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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Namco
Developed by: Namco
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: April 26, 2005
Written by: Alex Sohani

Pac-man, a series that has been around for years, has finally made it onto the DS! His newest installment, Pac-Pix, uses some unique features from the DS, making it one of the most innovative games around. Using the Magic Pen (aka the stylus), our hungry friend will help protect everyone from the evil ghosts invading the world!

The plot starts off introducing the main factor of the game, Ghost Ink. Ghost Ink is special ink created by an evil wizard that will turn anything that is drawn into a ghost! When the ghosts were drawn, they began infesting books all over the world, creating havoc to everyone. Pac-man knew this problem needed to be solved, so he took his Magic Pen, and began to stop these evil ghosts from causing so much trouble. With his Magic Pen, our puck friend drew Pac-men, and gobbled up all of the ghosts, and when he finally captured all of the remaining ghosts into one last book, the ghosts used all of their energy to create him into a piece of paper!

Pac-man awoke to find himself a flattened version of himself on a piece of paper. The ghosts have prevented him to use the Magic Pen any longer, and now there is no way to stop them! Our flat yellow friend realizes that you are still around to use the Magic Pen, and chomp up all of the ghosts. Now it is up to you to chomp up all of the remaining ghosts, and vanquish Ghost Ink for good!

The plot fits the game pretty well, but it is aimed more towards younger audiences because it is shown in a storybook style, and it is a very simple plot to understand. Although the storyline may be a bit corny, it fits in perfectly with the games style, and you really don’t hear much from the tale until after the game is over! After this intro, it is time for you to learn how to use the Magic Pen!

When Pac-man teaches you how to use the Magic Pen, the game goes into a tutorial where he tells you which shapes or gestures to draw, and how to maneuver your own version of our chomping hero. The version you draw can be any size, and the bigger you draw them, the slower they are. The same goes the other way. Tiny Pac-Men go extremely fast, so be careful about which size you draw! As well as all of that, 4 Pac-men can be on the screen at one time, but the more of your creations you have on the screen, obviously the more commotion. To maneuver the Pac-men, the gamer must draw a line in front of the crazy creations in the direction they want it to go, or if gamers want to move their hungry pal backwards, they can pin him down with the stylus, and pull him back a little bit to prevent him from going off the edge of the book.

When you first enter the Pac-Pix realm, gamers will notice they are given a limited amount of Pac-men to draw per level, a time limit, and a number of ghosts that needed to be eaten to move on to the next part of the level. If all of the Pac-men can be drawn are all lost, or if all of the ghosts aren’t eaten in the time limit, gamers automatically lose the level, and have to start over. Gamers need to constantly be aware of everything going on, especially the time limit, and the amount of ghosts.

Pac-Pix really gives you the power to choose Pac-man’s fate when guiding him around the pages of a book. Your creations can go from the bottom screen into the top screen if it is open, and you can even draw objects to help him out. One of these is the arrow feature, and when you unlock this feature, the arrow gesture will be available at your disposal. When you draw the arrow gesture, the arrow will go shooting off straight in the direction you drew the tail of the arrow. You can use this feature to pop bubbles that ghosts are inside of, hit various switches on the top or bottom screen, and hit ghosts with the arrows to make them freeze and become vulnerable. The other feature given in the game is the bomb feature, and it is used to help your chomping friend out a lot as well by allowing you to blow up various obstacles like walls around ghosts and switches, and even ghosts with covering over them. Just like the arrow feature, the bomb feature can be used to stop ghosts in their tracks as well.

In each course that passes by, there are new enemies that appear and show off their stuff. There are many unique types of ghosts that have their own little quirks to them that make them different from eachother. For instance, there is one type of ghost that moves very fast when Pac-man approaches, and there are many other types of these troublesome ghosts, like some that have to be chomped on twice, some that can only be eaten from the back, and even ghosts with numbers on them that must be eaten in order. Each of these unique undead critters needs to be taken a different way, and each has its own strategy of being eaten.

