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pacman

Namco Bandai has put two of its Xbox for Windows Phone titles on sale, PAC-MAN and PAC-MAN CE DX. As the name suggests, they're faithful ports of the vintage arcade game from the 80s where players control a character who enjoys eating yellow dots. The famous ghosts Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde attempt to prevent the dots from being gobbled up. The gameplay is both addictive and humorous and has been tried and tested as a definite purchase.

Both titles have been available on Windows Phone for some time now, but it's good to see them made more affordable.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Pac-Man Kart Rally

The selection of Xbox Live racers on Windows Phone varies widely in quality. Hydro Thunder GO and Need for Speed Undercover occupy the top end of the quality spectrum, while Cro-Mag Rally sits in a pool of ick at the bottom. Sadly, Cro-Mag Rally was also the only mobile Live kart racer for almost a year. Fast-forward to May 2012 and Namco Bandai surprised us all with Pac-Man Kart Rally. While it never matches the lofty quality bar set by the Mario Kart series, Namco’s racer still manages to be pretty fun, easily surpassing its only other Windows Phone competitor.

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Xbox Live: Three Namco Bandai titles updated

Three of Namco Bandai’s Xbox Live titles received updates last week, and we’ve tracked down their details. First off, the Pac-Man version 1.2 and I Love Katamari version 1.1 updates add Japanese language support to both games. Good timing, because Windows Phone 7 launched in Japan in August. Beyond the localization, both games remain identical to their previous versions.

More exciting is More Brain Exercise’s version 1.1 update. Here are its release notes:

  • Enhanced graphics
  • Improved responsiveness of swipe gestures
  • Fixed minor bugs: Achievements and date recording

Do the graphics look better? Maybe just a bit. But the important thing is those bug fixes. More Brain Exercise previously contained a Broken Achievement – “It’s Not Temporary,” which requires players to earn 100 points for Temporal Lobe exercises during Daily Training. The Achievement is now fixed; players who have already met its requirements just need to complete one more day of Brain Training to unlock it.

As for the date recording bug, previously the game would sometime skip ahead three calendar days. This made it impossible for players to complete training during the missed days. Thankfully that will no longer be a problem.

Oddly, the game’s start up screen still displays an ad for Xbox 360 Kinect title Body and Brain Connection that says “Coming in 2011” even though it’s been out for most of the year.  More Brain Exercise also badly needs a “Restart Exercise” option in the Pause menu.  Still, it’s great to see that Namco didn’t leave the game hanging with a broken Achievement and other nasty bugs.

All three of these Namco titles cost $4.99 each. You can find Pac-Man here (Zune link), I Love Katamari here, and More Brain Exercise here on the Marketplace.

A high five to anyone who can tell me what show the papercraft in the picture is from!

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Let’s see, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX recently hit Xbox Live. Everybody loves it, but they’re not crazy about the $6.99 price. Do the powers at Namco lower the price to make the Pac-public happier? No way, they put the original Pac-Man on sale instead. Pac-Man is the Deal of the Week at $2.99, down from $4.99.

Pac-Man is a straight port of the original arcade game. It contains a single maze which Pac-Man must clear of its dots and fruits repeatedly until the ghosts finally become too fast and take him down. Pac-Man was once a huge arcade hit and many of us fondly remember the original. Unfortunately, it’s not a terrific game on Windows Phone. As our review points out, the controls just can’t keep up with the challenging gameplay, plus the Achievements are like 3 cents and a Twinkie short of impossible. Buy it if you want a quick dose of nostalgia, but don’t expect anything near the fun and quality of Championship Edition DX.

Pac-Man is $2.99 for one week only and of course there is a free trial. Chomp it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX - Review

A long time ago, Pac-Man was king of the arcades. If you were a gamer, you were either playing Pac-Man or wishing you were playing it, and you never failed to ask asked your mom to make Pac-Man pancakes in the morning. Over the years, the yellow guy’s popularity has waned despite the occasional (and generally mediocre) sequel.

Fortune turned back in Pac-Man’s favor with 2007’s downloadable console title, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Critics and gamers alike praised CE’s return to classic-style game play and looks. Three years later, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX improved on CE’s foundations, creating the perfect Pac-Man game for the modern era. Now DX comes to Windows Phone with a few less features than the console version but just as much retro modern charm.

Turn a corner, watch out for ghosts, and head past the break for our full review.

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In the last few weeks, Microsoft has released so many Game Room titles to Xbox Live that even huge Game Room fans like me became weary. Next week’s Xbox Live release still has a retro flavor, but it’s actually a much newer and more exciting game: PAC-MAN: Championship Edition DX.

In our review of the original Pac-Man, I complained “This title offers so much less content than sequels like Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Championship Edition.” Namco has actually done me one better this time, because they skipped Championship Edition and went straight to its superior sequel, DX.

The console version of PAC-MAN: Championship Edition DX is an absolutely fantastic game. It features 9 different mazes, numerous selectable looks for Pac-Man and the ghosts, and three main gameplay modes: Score Attack, Time Attack, and Ghost Combo. DX throws dozens of ghosts on-screen at once, which might sound too hectic but is actually quite exciting and manageable in practice. Pac-Man even gains a bomb ability that knocks ghosts back to the center of the maze but resets the player's score multiplier.

Pac-Man CE DX is much easier than the first Pac-Man game, so it should be a better fit for mobile phones. Unlike the original Pac-Man game, this one is played in landscape mode, which should reduce the number of accidental presses of the nefarious Home and Search buttons.

The only bad news is its price: $6.99. Namco’s mobile games don’t come cheap. But thousands of gamers happily paid $10 for the Xbox 360 version; if the phone version matches the console game's greatness, 7 bucks won’t sting a bit.

The Windows Phone version of PAC-MAN: Championship Edition DX will debut on Wednesday, May 18.

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Pac-Man - Review

Pac-Man is one of the most-ported games ever, and now Namco brings it to Windows Phone 7 as an Xbox Live title. This version is faithful to the arcade original, but lacks any bells-and-whistles to get excited over and introduces a few new problems.

Everybody knows how Pac-Man works, so let’s focus on what’s changed for Windows Phone 7. The game is played from a vertical orientation. The actual play field takes up the top two-thirds of the screen, with a virtual joystick on a plain blue background at the bottom. Super bland menus that use an ugly font further contribute to a mediocre presentation.

To find out whether our circular arcade hero gets the ghosts or if they get him instead, chomp a power pellet and head past the break.

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