(GB / Game Boy)

Pac-Man (GB / Game Boy)

Game Review

Pac-Man Review

Europe PAL Version

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.

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User Comments (33)



pntjr said:

Pacman is overated. Just buy one Pac Man and you're good to go. You don't need like 10 copies of the same game.



Detective_TeeJay said:

I don't own any version of Pacman and I've only played it a few times at arcades. I might pick this up, but for what we're given the price seems a little steep. Maybe I'll wait for a better version to appear in the eShop.



Supremeist said:

Might get it, might not. Still not sure. Looks fun, although I already own Pacman and Galaga Dimensions.



Teh-Ray said:

I still don't get why this is out, when Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions just came out. That one has the arcade version on it.



Scissors said:

I was hoping the next VCON game would be Return of Samus in honor of Metroid's 25th.



Skotski said:

I dunno... I might actually get this.
I play light games more on my DS/DSi/3DS more than on my phone.
And to have one on my menu without having to put in a cartridge or disk into any system sounds pretty good... though still a tad overpriced even considering the convenience.



LordAndrew said:

Totally pointless when Namco just released a 3DS compilation that includes the arcade version of Pac-Man.

You know what? I'm going to go play my GBA Pac-Man Collection now.



Azikira said:

OR you could go get Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions and get better versions of them all plus a few other goodies~



StarDust4Ever said:

Why didn't they release the Special Color Edition? I had fun with that one, and you could see a little bit mord of the maze, too. I still had billions of accidental deaths in the warp tunnel due to not seeing the ghosts on the other side. It also included Pak-Attack, which was a nice diversion.

I also didn't get GB Qix for the same reason: It looks really bland with no color, and there were better portable versions. I hope they release some decent titles (Mario Land II, III, as well as all the Wario Lands...)



Bass_X0 said:

Why didn't they release the Special Color Edition?

Same reason nobody else has released a GBC game yet. Whatever that reason is. Seems like companies supporting the 3DS Virtual Console are mostly concentrating on their earliest games.



Burning_Spear said:

This doesn't make much sense. I have plenty of love for this game, but this port is hurt by the GameBoy's screen-size limitation. It would have made so much more sense to re-release the NES version. There are plenty of GameBoy titles that will transition well to the VC service. ... This is not one of them.



TromaDogg said:

Um...Marcel, you do know that you can have the whole maze displayed on the screen at once by changing the options don't you? Or have they removed that function from this port?

Either way, it's a very, very average version of an already basic game and definitely not worth paying the slightly higher price for.



Bass_X0 said:

Burning_Spear, nobody is releasing NES games on the 3DS at this exact moment in time. Later they will, but the superior NES version isn't currently an option. The only good game that Namco has to release on the Game Boy is Great Greed, an apparently decent RPG, but even that is an unknown game and looks dated and simplistic these days. But yeah, if its a Namco release on the Game Boy, its likely to be a poor conversion of one of their older arcade games. Namco just didn't release that many games on the GB.



mgray5159 said:

Why does Nintendo continue to release garbage for the eShop. No one wants crappy gameboy games.



Bass_X0 said:

80% of the Game Boy's library are kinda crappy. It was Namco who released this though, it wasn't Nintendo's fault.



Olaf-symbiote said:

I got this yesterday. It's the first time I've bought a Pac-Man game ! This'll be my only version too, as you only need one Pac-Man game, since the classic Pac games are always mostly the same...



Blue_Yoshi said:

Why get a game thats already out in its original colored form with better iterations of it out on virtually every platform. I dont recall seeing this on the VC tho.



grumblegrumble said:

I think it's great they are concentrating on releasing some of the older GameBoy games on VC. I disagree with someone above who said 80% of the GameBoy library is crappy. On the contrary, there are many great titles (like this one) that are out there that most of you haven't even played. I may be alone in this but I love Pac-Man, in all it's forms This is a great piece of retro history



WesFX said:

"Nintendo have decided"?
Right. I'm sure the owners of the games (Namco Bandai) have no say in how their games are priced on the eShop.

That makes sense.



Matty2310 said:

I'm going to buy Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions sometime, so I think I'll pass on this.



Soupeep said:

If you think about it you could never lose on this version because of the Restore Points that you can now use, so if you just create one of them every so often then you can keep going forever! Well that would be rather pointless and not very fun...

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