Ms. Pac-Man (Nintendo Game Boy)

Even when miniaturized on a Game Boy screen, Ms. Pac-Man still delivers the goods. If you a Pac-Man fan, it’s a great game to take wherever you go, just in case you have a few idle minutes you need to fill with some video game goodness.

Though the Pac-Man series of games fell from grace as the ’80s progressed, as newer and more complicated games were released for more sophisticated hardware, that did not prevent the games from being ported. Gamers like me scoffed at the various Pac-Man games arriving on the later 8-bit and 16-bit systems. If I could choose between Mario and Pac-Man, why would I choose the latter? Pac-Man was passé.

I probably maintained this view throughout much of my youth. I didn’t have the time nor the money to waste on such simple, outdated games. Pac-Man was for guys who were still programming in BASIC on their Apple IIes while Monty Python played in the background on their Betamaxes. Pac-Man had no place in my late ’80s/early ’90s game world. This is why when I had a Game Boy, I owned games like Castlevania and Mega Man. Those were the hot games—not some monotonous little maze game.

If you’re at all like me, you want to travel back in time about 20 years and smack this smarmy kid. Or at least show him the error of his ways. Because, even though I did play all the way through The Castlevania Adventure, and I probably thought it was great at the time, I should have been open to playing a game like Ms. Pac-Man, which was perfect for handheld gaming. It’s a game that can be picked up and played for 10, 15, or 20 minutes while on a road trip (or while goofing off in art class). It doesn’t require a time investment, and is there for a little quick fun whenever needed.

Ms. Pac-Man on the Game Boy is a good port of the game. It doesn’t play too quickly (seems downright slow after playing Jr. Pac-Man), but given the small size of the Game Boy screen, that may be a good thing. The game features scrolling mazes and detailed characters. A cool bonus is that in a two-player game, the second player gets to control Pac-Man. I don’t know if any other versions are set up that way, but I thought it was a nice touch. At the end of the game, once both players have exhausted their extra lives, Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man are shown coming together, kissing, and then the one who scored the most points gets to do a kind of victory dance (as much of a victory dance as can be done sans arms or legs). That made me laugh. Aww, good game. I love you. In your face, loser! 🙂

The one area in which this game suffered was sound. During play, I thought the sound was fine. It didn’t seem quite right, but I loved that it had the constant Pac-Man sound (if you’ve been around the coin-op, you should know what I’m talking about) that the Atari games lacked. It took me back to the days of arcades and just hearing the different games, each of them beckoning me—your quarters, give us your quarters . . . . The sounds during the intermission (I use the singular here, as I only made it to one—I don’t know if the others are included or not) seemed very off, and the bonk sound the ghosts make when running into one another was missing. I will confess that I played this on my GameCube using the Game Boy Player, and I’m not sure if that might affect the sound at all, but I doubt that it would, as the games are not played via emulation.

Even when miniaturized on a Game Boy screen, Ms. Pac-Man still delivers the goods. If you a Pac-Man fan, it’s a great game to take wherever you go, just in case you have a few idle minutes you need to fill with some video game goodness.

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2 Responses

  1. I only ever played one game on the gameboy and that was tetris. Never owned a gameboy…just played a friends at school.

  2. Hopefully this shows up on the Virtual Console for the 3DS.

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