Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Review

You'll have a hard time finding a gamer who doesn't have some kind of history with Pac-Man in some form or another.  For three decades now, he and his girlfriend Ms. Pac-Man have been gobbling up our quarters almost as fast as they munch pellets.  Now on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network is what might be his most frantic and fun game yet: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. 

As the title implies, this game is largely based on 2007's Pac-Man Championship Edition. If you've already played that game to death, don't worry; the new gameplay additions here will be more than enough to give you a fresh experience.The game is played on a horizontal maze rather than the vertical mazes of games past, and the maze is divided into two parts.  Once you consume all the dots on one half of the screen, a special edible object (usually a fruit) will appear near the middle of the screen. Eat this fruit, and the newly-cleared side will be littered with dots again, and the maze itself will change most of the time.  There are no breaks in the action anymore, and the longer you play without getting hit or using a bomb, the more the game will gradually speed up.  

Bombs can be used to return all active ghosts back into the middle box when you're in a jam, but they'll lower the game speed and the dot score multiplier.  The penalties for dying are similar, but the main difference is that several valuable seconds of time will be wasted as well.  There is no way to "beat" the game by clearing dots anymore; you'll be finished if you run out of lives or reach some other objective.  There are three different modes of play sky whale hack donuts, each of which provides a different goal: score atta ck, time trial, and ghost combo.The biggest addition Pac-Man DX  brings is that of sleeping ghosts.  In every stage except for one, you'll find lots of green stationary ghosts catching some Zs.  

If Pac-Man gets close to one, it will wake up and become angry and begin following Pac-Man throughout the stage.  This is not as much of a problem as it sounds because the ghosts aren't fast enough to catch Pac-Man, and they almost always follow the direct path in which Pac-Man travels. It can become a problem when the trail of angry ghosts grows large and starts getting in the way.  When Pac-Man eats a power pellet, you'll see that some sleeping ghosts have power pellets inside them which can lead you to munch ghosts for a very long time and build up a huge combo.  In addition to sleeping ghosts, a few "normal" ghosts will wander around the stage.  

While they won't pursue Pac-Man, they will still get in the way and force you to take detours or go for another batch of dots around which no ghosts are present.  Since so many ghosts can be on the screen at once, Namco has introduced a slow-motion feature.  When Pac-Man moves toward a ghost that can kill him, the action will slow way down and give you time to react.  This sounds like it would make the game too easy, but the drawback of this feature is that the clock will run at the same speed when this happens.  I think it's a wonderful feature that saves a lot of frustration while still rewarding players for avoiding near-death situations.

    Graphically, Namco did about as good a job as possible with this game.  There are several different maze visuals which let you play with the graphical style you want.  You can choose one that resembles old-school Pac-Man, several other 2D styles, and you can give the game a 3D look as well.  In addition, you can also pick the color scheme of the maze.  No matter what you choose, the game looks vibrant and colorful.  What's even better is the fact that everything in this game looks distinct.  You shouldn't have any problem spotting dots, power pellets, ghosts, or food at any given time.  Sometimes a sleeping ghost can blend in a little if you're playing with a green color scheme, but you can simply change the maze color if you have a problem with that.  

In addition to beautiful visuals, you'll also be greeted to a catchy techno soundtrack that fits the frantic nature of this game perfectly.  You can choose which track you want to play no matter which maze you're playing on.Time trial mode involves eating a certain amount of fruit within the time limit.  There are short time trials which usually last for a minute or less, and longer time trials which will take several minutes.  In time trial mode, you generally want to avoid waking up sleeping ghosts because score doesn't matter, and too many pursuers will get in your way and delay your completion of the stage.  In "darkness" mode, you'll play a time trial on any of the game's mazes, but most of the screen will be dark!  There will be spotlights on Pac-Man and the ghosts, and you'll also get a glimpse of half the screen whenever you eat a piece of food.Of course, score is exactly what you'll be playing for in score attack mode, which is probably the best mode in the game.  

You can choose to play either a 5-minute or 10-minute score attack game.  Aside from the time different, the main difference between the two is that you can pick a difficulty level for 5-minute score attack.  On expert mode, the game speed is the fastest you'll see in the whole game, which provides a challenge but also the greatest opportunity to rack up points.  No matter what variation of score attack you're playing, you want to play "Pied Piper" and wake up as many ghost followers as possible.  Similar to score attack is the "ghost combo" mode, where you'll try to round up and eat as many ghosts as you can in one single combo.  In this mode, it's the number of ghosts and not the score that counts, and you can end the round whenever you want to once you're satisfied with the combo you made.

When I initially started playing Pac-Man DX, I felt that the game was simply "okay". However, when I began to get the hang of it, I found myself hooked and not wanting to stop. This game provides intense, adrenaline-pumping gameplay that will suck you in and give you the drive to master it to the furthest extent of your ability. The only complaint I have for this game is the length, but the fact that it's an Xbox Live Arcade/PSN title and the addictive nature of the gameplay make it excusable. If you call yourself a gamer, you simply must experience Pac-Man's finest game yet!Score: 9/10I played this game for about 5 hours, and played every stage and gameplay variation at least once.  This game is available on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Microsoft Points and Playstation Network for $10.

Obsidian Entertainment Takes Reins of Dungeon Siege 3

 The tenacious crew at Obsidian Entertainment may have only just recently released the contemporary spy thriller Alpha Protocol, but now it seems they're taking a step back in time with the announcement that they will be taking the reins of the Dungeon Siege franchise. To those crying change, fear not; Gas Powered Games will be on standby, acting as an adviser for the project. 

If that doesn't settle any doubt you may have, just remember A Dungeon Siege Tale; no matter what your thoughts on Obsidian's recent efforts, I think it goes without saying that they would be hard pressed to crash and burn harder than Uwe Boll.Speaking of the deal, all parties involved had quite alot of nice things to say. On his involvement, Chis Taylor comments, “It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with Obsidian. They are a very talented developer who really knows what it takes to build a deep and engaging RPG experience, and I can’t think of a better group to continue the Dungeon Siege series”.

“It’s a distinct privilege and thrill to become a part of the DUNGEON SIEGE legacy,“ said Feargus Urquhart, CEO and Co-Founder of Obsidian Entertainment. “This partnership with Square Enix is a milestone for both Obsidian and the franchise, and the two companies’ strengths for compelling characters and storytelling will shine throughout DUNGEON SIEGE 3.”“Square Enix is proud to partner with Obsidian Entertainment for DUNGEON SIEGE 3,” said Mike Sherlock, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Square Enix Europe. “The company has a history in making some of the most immersive and entertaining videogames and be a legend soccer hack is a perfect fit to take the franchise forward and create a new benchmark for the action-RPG.” So it seems like they're all friends. That's good, right? What are your thoughts on this blossoming relationship?