The weird, oft-forgotten Pac & Pal joins the Arcade Archives

Pac & Pal Namco Arcade Archives Hamster artwork

But where’s Chomp Chomp?

It’s another outing for a gaming icon in this week’s Arcade Archives entry, as everybody’s favorite pill-popper Pac-Man returns in one of his less-remembered releases, Pac & Pal, now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, courtesy of the fine folks at Hamster Corp.

Released to the arcade market in the summer of 1983, Pac & Pal is the third mainline entry in Bandai Namco’s in-house Pac-Man series, and sees the puck-shaped protagonist return to his maze-chasing origins. In Pac & Pal, Pac-Man must once again gobble up power pellets and items of fruit strewn around a series of mazes, while staying one step ahead of returning ghosts Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde.

New mechanics include cameo appearances from sprites pulled from other classic Namco releases, such as Rally-X and Galaxian, while Pac-Man himself is now able to utilize a laser to zap and stun his ghostly opposition. The titular “Pal” comes in the form of an A.I.-controlled friend, Mil, who will attempt to aid our hero by gathering items and bringing them to the center square for collection.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Were1974.

Bandai Namco had big plans for Pac & Pal, and intended to localize the title for western markets as Pac-Man & Chomp Chomp, which would see Mil replaced by the dog character featured in Hanna Barbera’s god-awful animated spin-off. Unfortunately, the market crash came a-callin’ and very few Pac-Man & Chomp Chomp cabinets were actually produced — most of which ended up circulating arcade centers in Europe rather than in North America.

While Pac & Pal is certainly not the best of Pac-Man’s adventures, it is a marvelous curiosity in regards to its weird “everything at the wall” design choices. Featuring characters from multiple games, an A.I. companion, and the aforementioned laser beam, Pac & Pal is a confusing entry in the legendary franchise, but no less an intriguing one for the very same reasons. It should also be noted that the title is included in the recent release Pac-Man Museum + on PS4, PC, Xbox, and Switch

Pac & Pal is now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8. It should also be noted that it is included in the recent release Pac-Man Museum + on PS4, PC, Xbox, and Switch.

About The Author
Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse
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