Pac-Man XBL Arcade Review / Preview for Xbox 360 (X360)

Pac-Man XBL Arcade Review / Preview for Xbox 360 (X360)

My advice? Just Waukaway from this one.

Wauka-wauka-wauka-wauka. Such an infectious sound for gamers in the days of booming arcades filled wall-to-wall with classic arcade titles. Pac-man stood head-and-shoulders above the rest, a king of the early videogame world. It’s even been used as pop-culture references in shows like Family Guy. All of the prestige that this title has gained throughout the years only makes this port to the Xbox Live Arcade all the more sour. Terrible controls and an utter lack of effort to add content not only make this the worst port in the Xbox Live Arcade, but also the worst port onto a console title in recent memory.

Pac-Man XBL screenshot

Everyone knows what Pac-Man is all about. The little yellow circle thing glides across the stage eating little white pellets while avoiding the ghosts trying to kill him. If he swallows a big flashing power pellet, he turns the ghosts blue and can devour them for bonus points. If none of this sounds familiar, then please download this game on Xbox Live for a history lesson. Also, consider yourself the worst gamer ever for not knowing a classic.

Those that haven’t lived in a Tibetan mountain or a mountain cave the past thirty years and know exactly what Pac-man is all about will be completely disappointed with Pac-Man on Xbox Arcade. Much like it did with Galaga a couple weeks back, Namco has given us zero additional content. The game we can download and play in the year 2006 on our next-gen Xbox is the exact same game that was in the arcades when it came to America in 1980. Instead of offering just a tad more by adding an “arranged” version alongside the original like in some of the Namco-Collection cabinets, we are restricted to only the original with nothing else.

Pac-Man XBL screenshot

This worked alright for Galaga, but Pac-Man exhibits control issues that I don’t remember being as bad on other console compilations. The Xbox 360 D-pad, for whatever reason, is completely inept for controlling on-screen movements. Making turns late or even in the wrong direction were frequent problems on the D-pad, but the analog stick fared no better. In order to play this game with any accuracy, players will have to prepare for every single turn in advance and jam the analog stick in the correct direction. Sudden turns or turn-arounds are nearly impossible to do accurately, which makes getting past the first half-dozen levels or so quite a task.

Namco is really disappointing me with their Live Arcade releases. Galaga sans additional material was bad enough, but Pac-Man with wonky controls is a crime. Any of the other countless ports of Pac-man to console in Arcade Compilations will serve the Pac-fan just fine. Getting this version is simply not worth the five bucks. Namco should be made to promise something extra for its fans for any future Xbox Live Arcade releases, because they have done a pretty poor job with an industry classic.

Pac-Man XBL screenshot

Rating out of 5 Rating Description


Dots, ghosts, Pac-Man. Again, the static bordering does nothing for the experience


These wonky controls should be a crime. Street Fighter II: HF looks like a technical knock-out by comparison.


Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It’s just the same as it was 26 years ago.


Play Value
Clearing the levels now would be as addictive and entertaining as before, but it’s impossible to get past the controls. I wish I could get my 400 Microsoft points back.


Overall Rating Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
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