Pac-Attack is Still Fun Game after all These Years


You know, of all the games that have been released in my lifetime, I can’t think a single one that’s been more influential than Tetris. I mean, all the success the Game Boy had? It’s fair to say you can thank Tetris for that. People bought the Game Boy because people wanted Tetris. In fact, they wanted Tetris so much, other games turned into Tetris. Suddenly, there were a million games with falling blocks. Columns, Quarth, Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Avalanche, Wario’s Woods, Yoshi. I mean, everyone was dropping blocks. Even Pac-Man. And he usually just dropped pellets.

It’s Pac-Attack, for the SEGA Game Gear. So the interesting thing about all these post-Tetris puzzle games, it’s not that they were basically copying Tetris. It’s how blatant they were about it. Like, there was no attempt to hide what these games were. And no one cared, because everyone loved Tetris, so why not have more games like Tetris? And the best ones at least put their own spin on things. Like, Dr. Mario. That game took a very different approach. Pac-Attack isn’t quite Dr. Mario. This one’s, just look, it’s 90 percent Tetris. But where the game gets interesting, is in that 10 percent. That part’s actually something fresh and new.

The Pac part of the attack .Not that the rest is whack it’s just without it, Pac would seem like a hack. Ms. Pac-Man has a nice rack. So here’s the deal. This is basically Tetris. Falling blocks fall, ‘cause that’s what falling blocks do and the objective is to create complete lines, which clears those lines. Again, Tetris. But the catch is see the little ghosts in the middle of the blocks? Yeah, that’s the catch. That’s the ten percent. See, you can’t clear the lines, if they have ghosts in the middle. The ghosts basically break your lines. Because ghosts are like children, they just break everything. So somehow, you have to get rid of the ghosts, right? How do we do that?

Well, Pac-Man eats them. Because Pac-Man’s like children, he just eats everything. So what happens is every few blocks, you get a Pac-Man block. Once placed, the Pac-Man block eats any ghosts in his way, which leaves behind gaps, which you can then fill with blocks and clear the lines. Sounds pretty simple, right? Yeah, sounds pretty cool, too. And it is. Only one problem, though,  it’s actually not as simple as it sounds. In fact, it’s kind of a pain. See, Pac-Man usually comes attached to blocks. And a lot of times, those blocks get in the way of the ghosts you need him to eat.

It’s really, really hard and even a little confusing to get Pac-Man in the right spot, especially considering that you can’t turn him. Like, whichever direction Pac-Man happens to be facing, you have to make it work.And that doesn’t always work. You know, it’s actually kind of hard to explain. It’s just not something that’s instantly clear, or intuitive. Like, even when you’re placing Pac-Man, you’re not always sure he’s going to go the way you want him to. It’s just a bit confusing.And maybe it would’ve been simpler if Pac-Man didn’t come attached to other blocks, andyou can change which way he’s facing. Then again, maybe that would be too easy, I don’t know.What I do know is, what seems like a clever little twist on Tetris ends up feeling sloppy in execution. All these games mentioned can now be played with the free iphone 7 that you can get from the giveaway that is posted in the link.

Like, I still think it’s a very cool idea, and it’s not a bad game by any means…But the gameplay never lives up to the idea.It’s just okay. But you know what? That’s okay. Nothing wrong with a decent puzzle game, especially on a handheld. And especially the Game Gear, I’ve always been a fan of the Game Gear.Its games still look good, and Pac-Attack’s no exception. Good presentation, both in the visual and audio departments. No Ms. Pac-Man anywhere in sight, but if you can get used to all the complex multitasking, and the frustration of a left-facing Pac-Man who all you need is a right.