Ms. Pac-Man - The Atari Times
She's been on practically every game system, and the Lynx!
by Gregory D. GeorgeJune 17, 2014
What hasn't already been said about Ms. Pac-Man since it's release in 1982? Um, letsee... it's the sequel to the original Pac-Man, it was hacked into existence from Pac-Man by General Computer Corporation (makers of the Atari 7800), it has more mazes, more variety, she has a bow on her head... (I can't think of the game without hearing her say, "I'm more than Pac-Man with a bow!")
When it was originally released, I scoffed at the game. "But we already have a maze-muncher game with Pac-Man!" Little did I know that the addition of new mazes and bouncing fruit would add so much to the formula! Moreso than some of the other Pac-Man games like Pac-Man Plus, or Pac & Pal, or Super Pac-Man... Those games were just missing something special that Ms. Pac-Man had.
The game's incredible popularity must have made for an easy decision to release it on the Atari Lynx. And it's made a great, almost perfect, transition. Ok, sure the resolution is not even close to the original, but it's still fun to play!
Graphics & SoundYes, the maze just barely fits on the Lynx's screen. Each pixel is a dot. The monsters (not ghosts!) lack the eyes to tell you what direction they are moving. You can barely make out her red lips and bow. But the most grievous error is that there is no salt on the pretzel! The horror!
Still, the colors are right on and it looks like Ms. Pac-Man shrunk down to the Lynx screen. Still, I wonder if the programmer could have made the screen scroll like some of the other portable versions?
As for the sounds... Yes, it sounds like Ms. Pac-Man! The Lynx does a good job of replicating the original. Were you expecting otherwise? There's even the music during the intermission screens.
Gameplay & ControlsTruthfully, I did play this on the Handy emulator even though I have the game on my real Lynx... From memory the controls are just as good on the real system. Holding a direction before you reach the point where you want to go that direction works fine. (Some Pac ports have trouble with that surprisingly.)
I've always liked the gameplay of Ms. Pac-Man. It's fast, fun, frantic... Although this version has a tendency to speed up a bit as you play. Maybe the number of dots on the screen is too much processing for the Lynx? Dunno. (Or could just be some crappy emulation issue.)
You can zip in the tunnels, eat the power pills, chase the monsters, eat the fruit... All the typical things. Seems like the monsters are better at escaping than in the 7800 version. And I highly doubt the patterns work from version to version. They are clearly different from the 7800 version!
OverallDon't tell my wife, but I love Ms. Pac-Man. She represents video gaming far more than Lara Croft or whoever else is the female character of the month in gaming. As versions go, the Lynx version is very close to the original arcade and I would play it often if my Lynx got more regular use thesedays.
Is it a showpiece for the power of the Lynx? Not really. But I bet if you had a stack of Lynx games to choose from, Ms. Pac-Man would definitely get a, "Cool, time for a game!" from any passerby.
Now, my final question is: When is Ms. Pac-Man Championship Edition coming out?!
Ms.Pacman is my all time favorite video game, I spend 100's of hours playing it in high-school and now I play it at http://www.funzola.com/retro/ms-pacman.php
Thanks for all the info, keep up the good work !!