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Pac-Land (game)

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Pac-Land

Pac-Land arcadeflyer

Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco, Bally/Midway
Series: Pac-Man series
Genres: Platform, Adventure,
Release date(s): 1984
Arcade system Namco Pac-Land
Number of players One player
Input methods 3 buttons (left, right, jump)
Platforms Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari Lynx, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Famicom, MSX, TurboGrafx-16, ZX Spectrum, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC (via Steam), Wii U (virtual console)

Pac-Land is an arcade game released in 1984, eveloped and published by Namco and released in America by Bally/Midway. The game stars Pac-Man, Namco's mascot in the land of Pac-Land. The game features a platform gameplay with a sidescrolling level screen. In the American release of Pac-Land by Bally Midway, the characters' appearances are based on the designs from the Pac-Man animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera, to promote the animated series, as well as the video game series. In the Japanese release by Namco, the Pac-Man sprite is closer in appearance to Namco's official artwork of the character with a longer nose, Pac-Man shaped eyes, and (for this game) a feathercap. In addition, both versions feature the main BGM and "jingles" from the aforementioned series; however, the rights to the main BGM in the game belong to Hanna-Barbera (now Time Warner Inc.), not Namco.

Gameplay

Pacland

Pac-Man running from Blinky and Inky.

Pac-Man must travel through Pac-Land to return a Fairy to Fairyland. Each trip has four rounds (3 from Pac-Land and one to his house.) The fairy is kept under Pac-Man's hat. He travels along a path to the right to get to Fairy Land. Each trip is divided into a number of rounds. The penultimate round of a trip ends with Pac-Man entering Fairyland and returning the fairy under his hat to the Fairy Queen. Along the way on his journey, the Ghost Gang do their best to stop Pac-Man. The Ghost Gang members Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde ride in different machines such as a car or airplane to ambush Pac-Man. Sue just chases Pac-Man from behind and picks him off the ground. The ghosts can be eaten if Pac-Man eats a Power Pellet. Cherries appear as bonus points if Pac-Man can eat them. Quicksand and other obstacles also stop Pac-Man on his journey. Pac-Man is given magic boots by the Fairy Queen when he reaches Fairyland.

When Pac-Man comes home he is greeted by Ms. Pac-Man, Pac Jr., Chomp-Chomp, and Sour Puss.

