Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Pac's back to steal your money
Everybody knows Pac-Man. The game's been ported to just about every platform under the sun, including the NES version on the Wii Virtual Console. It's now being released yet again on the 3DS Virtual Console, but is it worth another investment?
Of course, there is absolutely nothing different about the gameplay in this version of Pac-Man. We've all played it, you just move around the maze collecting all the pellets while avoiding the ghosts, grabbing super pellets to temporarily gain the ability to eat them.
Functionally, the game is the same as any other version and plays fine. Aesthetically, however, the Game Boy version of Pac-Man offers nothing more than the NES version and, in fact, could be considered inferior. The lack of colour and the much smaller screen take even more away from what was already a very simplistic, basic game. The portable screen also makes the game much harder than it should be: the score area takes up almost a third of the screen, leaving very little room to see what is going on as only a relatively small part of the stage is displayed at one time.
From there it's really just the same as usual. You'll probably get through a few levels before losing all your lives, either trying one more time or just shutting the game off. It's entertaining for a while, but not really great for long playing sessions.
Of course, one could make the argument that an arcade experience like Pac-Man is better suited for quick sessions on the go, but there's been several different, better versions of the game released on older Nintendo handhelds. A notable example is another port of the NES version for the Game Boy Advance, meaning this Virtual Console release seems like a big step backwards. It must also be said that features such as suspend save and restore points serve little purpose, as those familiar with the title would expect.
Meanwhile, Nintendo have decided that this version of Pac-Man is worth the premium price tag, giving it the higher of the two potential prices for Game Boy games on the 3DS Virtual Console. Pac-Man in general is a timeless classic, sure, but this version should take a very, very low priority when compared to some of the other great games already available on the service.
The Game Boy version of Pac-Man plays the same as always, but in terms of presentation it's a bit less appealing, with the price tag potentially being another reason to think twice about picking this version up. You're better off getting one of the dozens of other versions, including the NES game on Wii Virtual Console, or Namco Museum DS, which includes the arcade game plus several other titles.