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Pac-Man - Xbox Live Arcade review

When does nostalgia turn into plain old ancient history?


  • No instructions necessary
  • Cheap - 400 points
  • Free gamer picture with purchase


  • No two-player
  • Mushy control
  • Gameplay gets tedious

A true coin-op classic, Pac-Man ushered in the wave of non-shooting "cute" games in 1980 and gets credit as gaming's first pop-culture phenomenon. That's great, he's historically important - but do you still want to hang out with him?

Maybe not. Pac-Man is groundbreaking but ultimately pretty boring. As you race around gobbling dots, the maze never changes; only the speed of the monsters, the length of their vulnerability and the routes they take deviate between stages. The game also suffers from some of the same problems as its Xbox Live Arcade stablemate Galaga - namely, the removal of two-player mode in any from from the arcade original, and a need for a more precise controller. Even if the graphics and sounds are what you expect, the mushy directional pad and delicate analog stick don't respond with the same snap as an old four-way joystick, so it's hard to get the true coin-op feel here. It sucks to miss your escape routes because of a "soft" controller.

It's hard to not want this bit of nostalgia for 400 Microsoft Points (just $5), but we're betting the much more enjoyable and replayable Ms. Pac-Man waits in the wings. If you're on the fence about the original Pac-Man, stay there and see if his old lady comes looking for him later in the year.

More Info

DescriptionAn arcade classic celebrating furious gluttony lives again on Xbox Live Arcade...but with all due respect to history, it's kind of boring.
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingEveryone
Release date9 August 2006 (US), 9 August 2006 (UK)