Characters

Levels

  • Town: This is the first environment that Pac-Man will encounter, and it will always be the first round of each trip if the trip contains a Town level. In each town, Pac-Man passes a collection of buildings, and a number of fire hydrants. The primary method of ghostly attack is with motor vehicles. In the first town you encounter, the fire hydrants are dormant. Jumping on fire hydrants makes fruit appear, typically in the windows of nearby buildings. The next time you visit a town, they will exhibit a common behavior for the rest of the game: gobs of water get shot out of the hydrant on a regular basis. These gobs will push Pac-Man along at top speed. The only way to escape from their force is to jump up and allow the water to pass underneath. They are extremely dangerous when ghosts are driving nearby in cars, or when Sue is close by. Later on in the game, the hydrants become stacked, one on top of the other. These stacked hydrants are more difficult to jump over, so get a running start. The rooftops of buildings can be jumped on and traversed if you can reach them. But ghosts also like to fly by in air planes, so running on the roofs isn't always a good idea. In later levels, ghosts switch from the smaller motor vehicles to the higher double decker buses that require a running jump just to get on top of. One other ghost attack to watch out for comes exclusively from Inky. Inky likes to hide out in some second story windows and drop his own light blue ghost bombs as you pass by. Every town has one power pellet in it, so Lucky Pacs can be captured fairly easily if you time things just right. When towns are part a return trip, they contain all of the features they had on your initial outing. Ghosts will be flying through the air in airplanes, and driving on the ground in cars, leaving only a narrow strip of guaranteed safety in the middle that can be hard to stay in. But it's not uncommon to find a power pellet in the middle of town on a return trip.
  • Forest: The forest environment is the only environment to feature a layer that scrolls in front of your view. Some trees pass by between Pac-Man and your view of him, but these obstructions are small and temporary. You should be more concerned with the ghosts whose positions are obscured by the trees (although you can usually see some small part of them through the trees, so they are never completely hidden). Throughout the forest, Pac-Man will encounter tree stumps that must be cleared with jumps. Some of the stumps can be pushed in the opposite direction to reveal secrets such as helmets, invincibility, or even a warp from trip 1 to trip 3. Ghosts will frequently come at you riding pogo sticks, and flying saucers, and less frequently in airplanes. Keeping good track of their location is a must. Fruit can appear in various locations, but one thing that Pac-Man will encounter is a floating fruit that bobs up and down as it flies by. Whenever Pac-Man catches one of these flying fruit, three other fruit will instantly appear at whatever height the original fruit was caught, so try your best to catch them when they are low. In much later levels, you will be forced to cross the forest in complete darkness, with only a limited space in front of you visible. It's not uncommon for a forest to contain a Power Pellet later in the stage. Forests are more of a glorified obstacle course during return trips. Ghosts don't assault you as intensely as they do in towns, but you must still watch out for them. During Trip 5, and every fourth trip there after, the return trip consists of two incredibly long stretches of forest (with no tree stumps) along with two long ponds.
  • Mountains: Mountains can be one of the most difficult environments to clear later on in the game. They start out simply enough, with rolling log platforms that rise and fall. The logs roll in the opposite direction that Pac-Man needs to go, so you must constantly tap one of the run buttons to get Pac-Man moving again. Beneath these logs are bottomless pits that you must avoid falling into. Towards the end of each mountain stage, there is typically a crumbling log bridge that must be quickly jumped over or Pac-Man will be left with no means to cross the gap. Later on, clouds are introduced. Clouds in Pac-Land, ironically, can be jumped on and ridden. In many instances, they also summon fruit when they are landed on. Don't focus on the fruit, focus on keeping Pac-Man alive. These clouds are exactly the width that Pac-Man steps, so don't take two steps in the same direction, or Pac-Man will fall off. Eventually, the most difficult aspect of the mountains arrives in the form of a small lake with floating logs. The logs must be carefully navigated in order to reach the opposite side, and they are very easy to miss. You can't wait to long on them either since Sue is constantly tracking you down. If all that wasn't enough, ghost typically approach you in airplanes, dropping ghost bombs on you as they fly along. The mountains require the most patience, and probably the most practice, out of all of the environments. Due to the fact that you possess the magic flying boots for the return journey, much of the challenge of the mountain environment is rendered moot, since you can hop through the air at will. The problem, however, is that you are forced to jump very high in order to clear certain cliffs, and ghosts are sure to fly over those positions in airplanes. So if you jump too high, you will get hit with a face full of propeller.
  • Desert: As can be expected, deserts don't have a lot of features. They have cacti that can occasionally be pushed to reveal a secret. For the most part, you will simply jump over them. One deadly feature of deserts are the quicksand area. Every quicksand area is indicated by a skull. As you are being drawn into quicksand, the skull's teeth begins to chatter with laughter. Touching the skull is deadly. You are best off jumping continuously, or better yet, jumping over the area from the top of a cactus. Sometimes a springboard (see the Ponds below) will be present to help you avoid the deadlier sections, but their use is not always required. Ghosts come at you with the usual variety; pogo-sticks, flying saucers, and airplanes are all employed against Pac-Man in the desert sections. Deserts are commonly interrupted by ponds, and even by sections of forests. They also contain power pellets. Return trips through the desert are uncommon after the beginning of the game, and feature extremely tall cacti. It's a simple matter to jump over them with the flying boots, but time your jumps carefully so that you don't hit any ghosts flying overhead.
