Um, Happy Belated Birthday, Pac-Man! As I’ve been busy with some stuff here, I missed the big day for this classic arcade character. But my breakfast a few days back reminded me to check and yup, he’s a year older. Anyway, YES the photo is upside down because I just noticed that it looks as if that eggy-veggie thing I made has got an eye and eyebrow when it’s flipped that way. Okay, so I never said I was perfect. Well, at least ol’ Pac won’t come after me because I forgot to get him a card or bake a cake. He’s cool about that (or so I hear).
I think Pac-Man has appeared in nearly every game genre except for RPG, Strategy and Simulation, but with such a long history in gaming since 1980, I know I’ve yet to play every single game with the character in it. Namco has been keeping the character active over the past 33 years in a number of non-game projects and the latest is a fun kid’s CG animated 3D show on Disney DX called Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which also just so happens to be coming your way soon as a video game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Microsoft Windows. Some hands-on time reveals this one to be a light and really fun romp for the kids that’s actually worth a look if you’re a creaky old platform fanatic like I am…
As an old fogey, I can’t recall a year not going by since 1980 without playing a Pac-Man game. Granted, I’m sure a lot of other people can say that, but it’s pretty incredible that the dot-munching, ghost avoiding/chasing character has held up for over 30 years. Of course, next to the arcade classic, the best ways to play a good game of Pac-Man these days is by hopping online and getting in some quality time with the excellently addictive Pac-Man Championship Edition on the Xbox 360, which is finally getting a content upgrade soon in the form of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. The original game was an Xbox 360 exclusive, while DX made its Windows 8 debut earlier this year. Pac-fans old and new will LOVE this one for its spin on the classic game, the funky HD neon visuals and the lighting fast pace of the game that’s bound to keep you playing ’til the wee hours…
Well, that darned “ringer” Pac-Man machine with the funky joystick was ONE problem and bad enough for an old gaming salt like me to come up against, grrrr. But I’ll have to kick myself harder for being SO supremely lame at vib-ribbon when I have it here and used to play it quite a lot. Granted, it HAS been a few years since I picked up that PSOne import, but still… I think someone messed with the controller, as the card next to the exhibit was off a bit. Well, the good thing was everyone who played it had problems as well. I at least managed to make it to the end of the second area on one attempt… and of course, I wasn’t filming or being films when it happened… bleh.
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
# of Players: 1 – 4
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Score: B (80%)
As a launch title for the Wii U, Namco Bandai’s TANK! TANK! TANK! may not look like a system seller, but look past its colorful arcade visuals and initially simple gameplay and you’ll find a fast-paced (and 100% tank focused) party game shooter that owes more than a little credit to Sandlot’s always fun Earth Defense Force series of games. In fact, the game manages to play almost exactly like an arcade version of EDF would, streamlining the experience down to timed stages, random weapon pickups that you can use instantly and a mix of assorted enemies from giant robotic spiders and wasps to some pretty wild bosses that need to be taken down as quickly as possible. Granted, blowing monsters into scrap metal over and over is all you do here in the main game whether playing in solo or co-op, so those seeking something deeper should look elsewhere. On the other hand, given that this is a rather enhanced port of an arcade game that offers much more than the original version, you SHOULD expect and respect the repetitive nature of the game to the fullest by diving in and shooting up the scenery as much as possible.
That ten bucks off coupon you get for snapping up a SCV Collector’s Cup will no doubt move the game a bit more in some areas, but… Ha! There’s NO Carl’s Jr. ANYWHERE near me the last time I checked and (uh-oh) I don’t eat fast food burgers. Therefore, I’m completely immune to your charms, otherwise well-targeted TV ad! Oh well. I hear the game is pretty darn good despite some familiar characters being dropped in favor of newbies the newbies can relate to. Bad idea, Project Soul! he BEST thing to do would have been to add ALL the old fighters as well as a roster of new ones so everyone could be happy. Well, there’s always DLC and a reissue at some point if the game sells well enough. No Taki or Kilik (among others?) Yikes. Well, I guess I;ll be using that character creation to whip up facsimiles, then…
Graffiti isn’t a crime EVERYWHERE in the free world and it’s good to see it used to promote what’s looking like a pretty cool game. Of course, London gets a lot of other cool stuff we don’t here in the states, but I’m not Anthony Bourdain and this isn’t the Travel Channel, so you’ll have to get over there and see for yourself at some point. Anyway, enjoy the video and make sure to check out SoulCalibur V when it hits stores tomorrow (or February 3, if you happen to be in the UK or Europe).
Here’s another look at SoulCalibur V in action, this time featuring Algol and Edgemaster plus Soul of Devil Jin, a custom character cooked using the beefy edit function. I can;t wait to see how many other new fighters the game’s user base whips up, as the possibilities are endless and the game looks to be one of those that gets played to death for the next few years online as well as off. SoulCalibur V arrives in the US on January 31 and in Europe on February 3.