The High-Def Arcade Page 5

Pac-Man Championship Edition (Namco)

Then: Now:

When you want classic arcade gaming, look no further than Pac-Man. This yellow, dot-munching superstar has consumed more quarters than a thousand Laundromats, and helped raise an entire generation of gamers. Since it was released in 1980, the Pac-Man formula has remained essentially identical, and it's worked. For three decades gamers have loved running around mazes, eating pixels and avoiding ghosts. Besides 1981's Ms. Pac-Man, it simply hasn't produced any sequels that came close to the original's popularity and polish.

Enter 2007's Pac-Man Championship Edition, a remake/sequel to the original Pac-Man that doesn't just infuse it with gorgeous 720p graphics, but offers up some surprisingly compelling, updated gameplay. This time, the maze is a living, constantly-changing thing. No longer do players simply jump to the next level when they eat all the dots on the screen. Instead, the maze is split up into two halves, and when the dots on one half are consumed, it seamlessly morphs into a new configuration. This new gameplay mechanic doesn't just ensure a smooth flow as the game progresses, but also adds a fantastic element of variety and excitement. No longer are levels laid out before you to inspect before you begin; now they change around you while you play.

The soundtrack has also been given an impressive overhaul. While Namco left the game's classic beeps and bloops intact, it added some subwoofer-thumping electronic tracks to the playlist that compliment the new graphics. Now while you hear Pac-Man go "Wakka-wakka-wakka," you'll also hear the music go "Oontz-oontz-oontz."