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Pac-Mania

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Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco/Atari
Series: Pac-Man series
Genres: Maze
Release date(s): Flagofjapansmall November 30, 1987
Northamericaflagsmall December 10, 1987
Arcade system Namco System 1
Number of players One or two players
Input methods 4 way joystick, button

Pac-Mania (パックマニア Pakku-Mania) is an arcade game released by Namco in 1987. It was intended to be the final game in the arcade Pac-Man series, but was eventually succeeded by Pac-Man Arrangement a decade later.

Gameplay

The core gameplay is more or less the same as the original Pac-Man. The player controls Pac-Man to eat all the Pac-Dots while avoiding ghosts. He can also get a Power Pellet in order to eat the ghosts, and can collect fruit for bonus points. When all dots are eaten, the player moves onto the next stage.

The most apparent difference in Pac-Mania is that the entire game is in an isometric, pseudo-3D perspective, which was very impressive for its time period. Pac-Man now also has the ability to jump over objects, including dots and ghosts (but not parts of the maze itself). This is a very useful move in tight situations, but it must be performed carefully.

Two new power-ups appear in the game as well, referred to as "Special Items", which appear occasionally in the center of the maze. The Red Pellet will increase the points Pac-Man gets from eating ghosts, and will last until he loses a life. The Green Pellet makes Pac-Man go faster, but only lasts a short while.

Ghosts

Pac-Mania features the original four ghosts - Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde - along with Sue from Ms. Pac-Man and the newly-introduced Commons, Funky and Spunky.

The first five ghosts have similar traits to their past appearances, while the newer Commons can jump when in Sandbox Land and Jungly Steps. Funky, the green common, is aggressive, but cannot jump as high as Pac-Man; thus, it is possible for the player to jump over them with proper timing. Spunky, the gray common, can jump just as high as Pac-Man, but is not nearly as aggressive as Funky. Unlike the other ghosts, there can be two of both Funky and Spunky, giving the player a chance of encountering a total of nine ghosts in later rounds.

The ghosts behave differently when attempting to reach a target position compared to other arcade games–rather than always taking what they perceive to be the optimal route, the ghosts will never turn at an intersection until they either have to or reach/pass their target. This means that if a ghost were following Pac-Man but not closely pursuing him, the player could make two quick turns into a different, parallel hallway traveling in the same direction, and the ghost would most likely keep going down the same hallway.

Some ghosts also tend to have smarter AI when Pac-Man eats most of the dots in a stage, or during the later stages of the game. This can be seen with Blinky in Pac-Man's Park, where he becomes much more aggressive than in the previous stage.

DIP Switch settings

DIP switches are settings that are found on arcade circuit boards. They are often used to change the cost of the game, or sometimes make it slightly harder. For unknown reasons, Pac-Mania features a very large amount of DIP switch settings, which can cause confusion depending on which game variation you've played. This is especially problematic for home console ports, which will often be based on one random settings configuration without any options to change it. Some notable DIP switch options that can be changed are:

  • Level Count - An insane amount of options for how many levels a full game will last. Can be set as low as 7, or can loop infinitely at maximum. Most versions feature around 20-23 rounds total.
  • Selection Screen - Allows the player to choose from any of the first three worlds on startup. Can be turned on or off.
  • High Score Initials Screen - Can be turned on or off.
  • Red Pellet Disabler - Makes the Red Pellet's score multiplier only last on the round its obtained on, rather than lasting throughout the game. Only featured in the Sega Genesis version console-wise.
220px-Pac-Mania

Gameplay (Pac-Man's Park)

