|The Arcade Version's title screen. Thrilling!|
|Pac-Man jumps over a car driven by a pink ghost. As you do.|
Pac-Land was converted to many of the major platforms during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Here is a summary of some of the conversions from worst to best.
|Title on Sir Lord Alan Sugar's compy.|
|Amstrad: Pac-Land on the Amstrad is rather pink.|
|The Phantom is pure genius and Tangerine Dream is Fab, apparently|
|Sinclair Spectrum: The street lamps in Pac-Land make everything look yellow|
3 - Nintendo Entertainment System - This version does away with the cartoony graphics from the original, and makes it look a bit like Pac-Man is travelling through a giant Lego version of Pac-Land. The sprites, both for Pac-Man and the enemies, are about half the size of those in the original, and are dwarfed in comparison to the backdrops. The music is OK, whereas the sound effects are quite close to the arcade's. What lets this game down though are the controls. For some reason, Namco thought it would be good to use the NES controller's two A and B buttons to control Pac-Man left and right, and any direction on the D-pad to jump. Why??? Doesn't the very design of the control pad make it obvious which buttons should do what? The D in D-pad stands for directional, which gives you a clear idea of its purpose! You kind of get used to the stupid controls after sticking with them for a while, but when you come across an obstacle that requires some sort of split second decision, you'll suddently forget that you're meant to be using the controller back-to-front and press the wrong button. There's probably some way of reconfiguring the controls, but there shouldn't really be any need to do so for a game which by default should have clear controls. In addition, the levels appear to have been messed around with a little bit, and the game doesn't really feel much like you're playing Pac-Land. It's not awful, but it could have been much better.
|NES: I don't know why, but everytime I look at the graphics for the NES version, I feel thirsty.|
4 - Commodore Amiga - Graphically, this is one of the best looking versions of the game, with sprites and backdrops that closely resemble those of the arcade game. The music is also pretty good too, and the fact that the game doesn't require a fire button means that you can use the controller's trigger button to jump, rather than having to push up (having to push up to jump in Amiga games was always a pet hate of mine). The level layouts are also fairly faithful to the arcade version's layouts, and unlike a lot of the other versions (Amstrad, Speccy, NES and C64), you are able to stand on top of vehicles, a feature of the arcade game. However, letting this game down is its scrolling. For some reason, Pac-Man's journey to retrieve magic shoes from the fairy at the other end of Pac-Land is literally not a smooth one. The scrolling is terribly jerky, and seems to get worse when there's more going on. At some points, it feels like you're playing the game in slow motion. This disrupts the arcadey flow of the game, and almost ruins what could have been a perfect conversion.
|Commordore Amiga: Looks nice, but if you could see this moving, you'll be tearing the disk out of its drive and flushing it down your toilet in minutes.|
5 - Commodore 64 - Of the 8-Bit home computer versions, this is by far the best. Although the graphics aren't as colourful as the Amstrad's, which is partly down to the Commodore 64's washed-out pallette, they are drawn much closer to the arcade's, and the screens scroll. And, unlike the Amiga version, they scroll smoothly, and this is what puts it just ahead of the Amiga version.Which begs the question, if it could be done on the C64, why couldn't the Amiga do it? The game does still suffer from some frustrating deaths, and you aren't able to stand on top of vehicles, which takes something away from the fun of the arcade game, and the level design is slightly different from the original. Even so, this is a very good conversion of the arcade game and is miles ahead of the versions on the computer's contemporaries.
|Commodore 64: I love how these old Commodore 64 games have always looked old.|
|PC Engine: Pac-Man has a power pill just above his head, and is ready to gobble up the ghosties. Unfortunately, he ended up getting squashed by the two cars as I was fannying about trying to get a screenshot.|
Here's a video demonstrating each of the above versions of the game in action!
An Extra Treat!!!
While waiting for the home computer versions to load, you were treated to a rather funky map of Pac-Land. And, here they are. Exciting!
|The Amstrad Loading Screen|
|The Spectrum Loading screen. Looks like the artists gave up half way - look at the house towards the top right,|