As some of you may know, Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures will be released on the Wii U virtual console shortly. What you may not know is that Pac-Man 2 is a terrible mess of an unplayable broken game. Apparently, many people are unaware because it kept being praised on social media. This deserved an intervention. I had to bring back an old Review a Bad Game Day review that died along with another website. Of course, this is a repost, so expect some things to be out of context.
Do you like cartoons? Yes? Would you like cartoons in which the plot involves getting milk? No? Do you like Point and Click Adventure games? Yes? Do you like them on consoles? No? Do you like Pac-Man? Yes? Would you like a Pac-Man game where you don’t control Pac-Man? Not sure? Well… Have I got a game for you!(?)
I have to admit that I don’t know of too many bad games. In fact, last year, I reviewed a game I loved to make fun of, not necessarily a bad game. I even gave it a nice average score. This year, it’s different. This game ended up being infuriating too often considering its total length. Don’t expect any mercy for Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.
Developed by Namco and unleashed in April 1994 for the North American Market, Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures follows Pac-Man as he goes about his daily life inside a cartoon, inside a game. The point and click adventure genre is probably what defines this game in the simplest way. For a complicated description, you could say that it’s a mixture of The Sims, Tamagotchi, old Sierra games, licensed platformers, Mario is Missing and shooting gallery games.
You see, when I said that you follow Pac-Man, I meant follow, not control. While Pac-Man’s goal is to go about his daily boring life, your goal is to guide him the way any spiritual guide would: By using a slingshot on him and the ones he loves. The slingshot’s goal is actually to draw Pac-Man’s attention. You can also point a direction for him to be “careful of his surrounding”. As for Pac-Man’s actions. He walks, looks around, fails to buy hot-dogs, gets in fights, trips (he trips a lot), gets yelled at by locals, acts like an asshole, etc. As his guide, you must give him the proper directions needed to reach his objective, because, and I can’t stress this enough, he is USELESS without you.
Speaking of useless, I assume you figured by now that your controls are a “mouse pointer” crosshair on the screen that you move around using the D-Pad. Speaking of throwing controllers at the screen in frustration, you also have to keep Pac-Man happy. If he’s feeling down, sad or downright murderous, he will not listen to your “advice”. Thankfully, his detailed sprite will let you know about his exact mood.
After these mood indicators, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, the graphics are pretty top notch for the time. Pac-Man and the other around him are detailed and charming. The environments are vivid or gloomy depending on the mood needed to be set. There’s an attention to detail there, and it might be the biggest downfall of this game. With this presentation and the intro, even though you have some problems (see definition of an understatement) with the controls, the charm of the games keeps you playing thinking that you’ll get used to it. You do, eventually, get around to having mostly functional crosshair movement, but, at that point, the game throws platforming your way.
Jumping isn’t that hard of an action, except in this game. As Pac-Man looks down at the vast emptiness below him in absolute terror, you need to sling a rock up his ass, with good timing of course. Yes, really. Even better, the developers thought it would be fun to include a mine-cart level, because those are always easy and do not require precision, right Donkey Kong?
In these levels, three actions are required on your part. Firstly, you need to tell Pac-Man to go faster in some occasions to jump over the unannounced gap. Secondly, you need to fend off the ghosts trying to throw rocks at him using the slingshot. Thirdly, using the same slingshot at about the same time, you need to point on Pac-Man and use the aforementioned “jumping mechanic” to allow him to jump over some other rocks. This is where you realize how much of a delay jumping requires. Off course, realism wants you to press the button long enough for the slingshot to pull back and Pac-Man react to the pain of the rock. In short, if you press the button, Pac-Man will jump……………………………………………………… NOW!
Did I mention you start back at the beginning when you “die”? Did I mention you can’t go back once you enter the mine cart? Did I mention that the mine cart thing is optional? It’s only needed to pick up one of the three pieces of the game’s only secret collectible: A Ms. Pac-Man cartridge that allows you to play the NES version of Ms. Pac-Man in an in-game arcade. The other items you can pick up are either given to you by Ms. Pac-Man or picked up when defeating the ghosts. Don’t think Pac-Man can defeat ghosts on his own. You throw him a power pellet and let him know where they went. Take note that all three ghosts must be defeated to pick up their items (ID cards usually). You can’t really avoid picking these up, so they’re not too hard to find.