Scoring System

  • Pac-Dot - 60 points.
  • Power Pellet - 600 points.
  • Vulnerable Ghosts (normal):
    • #1 in succession - 200 points.
    • #2 in succession - 400 points.
    • #3 in succession - 800 points.
    • #4 in succession - 1600 points.
    • #5 in succession - 3200 points.
    • #6+ in succession - 7650 points.
  • Vulnerable Ghosts (Red Pellet):
    • #1 in succession - 400 points.
    • #2 in succession - 1600 points.
    • #3+ in succession - 7650 points.
  • Fruit
    • 🍒 Cherry: 1000 points.
    • 🍓 Strawberry: 2000 points
    • 🍊 Orange: 3000 points
    • 🍎 Apple: 4000 points
    • 🍌 Banana: 5000 points.
    • 🍑 Peach: 6000 points
    • 🔔 Bell: 7000 points
    • 🔑 Key: 8000 points
    • 🍬 Candy: 4000 points
    • 🍏 Apple: 6000 points
    • ☕ Coffee: 5000 points
    • 🍦 Chocolate Ice Cream: 8000 points
    • 🍦 Vanilla Ice Cream: 8000 points
    • 🔔 Silver Bell: 7000 points
    • PM Galaxian Galaxian Boss: 7650 points
    • 🗝️ Silver Key: 10000
    • 🍔 Hamburger: 7000 points
    • PM Galaxian Silver Galaxian Boss: 9000 points

Worlds

Pac-Mania has four worlds, each with their own intermission cutscenes and design attributes. Here is a brief description of each one.

Block Town

Main article: Block Town

This is an area made up of Lego-like objects. As the first stage, the ghosts are not too fast and no new ones are introduced (unless the DIP switch settings were changed, in which new ghosts may appear later on).

Maximum # of Ghosts: 5 (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde, and Sue)

Pac-Man's Park

Main article: Pac-Man's Park

This area is a 3D version of the original Pac-Man maze. The ghosts move at a speed a bit faster than Pac-Man's. Here, Funky is introduced, but he does not have his jumping abilities yet.

Maximum # of Ghosts: 7 (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde, Sue, and two Funkys)

Sandbox Land

Main article: Sandbox Land

This location appears to be set in a pyramid-like area. Here, the ghosts are even more aggressive. There is a warning in the introductory video to the level:

"COMMONS ARE PLAYING OUTSIDE. BEWARE OF JUMPING MONSTERS!"

Funky will now be able to jump, and two Funkys appear in the later two levels. Spunky makes her debut in the final level in this zone, and will be able to jump.

Maximum # of Ghosts: 8 (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde, Sue, two Funkys, and one Spunky)

Jungly Steps

The final world in the game. This world appears to be on a set of stairs, with curtains in the background. Pac-Man gets a significant boost in speed here, but so do the ghosts. Funky and Spunky are featured, and will jump.

Maximum # of Ghosts: 9 (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde, Sue, two Funkys, and two Spunkys)

Depending on the DIP switch settings, the game could end directly after Jungly Steps or loop back to Block Town for more rounds (at a higher difficulty).

Home Ports

  • Acorn 32-bit
  • Amiga
  • Amstrad CPC
  • Atari ST
  • Commodore 64
  • Famicom/NES
  • Game Boy Advance
  • GameCube
  • Handheld LCD Games
  • iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) - now defunct
  • Mobile
  • MSX
  • MSX2
  • PlayStation
  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation 3
  • Plug 'N Play TV Games
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Genesis
  • Sharp X68000
  • Wii
  • Wii U
  • Xbox
  • Xbox 360
  • Zeebo
  • ZX Spectrum

The Sharp X68000 version is dubbed "Extended Version for Superior Pacmaniacs", but the differences between it and the arcade game are unknown. The Plug 'N Play version is the same as the NES port, and the Handheld LCD Game version is just the Sega Genesis port.

Play Online

These versions of Pac-Mania are either listed in the public domain or are considered abandonware. Clicking the game title will lead you to a playable online version of it from archive.org (mobile compatibility may vary).

Trivia

  • Much of the music that plays in the game interpolates tracks originally from Pac-Man and Pac-Land.
  • This is the first game in which Blinky and Clyde swapped their names (see Clyde and Blinky error).

Gallery

Screenshots

Artwork