With new enemies appearing, there have to be new obstacles like blocks, and rocks, which block Pac-man’s way and cause him to go bouncing off in the opposite direction. Also there are certain objects that will help you like mirrors, which will send your arrow bouncing so you can hit at different angles. Also, different types of switches, and bonus items will appear during the game that can either help you, or hurt you!

As well as the new enemies and obstacles appearing, there are also boss battles in this game. The boss battles are usually pretty long, and each boss has its own unique way of being beaten. Sometimes, the bosses require you to just draw a bigger Pac-man, while other bosses require you to be drawing non-stop. It all depends on which level you are in (the higher the more difficult), and what is required to beat the boss. Bosses appear once every few levels in the game.

When you turn on Pac-Pix and the menu comes up, there are 2 places you can choose to go to. You can either go to play in the Story mode, or go to the gallery. In Story Mode, or Book mode, there are 12 levels, and each level has 5 or 6 sublevels in it (1-1,1-2,etc.). With each sublevel, the game becomes a little bit harder with more challenges to overcome, or even making gamers think hard about what moves they should make first. At the end of each level, you earn a ranking for your performance, there are several different ranking, and you might get some special cards for high rankings!

In Gallery mode, there mare many options to choose from, and some things you can do are look at cards you have unlocked, view explanations of the different gestures you need in the game, view the opening and ending movies of the game, and go to sketchbook mode. In Card mode, basically you can view cards you have unlocked, and there are plenty to collect. You already view the explanations and the opening and closing videos during the game, but if you forgot something from the explanation or story, or didn’t understand, you can go back and view these videos. Finally sketchbook mode is a free mode where you can just draw for fun. There are secret gestures in this mode that cannot be used during the game. Can you find all of these secret gestures?

Pac-Pix definitely shows some great imagination when it comes to its graphical style. The layout looks like a giant book with blank pages. In the game, there are cartoon like ghosts, making the game look like an in motion picture book. As well as that, in this game, different things like shooting arrows and blowing up bombs has some great quality. The game moves fluidly, and has graphics that definitely fit the game very well. They definitely appeal to a children’s imagination, because in a way, you make your own graphics by drawing whatever you need to finish a level. Overall, the graphics may not be incredible, but technically gamers make their own graphics.

Sound in the game is decent considering the fact that there really isn’t too much sound going on. The only real sound going on in the main game is the sounds of the “Magic Pen”, Pac-man chomping away, arrows shooting off, bombs exploding, items appearing, and of course the music that plays in the background. The sounds match the actions very well, like Pac-man chomping sounds like the arcade days of our old hero, while arrows shooting make a “whoosh!” sound, and bombs obviously make an exploding sound.

The music in the game has a pretty nice tempo, and matches the storybook setting of them game. It isn’t too terribly fast of a tempo, but a pretty moderate tempo that will keep you playing and enjoying the music. The music shown in the game is remixed music from the original Pac-man games, and it definitely brings back memories of the old gaming days. Although there are only a few tracks, you barely notice the music because you are so concentrated on the game.

In gallery mode, there are more songs to hear, and in sketchbook mode, you might find some new sounds by drawing new gestures. Unlike the story mode song though, these songs are much slower. There isn’t much more to say that there are a few more songs in this mode than story mode, but these sounds are nothing unexpected from a typical game.

Replay Value:
Replay value in the game is amazing, because there is so much creativity involved in this game. It is easy to go back to various levels because once you beat a level, you can easily go back and play it. As well as that, there are a few unlockables at the end of the game that will keep you coming to play more. As well as that, the card collecting system in interesting, and high scores gets you more cards; so beat your high score for more cards! As well as that, the game records scores, and every gamer loves to beat his/her high score!

Closing Comments:
Pac-Pix is definitely a great addition to the Pac-man series. The game blows many gamers away in terms of innovation, and this game will definitely be remembered in the future for innovation. It is one of the best games out on the DS so far, and definitely one of the most innovative games created! This game will definitely be looked back on as an innovative game, and it is pure genius! This is definitely a great choice for a game to pick up, and plus, who wouldn’t want to create his/her own Pac-man?


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