Anyway, since there are items, the game gives you your completion percentage at the end, which you can check anytime in the menu with a “special” button combination (hold Select and X in the menu). Fun fact: Since I picked up every item I could pick up in my complete playthrough, I managed to reach a completion percentage of a whopping 32%… How does that happen? THE HELL IF I KNOW!
If you think that doesn’t make sense, wait until you hear about the plot. As I mentioned before, Pac-Man goes about his daily life with his family including his wife Ms. Pac-Man, his son Pac-Jr. and Pac-Baby. This daily life will be split up in four missions culminating in a fight with the Ghost Witch and the gum monster she’s trying to create. Your first mission is to bring back milk for Pac-Baby… Yes. Really. You know, if I hadn’t just finished a tutorial, I could swear this could be the tutorial level.
Jon’s walkthrough part 1:
Beware of dangers such as:
Hot-Dog stealing stray cats, Jack-in-The-Box style cats in garbage bins, sleeping farmers, sleeping dogs, scavenger birds, poorly misplaced skateboards, road pebbles, people opening doors in your face and the ghosts. No, wait. The ghosts can’t really kill you.
Don’t forget to:
Help the little girl push her sofa to the other side of the room to find the first cartridge. Disregard the fact that it would’ve been more logic to push the couch so it’s centered with the TV.
To clear the mission itself, it’s 4 easy steps:
– Locate glass bottle and fail to reach for it
– Get attacked by bird who makes bottle fall over
– Milk closeby cow because apparently, grocery stores don’t exist
– That thing Pac-Man always forget
RIGHT, BRING MILK BACK HOME!
The second mission has you risk your life to pick up some random flower on a dangerous mountain where the aforementioned mine cart and an hang-glider mini-game take place. All this for a birthday gift for your neighbor, the emancipated little couch girl, Lucy.
Jon’s walkthrough part 2:
Beware of dangers such as :
Road pebbles (those damn dangerous pebbles), chasing butterflies, having too much fun in water, drugged fruits, vast emptiness, dangers above the “Danger Above” sign, optional minecarts and unsupervised logs.
Remember to :
Complete the infuriating, unnecessary mine cart mini-game for another “useful” cartridge piece.
To clear the mission itself, it’s 4 easy steps:
– Hop on the trolley to the mountain! Stereotypical, I know.
– Clear the hang-glider stage. Be careful of horribly vague controls!
– Go AROUND the obvious pebbles
– Bring back that flower to the logical place. (The logical place isn’t the house of the person you need to give it to. Hint: It’s Pac-Man’s house.)
The third mission involves an actual heroic act… kind of. Pac-Man needs to get his son’s guitar back. It was stolen by Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. And they went to……THE CITY! DUN DUN DUUUUUUN! (The only place you didn’t go yet.) Navigate around the city, defeat the ghosts and get the guitar back. After you give the guitar back to your son, he rocks out a love song for Lucy. Why haven’t I seen fanfiction of this?
Jon’s walkthrough part 3:
Beware of dangers such as :
Paint, disrespectful city cars splashing you, rogue fire hydrant, illegal sewer loitering from above, illegal sewer loitering in front of you, fragile park benches, sassy fish, sassy cats, gravity obeying flower pots, multi-fruit mutant trees, not so fun shopping cart and billboard attached zip-lines.
Let Pac-Man piss-off the guy at the balloon stand to go up to the buildings’ roofs. Then bring Pac-Man’s attention to the middle roof garbage bin around 86 times for him to kick it and reveal the last cartridge piece.
To clear the mission itself, it’s 4 easy steps:
– Hop on the train to the city.
– Try to walk all the way to the end of the city to piss off a random guard.
– The guard is actually the ghosts! (Surprise!) Defeat them and get the guitar back.è
– Ok. You have the guitar. Now what? I forget every time!
