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While it looks awfully similar to 2007's Pac-Man Championship Edition, DX's gameplay is actually quite different, and it's aimed at a broader audience than the first CE's hardcore-only traditional Pac-Man fare. That's not to say the difficulty isn't there for those who can handle it, but there's definitely a range of options this time for all skill levels.
The main difference in gameplay in DX compared to traditional Pac-Man revolves around a new kind of ghost. There are still regular ghosts that start in the ghost house in the center and wander around the map getting in Pac-Man's way, but now there's an additional type of ghost that lies in wait all over the maze. Sleeping ghosts sit frozen in various formations on the maze, and when you pass them they wake up and follow behind Pac-Man in an adorable rainbow conga line.
Your objective is to navigate the maze as you usually would, collecting pellets and avoiding ghosts, while passing as many sleeping ghosts as you can to build up a huge chain of ghosts following behind. Once you've got a good conga line going, find a power pellet and then turn around and eat the whole queue of ghosts like a 6 ft novelty burrito. So satisfying.
When you get close to colliding with a ghost, everything automatically slows down to a kind of bullet-time mode, so you have a chance to try and out-maneuver your assailants. To purists it may sound like that would defeat the purpose of Pac-Man's main mechanic, but it's a welcome addition especially given how fast the gameplay becomes after you've been playing awhile. During our demo there were times when everything was moving so fast that we lost track of what was going on, so it's definitely still a very twitchy experience.
Above: If you get stuck in a tight spot, you can use a Geometry Wars-style bomb to send all the ghosts back to their house
Pac-Man CE DX's new mechanic certainly seems to work well and offers a surprisingly fresh take on an old game, but it's the superslick presentation that sends it over the edge into possible addiction territory. The graphics and rainbow color palette are a pleasure to behold, and there are tons of options to swap out templates to change the look and feel of the game. The music too is fittingly energetic, and the pumped up techno beats complement the futuristic-meets-psychedelic aesthetic nicely.
Look for our full review when Pac-Man Championship Edition DX releases later this fall for XBLA and PSN.
Sep 9, 2010