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Pac-Man World Rally review

Pac-Man comes out of retirement for a competent but forgettable Sunday drive

For

  • Classic track design
  • Unlockable shortcuts
  • Chomping opponents

Against

  • Craptacular battle mode
  • Thinly differentiated weapons
  • Too easy

You know a video game character has faded from relevance when its "intellectual property" spits out a rally racing game in frustration. For every Mario Kart there are piles of pitiful cash-in dreck that go from the development cradle directly to the bargain bin grave.

Pac-Man World Rally, surprisingly enough, bucks this trend to a certain degree, by somehow managing to salvage archaic ideas like dot-munching and power pellets into elements that don't seem entirely out of place. Each character - Ms. Pac-Man, the ghosts, Pac-Devil and several others - drives a different goofy vehicle belonging to one of three weight classes. We don't recall Pac-Man having an ATV, but we're willing to look the other way when he's racing next to Katamari Damacy's tiny Prince.

Apart from a unique retro trip through the Pac-Man maze and a surprising Galaga crossover, the fifteen courses run the usual gamut from haunted house to factory to pirate ship. They're still quite well designed, however, striking a keen balance between challenging power-slide turns and no-brainer straightaway jumps, without ever losing sight of the decidedly younger target audience these characters appeal to most. The eye-catching art direction of the environments, and the high quality of the accompanying music, actually seem somewhat out of place, easily out-pacing the luke-warm expectations such a stale license warrants.

More Info

GenreRacing
DescriptionIt recycles a few old ideas well, and sports uncharacteristically classy art direction and music, but its strictly by-the-numbers gameplay is plainly disposable.
PlatformPSP, GameCube, PC, PS2, Xbox
US censor ratingRating Pending, Rating Pending, Rating Pending, Rating Pending, Rating Pending
UK censor rating3+, 3+, 3+, 3+, 3+
Release date:22 August 2006 (US), 24 August 2007 (UK)
Available platforms:PS2
Genre:Racing
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