The last mission is quite different as you’ll face the Ghost Witch herself. For those as unfamiliar as I am with this character, she’s the boss of the other ghosts, except she has a humanoid form instead of being a weird blob thing. Up to this point, you have seen her get mad at the ghosts for failing at their missions of preventing Pac-Man from getting milk, a flower and a guitar respectively. How can those be related? You’ll see a bit later on.
The final quest begins with a TV news broadcast of complete chaos in the city as children getting attacked by the ghosts who are collecting… already chewed gum… They’re not robbing a candy store, they want soft, sticky, smelly chewed gum for their gum monster. Knowing that the Ghost Witch is behind all this (even though she’s presented as an unknown being in the intro), Pac-Man heads out to the city to save all the children who now cannot know the enjoyment of throwing their own pieces of gum away! I forgot to mention the link between this, the milk, the flower and the guitar? There is none. What did you expect?
Jon’s walkthrough part 4:
Your feeling of surprise when you see that nothing is different in the city, spending too much time at the arcade because playing the original Pac-Man is more fun than this game ever will be, the strange enjoyment of that factory part, the amount of time it’ll take for you to realize you must do everything to defeat the last boss, the realization that this final boss is actually a challenge, a gum chewing machine (that would’ve been more useful than using children), green chemicals, crane games, conveyor belts, the Ghost Witch’s vengeance coming to a store near you and the shards of the cartridge once you throw it on the wall after you’re done playing.
Use every technique you have learned in the game to help you defeat the boss. I’m joking! I’m joking! Seriously though, remember to NEVER PLAY THIS GAME AGAIN!
To clear the mission itself, it’s 5 easy steps:
– Hop on the train to the city to calm the chaos… Wait… There’s no chaos. It’s like nothing is happening. Guess the programmers couldn’t be bothered, right?
– Go through the sewer, into the factory.
– Reach the locked door in the factory. Use the ID cards on doors 4, 1 and 5. I checked a walkthrough, you should do the same because I have no idea how we’re supposed to know this.
– Defeat the gum monster and watch the generic generic.
– Realize you should’ve written down the password the last time you had a chance because we’re sure not going to give you one right now!
Despite the nonsensical plot, the horrible gameplay, the use of passwords in 1994 (WHY?) and the biased completion percentage, it’s Pac-Man’s character that marks my memory the most. Like I mentioned before, the graphics are pretty good and his animations are fairly charming. He feels really alive with his own personality, but he’s not likeable at all. Namco managed to make Pac-Man unlikeable. How can you mess this up? There are Pac-Man arcades in the game, meaning the people know he’s a hero, or at least a celebrity. But, nobody shows any love for him. At home, he looks like a sad, whipped husband. As you walk around, some people will actually stop him to yell at him. He gets splashed by cars, attacked by birds, chicken, fish, cats AND dogs. Even without any suggestion from your part, he’ll destroy a balloon stand merchandise, cut a park bench in half, almost kill a painter, vandalize a pizza place advertisement, yell a birds, piss off some fish. When he’s in a bad mood, he’ll yell at YOU, he won’t bother helping his neighbor and ONLY friend move her couch, kick everything in his way and steal a balloon.
As for what puts him in a good mood or a bad mood, generally, it makes him look quite pathetic.
Things that make him sad: “Dying”, not being able to steal an apple from a tree, generally being unable to reach something, being scared to jump over a gap, getting shot at by you, not being able to enter a building (due to it being closed), etc. Things that make him mad: getting shot by you, tripping, getting told repeatedly to check out something, broken vending machines, etc. Things that make him happy: Finding treasures, eating, seeing random animals, images, billboards, doing good at the arcades, etc. As you can see, he pretty much has the same priorities as a 2 year-old child. On top of that, like I mentioned above, he’s an asshole and an idiot. How can you forget to bring the milk back home unless going back home is what you want to avoid? Pac-Man sounds like the kind of person who feels like a hero while he’s just whining about other people trying to be happier than he is! Pac-Man sounds like the kinda person to join an MRA’s group.
Long story short: Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is a horrible idea, executed poorly. But at least it looks pretty… right?