Old But Gold # 179 Pac-Man World

Pac-Man is undoubtedly one of the most important mascots of the entire videogame history: ruler of arcade cabinets, the franchise created by Toru Iwatani and developed by Namco (before this merged with Bandai) has managed to scrape together pennies in arcades around the world.

In 1999, with the advent of the first consoles capable of running software in three-dimensional graphics, the developers release a totally unexpected video game to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the IP: Pac-Man World is the new adventure of the nice yellow sphere, the first coming out on console PlayStation One. Unlike the products released up to that moment, the title looks like a 3D platform, abandoning the proven formula of the two-dimensional puzzle game.

On the occasion of this one hundred and seventy-ninth appointment with our Old But Gold column and in conjunction with the release of the remake, we could not fail to talk about Pac-Man World to our readers. Let’s not get lost in further chatter and immerse ourselves in this fantastic title.

Pac-Man into the Pac-Verse

The game begins with an introductory cutscenes in which Pac-Man is seen returning home on his own occasion twentieth birthday (ironic choice, since as mentioned in the preface the title was published on the occasion of the anniversary of the first Pac-Man).

What was supposed to be a day of family merriment turns into reality a rescue mission. Arriving home, Pac-Man discovers that all of his family members have been kidnapped by a robot named Toc-Manan invention conceived to steal the identity of our favorite yellow sphere.

The aim of the game is to save all Pac-Man’s pets and be able to defeat Toc-Man: as per the practice of that immature period of complex and intricate plots, even that of World certainly does not shine for its narrative depth.

It’s simply not the main focus of Pac-Man World: nonetheless, it’s interesting how Namco contextualized existing characters like the ghosts from the original cabinet game or Ms. Pac-Man, and how she managed to bring in new ones. The end result is a light narrative sector, fun and unpretentious.

Insert the token

The gameplay is the real revolution of the franchise: for the first time, Pac-Man moves in a three-dimensional environment in a very classic formula of the Japanese platform genre.

The structure is that of levels, each connected directly to the main hub of the game: the player will have to complete each of these while also saving all six relatives of the nice yellow sphere, one for each world. Within the levels you can find fruits that will act as collectiblesvery useful to increase your final score.

In addition, in each level, there will be a 2D maze that will take up the mechanics that made Pac-Man the star of the cabinets in the 80s. By obtaining one of the fruits useful to open the door of this extra mission, the player will be able to try their hand at a thematic level of Pac-Man 2D, even here the good sortie will be useful to increase the score at the end of the level.

In terms of gameplay, Pac-Man can bounce to defeat enemies or use sprinting to climb the steepest climbs: in addition, different maps can be found. very useful upgrades to find some hidden fruits otherwise unobtainable. I’m talking about the power up that allows Pac-Man to become a metal sphere, a skill useful both to defeat the toughest enemies and to collect crates at the bottom of the water.

In short, Pac-Man World has a gameplay not very varied in terms of mechanicsnevertheless the final product manages to be really fun thanks to a good direction of level design.

In conclusion

As we wrote in the review for the remake of this title, Pac-Man World is one hidden gem of the retro gaming landscape. This is due to the loudest success of the unforgettable ones Crash And Spyrowhich probably affected both the number of sales of this game and the dormant memories of the most nostalgic players.

The light narrative and witty gameplay stages without resulting in the trial and errormake Pac-Man World a product that is still very enjoyable today (and I’m writing it with knowledge of the facts, since to write this Old But Gold I have replayed it all) which still makes it a dormant jewel of platforming today.

Furthermore, the release of the remake bodes well for fans of the yellow sphere: after years of hiatus, Pac-Man may be ready to make his return, perhaps with a new chapter. Fans of the epic set in the Ghost Island their mouths are already watering.