Pac-Mania 3D Review

The "3D" designation shouldn't fool anyone. This is the same game to which you were indifferent in the late '80s.

Pac-Mania 3D is a "2.5D" (isometric perspective) version of the original Pac-Man, and it was originally released as an arcade game, although it was then just called Pac-Mania. The game uses higher-quality sprites than the original Pac-Man, and it plays polyphonic MIDI music. Unfortunately, few are nostalgic for Pac-Mania, which, even in its heyday, put off Pac-Man fans by eschewing the original's visuals. Those more receptive to change still won't be well served by this game, as the larger sprites necessitate multidirectional scrolling, which therefore prevents players from seeing entire mazes at once. Furthermore, the Pac-Mania allows jumping, which removes all the challenge in the game's initial stages.

 You can play your sound or your music, but playing both at once has disastrous consequences.
You can play your sound or your music, but playing both at once has disastrous consequences.

Anyone who's played a Pac-Man game will be basically right at home here, as the controls and objectives are the same. You must collect all the pellets in a maze while avoiding the ghosts that perambulate the bounds. Pac-Man may now leap over most of his phantasmal pursuers, although some of them--in the later levels--jump along with him. The game now uses a camera that follows Pac-Man's movements, and it only lets you see a fraction of the maze at once. Consequently, it's difficult to both locate those last niggling pellets and anticipate a ghostly approach.

Apart from its visuals, which are of questionable merit, Pac-Mania's sound received a major update. The game's tunes are good, as are its sound effects. The game's audio menu lets you choose between these, or you can opt for both. Like a fable warning against greed, this menu will punish you should you select the last option. Upon starting the game, you'll find the music plays as normal...until you trigger a sound effect. Then it will never ever play music again. To restore the music, you have to restart the game or futz around in the audio menu some more.

Pac-Mania was never an especially beloved game, and shoddy porting has now made it slightly less enjoyable than it once was. There's quite a selection of Pac-Man games for Sprint Vision's LG MM-535, including the superlative original ones. Fans not clamoring for Pac-Man innovation might content themselves with those classics. The "3D" designation shouldn't fool anyone. This is the same game to which you were indifferent in the late '80s.

The Good
It's a Pac-Man game, so it'll win fans for that reason alone
Nice-looking sprites
The Bad
The scrolling means you won't be able to see mazes in their entireties
Sound problems prevent the simultaneous play of music and effects, even though the game's menu allows both to be turned on
5.6
Mediocre
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Pac-Mania More Info

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  • First Released December 1987
    unreleased
    • Acorn Archimedes
    • Amiga
    • + 13 more
    • Amstrad CPC
    • Arcade Games
    • Atari ST
    • Commodore 64
    • Genesis
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Mobile
    • MSX
    • NES
    • Sega Master System
    • Sharp X68000
    • Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum
    • Zeebo
    7.7
    Average Rating95 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Krisalis Software, Grandslam, Namco, Teque Interactive, Sculptured Software, Namco Networks America, Westwood Associates, Tengen, SPS, Namco Bandai Games
    Published by:
    Domark, Grandslam, Namco, Atari Games (Midway), Bandai Namco Games, Grandslam Entertainment, Tengen, Namco Networks America, Sharp, MCM, Namco Bandai Games
    Genre(s):
    Action, Arcade