't know that the world really needed another Pac-Man World game. I enjoyed the first 3D platformer and was mildly amused at the sequel but the third installment of Pac-Man World is starting to get on my nerves.

I love Pac-Man as much as the next gamer but these old, tired platformers are really dragging the little guy down. It's like watching some caged circus animal forced to perform his daily routine for a cruel and mindless audience. Free this chewy yellow man from his platforming hell and let him explore a new genre from here on in.

As a platformer this isn't a terrible game but we've already experienced most of these elements in the last two games. Have we not jumped on enough trampolines? Have we not performed enough butt bounces and munched enough pellets? To those of you that have not had enough of this activity I give you my apologies before I call you an old-fashioned geezer gamer.

Pac-Man 3 is fine as a rental and you certainly can't complain if someone gets it for you as a present - although you might be able to exchange it for a much better game.

It's the little guy's 25th birthday and he's headed home to Pac-Land to celebrate. Before he gets there he's accidentally sucked into a mysterious vortex and transported to the strange dimension haunted by the ghosts. Known as Spectral World, it's a surreal world that Pac-Man has to fight his way out of. It's filled with strange and wondrous levels in addition to a host of dangers including killer robots, conveyer belts with fire blasters, rickety platforms and other environmental hazards.

Pac-Man's abilities include punching, jumping, climbing, rolling and gobbling. Along the way he will encounter power pellets that give him new abilities such as a form of bullet time, the power to shoot electricity from his hands and an ability to harness the powers of the ghosts. In this game, Pac-Man, who is also fully voiced, finally makes peace with a couple of his ghost nemesis, Blinky and Clyde. It's a nice touch and shows some imagination although the entire focus of this game appears to be aimed at kids and generally inexperienced gamers.

The game isn't without its share of mechanical problems either. The camera isn't always with you, causing some disorientation. The framerate is inconsistent and the graphics suffer from low resolution and blurry textures. It's not an impressive sight for a next-gen console that has long reached its peak. At least the main characters look good and Pac-Man is very easy to control. It's not that the game is forgiving with leaps and bounds but it affords you the opportunity to make those jumps with no interference. The music and voiceovers support the game well but as large as some of the levels are, so too is the sound eerily silent in parts. There are huge gaps in the ambient music, as though someone forgot to add it before it went into production. It's that obvious.

Lack of replay value relegates this game to a rental. There are lots of things to unlock such as Museum which features the original Pac-Man game as well as an interview with Pac-Man creator, Toru Iwtani. It's better than nothing, but it's still nothing to get excited about.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
Pac-Man World 3 (PS2)
3.8
Graphics
A tad on the generic side...but it is Pac-Man we're talking about. He looks good at least but some environments are a little "meh".
4.0
Control
Good control but the game mechanics aren't exactly innovative and new Camera view is an issue.;.
2.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Pac is given the power of speech, but that doesn't mean he should use it. Generic tunes abound.
3.0
Play Value
Not a lot to do once you've beaten it, but their is a fair bit of Pac-meat on the bones.
3.3
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
Preview by Vaughn Smith

Everyone deserves a second chance; even videogame characters. Pac-Man, who worked his way into gamers hearts 25 years ago is still going strong, especially after Namco reinvented the character and placed him and his wacky world of colorful chaos into a 3D platforming adventure.

Pac-Man World 3 is set to return Pac into his most dangerous adventure yet. In a mad search for power, evil genius Erwin creates a machine that can penetrate into the world of the Ghosts...the Spectral Realm! But now the Spectral Realm is collapsing into the real world, and this will bring about a massive catastrophe that will plunge the world into a state of devastation for years to come! Not unlike the Bush Administration. Oops, I did it again. I really have to let go of the political wisecracks.

Although some gamers are under the impression that Pac-Man is all used up and old school, I have a 6 year old at home that would completely disagree with you. He loves Pac-Man - old, new, revamped, retooled - it doesn't matter. Yeah, I know. He's a 6 year old so what does he know? Well for starters, I have a feeling he can kick your weakgaming ass. The kid is some sort of a freak. I only wish he could write, because as near as I can tell, he can play most of these games better than anyone I know and that includes all of the guys and girls who work for this website....and that's a scary thought. Of course, since he's young, he doesn't play any violent games at all, so you could take him in a Halo 2 shootout to regain your rep. When I showed him the screens for Pac-Man World 3 you'd think I just gave him a birthday present. He's really digging it and can't wait for it to show up. He's also a huge Klonoa and Katamari fan (and I let him play Link in Soul Calibur 2). The kid is quite the Namco fanatic. Hey, he knows quality, what can I say?

Pac-Man World 3 looks like it has all of the bases covered. Cool new moves like wall jumps, poleswings, fence climbing and even punching. Pac will also have an wicked arsenal of powerups such as the Power Ribbon, Time Decelerator (perhaps like bullet time), Chrome Power, Super Butt Bounce and Electro Charge. You can even supercharge these by collecting special fruits. Namco is also letting you control the ghosts for the first time in 3D and as an added bonus, the original 1980 arcade will be included in celebrations of Pac's 25th anniversary, but come on, how many of you don't already own a copy of Namco Museum?

Features:

  • New story Puts Pan-Man into a strange new world, Leading him into the mysterios Spectral Realm.
  • Control the Ghosts - Special feature now allows players to play as Pinky and Clyde.
  • Store an arsenal of power-ups like the Power Ribbon, Time Decelerator, Electro-Charge, Chrome Power, and Super butt Bounce...and super-charge them by collecting special fruits!
  • Get transported into classic 2D and 3D Pac-Man mazes to compete for bonuses.
  • New Pac-Man Moves - Now you con climb fences, jump up walls, swing around poles and punch enemies!
  • Includes the original Pac-Man arcade game from 1980
Click For Media
System: Xbox, PS2, GC, PC
Dev: Blitz
Pub: Namco
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best