  • Ponds: Ponds are frequently mixed into other environments, although they can compose an entire environment on their own. The trick to crossing ponds is mastering the use of the spring board. The spring board can be surprisingly difficult to for beginners to master. As Pac-Man runs along, he reaches the spring board and begins to run across it. As he reaches the end of the board, the board darkens, indicating that you are ready to jump. The farther along the board you jump, the higher in the air you will rise. If you time your jump to late, you will run off the board and perform a regular jump (usually into the pond). Once you are in the air, you need to furiously tap the direction you were running in to maintain your height in the air. If you do not do this, you will drop like a stone. Many ponds that you encounter later in the game will extend to the very limit of how far Pac-Man can jump, so if you do not execute the jump perfectly, you will just miss the edge and fall in the water. Often, you will see fruit lined up in a descending pattern. If you are collecting them as you fall, then you are perfectly lined up for the landing. If you are not picking them up, you might still make it if you are just beneath them, so don't give up. Later levels feature an island in the middle of the pond that you must land on before continuing your trip from another springboard. These islands can contain power pellets in a few instances. In Trip 8, and every fourth trip thereafter, there is no spring board prior to the pond. In this case, you must hitch a ride from one of the ghosts going your way in an airplane. Ponds must simply be floated over in order to return home. Fruit may be tantalizingly displayed to lure you to a bad location, but always observe the position of the ghosts before dropping or rising for the point bonuses. Don't waste time collecting them either since you lose the flying boots if you manage to run out of time.
  • Bridge: The bridge environment is not a difficult as the mountains, but it can be nearly as frustrating. The bridge may have at one time been whole and useful, but now it's a mess. Gaps in the floor and walls do little to protect you from the water beneath. Your jumps are constrained here, and you need to plan ahead if you want to reach certain levels of the crumbling bridge. To make matters worse, there are geysers that form at the bottom of the screen, bursting to the ceiling and falling back down. If Pac-Man happens to get caught in their wake, it is difficult, but not impossible, to escape from its grasp. Jumping rapidly is the only hope you have of keeping Pac-Man alive. The bridge also features fire hydrants that fire the usual gobs of water at you, but these are typically only found on the highest platforms. They can contain secrets, but those secrets can cost you your life if you don't pay attention to the water blasts, both from the hydrant and the geysers. Like most environments, a lot of the sting is taken from the area thanks to your flying boots. Don't be fooled however. The geysers are still dangerous and the ghosts will try to prevent you from making it back to your home and family.
  • Castle: The castle is deceptively challenging. The first time you encounter one (round 14), you will be able to see everywhere that you go. The remaining trips through the castle will be in complete darkness, making it a lot more difficult to navigate. The castle has three levels of height, with many gaps in the floor and a number of locked doors. In addition, you will find keys that you can use to unlock the doors. There is always a way to make it through the castle, but finding the keys and opening the right doors will substantially reduce the amount of time it takes for you to clear the stage. In fact, with no ghosts other than Sue to bother you, time is your only real enemy. But you will find time frequently running out on you the first few times you attempt to clear the stage, causing Sue to rush you, and assuredly kill you the moment you need to double back and find another path. The layout for the castle in Trip 5 and every fourth trip thereafter remains constant, as does the castle in Trip 8 and fourth trip after that. So if you can become familiar enough with the placement of the keys and the doors, you can reduce your likelihood of running out of time. This is the one environment that you will never return through.

Items

Trivia

  • Namco-PacLand

    Hand-held Pac-Land game.

    This is the first game to show Pac-Land.
  • The Japanese version of the game features different sprites than the North American version. The North American version's sprites were edited to resemble the character designs of the TV show more closely, and Chomp-Chomp and Sour Puss were added into the ending.
  • Pac-Land is loosely based off of the Pac-Man TV series. The main theme of the game is very similar to the theme song of the TV series.
  • Namco released a battery powered hand-held version of the game, as well as releasing it as part of Namco Museum Volume 4 for the PlayStation and on June 10, 2014 was released on Wii U virtual console (with the North American version being ported and translated from the Japanese version).
  • Pac-Man Monsters features an event quest based off of Pac-Land, known as "Welcome to Pac-Land". The quest takes place in the game's first area, Pac-Town, which is based off of the town area from Pac-Land. The Ghost Gang are encountered as enemies, driving in vehicles like in the original game. The final boss of the quest, King of Ant Lion, is based off the skulls encountered in the desert areas.
  • This game possibly inspired Nintendo's iconic Super Mario Bros.. It features sidescrolling platform gameplay, warp zones, quad level structures a year before the game of Shigeru Miyamoto.

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