|Release date(s):||March 13, 1982|
|Arcade system||Namco Pac-Man|
|Number of players||One or two players|
|Input methods||4 way joystick|
Pac-Man Plus is an arcade game released by Bally Midway in 1982. It is a hack of Pac-Man that adds several new features. No dedicated Pac-Man Plus machine was ever created, so the game is only found in cannibalized Pac-Man cabinets.
Starting in 1981, many bootleg hacks and modifications of Pac-Man were being released. These were easily installed into arcade machines, and altered various functions of the game (different mazes, faster speeds, etc). Many of these were borderline unplayable, and could have hurt the Pac-Man brand if wide distribution continued.
To combat this, Midway decided to release their own "official" modified Pac-Man kit, in hopes that arcade operators would see it as a cheap, less shady option to install into the aging machine. This strategy seems to have been moderately successful, but in the end the bootleg "fast speed" hack was still the most popular Pac-Man modification.
Despite advertising stating that the game was "Exciting!" and "New!", Pac-Man Plus is essentially identical to the original Pac-Man, with only minor gameplay tweaks and altered graphics. These are the features found in Plus that aren't in the original game.
- The maze is green instead of blue.
- Eating a Power Pellet can sometimes only turn three ghosts blue instead of all four, or even make the maze invisible.
- Blue ghosts now have leaves sticking out of their heads.
- Most of the fruit graphics are changed, and the ghost graphics are slightly altered as well.
- When a fruit is eaten, the ghosts become invisible. If you run into the spot where they are, you will eat them (just like with a Power Pellet, but the score counter is doubled).
- Pac-Dot - 10 points.
- Power Pellet - 50 points.
- Vulnerable Ghosts:
- #1 in succession - 200 points.
- #2 in succession - 400 points.
- #3 in succession - 800 points.
- #4 in succession - 1600 points.
Ms. Pac-Man Plus
A game titled Ms. Pac-Man Plus was released seemingly around the same time as Pac-Man Plus. As its name implies, it is a "plus" version of Ms. Pac-Man.
The game is credited to Midway, but is of rather poor quality, to the point where it resembles a bootleg hack. But as their name is intact on both the title screen and marquee, it is more likely that it was an actual Midway release, possibly only test-marketed in select arcades before fading into obscurity.
Ms. Pac-Man Plus is just maze hack of the original game, lacking the extra features seen in Pac-Man Plus. The way the mazes were redone can lead to glitches, such as ghosts or fruit getting stuck within the maze's walls. All other features from Ms. Pac-Man remain intact, with no changes whatsoever.
Because there were so few differences between Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus, the game was never ported to home systems during its heyday. There was a port for 2000s mobile devices, and the game frequently appears on Plug 'N Play systems. Many homebrew versions have also been released, including ones on the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, and ColecoVision.
Ms. Pac-Man Plus
Unsurprisingly, no home ports of Ms. Pac-Man Plus were released either. Several homebrew versions were released though, including ones on Atari 7800 (renamed to "Ms. Pac-Attack") and NES.