With inconsistent play control and a glaring lack of multiplayer functionality, Pac-Man can't be recommended on the 360.

User Rating: 4.3 | Pac-Man X360
Pac-Man represents the second release from Bandai Namco for Xbox Live Arcade. Over 25 years have passed since gamers worldwide began dropping quarters and tokens into Pac-Man machines, and we've seen the Pac-Man franchise grow over the years. He's got a family. He's gone on adventures. He's even suiting up for a kart-racing game.

Many different platforms have seen the original version of Pac-Man, from the Atari VCS to the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Sony PlayStation. With the Xbox360 version on Xbox Live Arcade, there was plenty of potential to breathe life into what is really a simple game. Unfortunately, none of this potential comes close to being realized, and we're left with another straight-up conversion with an added Stage Select option and some weak achievements.

Pac-Man's biggest fault is that there's no multiplayer option at all. Competition boils down to you against a leaderboard, much like Bandai Namco's other XBox Live Arcade release, Galaga, did. Players don't even have the option to attach a second controller and compete on the same machine. While the leaderboard option certainly helps preserve some of the competitive nature of attaining high scores, it's absurd that there is no multiplayer option to be had here. Other popular coin-op conversions, such as Frogger, Joust, and Smash TV all had multiplayer functionality, so there really isn't any reason for the omission here.

Another big issue with Pac-Man revolves around its inconsistent play control. How hard is it to emulate a four-way joystick? The default Xbox360 controller is imprecise when it comes to digital control. The D-Pad is unreliable, and the analog stick doesn't react fast enough to commands to change Pac-Man's direction at a moment's notice. It's unfortunate when poor play control affects a classic, but that's exactly what happens here. Xbox360 owners with some sort of arcade stick may find somewhat better results, but everyone else should be prepared for some frustrating times playing this game.

The good news is that the conversion is faithful to the original coin-op. The visuals and sounds are all spot-on, including all of the cute intermission cinemas. In fact, it's arguable that this is as close as you can get to having the coin-op in your living room, aesthetically speaking. High scores and option settings are saved internally on the hard drive, which not all Xbox Live Arcade releases have done.

There are achievements to be had, for you Xbox360 Gamerscore fiends. There are a possible 200 points to be scored, and many of the achievements are made easier to unlock by the game's Stage Select option. There is one achievement in particular that is more challenging than it sounds, in terms of eating all of the ghosts four times in one stage. Aside from that, most players of even average skill levels should be able to ace the achievements pretty handily.

Aside from the achievement points and the leaderboard, there's nothing to keep you coming back after you're spent your 400 Microsoft Points on this title. Combine that with the glaring lack of multiplayer functionality and the inconsistent play control, and it's difficult to recommend this game to anyone unless they need to get their Pac fix.