How our hero has fallen
"I think we have a demographic for it," I was told by a Namco Bandai PR rep. Let me back up -- mere moments earlier, he asked what I thought of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures; I returned his questioning with nothing more than a five-second blank stare. Fittingly, that blank stare was encapsulating of all that Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures appears to stand for -- an emotionless venture that's devoid of any soul or effort, and will simply be dismissed as an awkward misstep almost immediately.
But here we are, me telling you about a videogame that makes me twitch when I think about it, you sadly shaking your head at the shell of a character the once iconic Pac-Man has become.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a third-person semi-platforming chomp-n-slash affair slated for fall, and based on the recently released children's television show of the same namesake. Ghosts have taken over the town (I think), and Pac-Man needs to win it back (I think). Ghosts can be dispelled by clumsily lunging in their direction and biting at them. On the likely chance that Pac-Man's power meter is full, a special attack can be activated -- normal Pac-Man's turn all the ghosts blue and scare them.
Notice I say "normal Pac-Man." There are power-ups scattered throughout the levels that give him a special suit and ability. The only one I saw was Chameleon Pac-Man, who could latch onto things with his tongue, and had the super powers of turning invisible and making me cringe really hard.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventure's visuals are basically on-par with what you'd expect from a game like this. It looks a bit rough around the edges, but nothing that's absolutely debilitating. However, Pac-Man's eyebrows are a cause for concern and nightmares.
Though given only one level, it was pretty easy to tell that that's all Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has going on. It's glaringly obvious that it'll be repetitive and mindless to the point of ridiculousness. Sure, there will be a demographic for this game, but the word "Pac-Man" isn't going to mean a substantial thing to any of them. Namco took a big step forward a few years ago with the Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, a game that inspired hope for the future of Pac-Man. Ghostly Adventures feels like it'll be a seven-inch stiletto heel in his non-existent throat.