Out of all of the female video game heroes ever, Ms. Pac-Man is probably the most well known, save for maybe a young upstart by the name of Lara Croft. At any rate, you would probably be hard pressed to find someone that hasn't ever heard of her. While her male counterpart, Pac-Man may be more universally known and have appeared on just about every platform known to man, it is definitely time that the other dot muncher got her due with a new game.
Set in a brand new 3D world, Maze Madness brings more to the table than just standard maze running. This time around, you still have to eat every dot you can find, you'll just have a harder time finding and getting to them all. In fact, progressing in the game hinges on the fact that you find every hidden dot and fruit. For the bulk of the game, you guide Miss Pac around a maze and use basic puzzle solving skills, such a pushing or destroying blocks to progress to the next area. In a scheme similar to that of Crash Bandicoot or Ape Escape, the game can be completed with not every secret found, but doing so will always leave you with the feeling that you've left something behind.
In keeping with the classic Pac spirit, the controls are very simple; all that is needed to play the game is an agile thumb to guide Ms. Pac Man along the way. What this does in the end is make the game playable for just about every age group, and fun to play, as well. Being that just about any age group can have fun with the game, most seasoned gamers will find the game a little too easy to play, and will probably finish the game in no time. The single player quest itself is quite large and will keep you busy with over 180 mazes to explore, with mini-games and secret stages to unlock as well. Once you've finished the main part of the game, you can retrace your steps with a time attack mode and try to best your previous run through each level.
In addition to the main quest, you can also treat yourself to an endless supply of quarters in a nearly perfect version of the classic arcade game and some cool multi-player games to get some friends in on. In multi-player mode, you can choose from several different games with familiar themes such as keep-away and tag, and even play against the computer if you have no one else to play with. While not as expansive as the full quest mode, the multiplayer games offer plenty of quick fun.
Graphically, this new incarnation of Ms. Pac-Man keeps the feel of the classic game by keeping the graphics relatively simple. The game, consequently, is not the best-looking game, but does what it does well. One minor disappointment from the new 3D look is the lack of a true 3D world, as the game operates from a fixed camera angle that cannot be rotated. In some cases, this is a nuisance when a lone dot is hiding behind a wall you cannot see around. The in-game music is very interesting and helps to get you into the flow of the game. Unfortunately, it is offered at the rate of one new song every three levels. As you might imagine, it can be pretty boring listening to the same song repeated.
While Maze Madness may be overly easy for experienced gamers, the younger crowd should have no problem having loads of fun with the game. In the end, it ultimately does what few updated classics do well, bringing new concepts to a well known game while keeping the fun and magic of the original game.