Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
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|Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures|
Genesis version cover art
|Distributor(s)||Nintendo Co., Ltd.|
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, known in Japan as Hello! Pac-Man (ハロー! パックマン?), is a side-scrolling adventure game "sequel" to Pac-Man. Instead of being a maze game like the majority of its predecessors, Pac-Man 2 incorporates light point-and-click adventure game elements. It was produced and published by Namco for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis systems, and was released on April 6, 1994 by Namco. The game borrows its structure and certain elements from Pac-Land, and also appears to contain certain elements from the animated series, such as Pac-Man's family and a main villain commanding the ghosts. The SNES version of Pac-Man 2 was re-released on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015.
Pac-Man 2 carries a style of gameplay similar to that of traditional Point-and-click adventures, but with a few key differences that set it apart from other games in the genre. Unlike most Point-and-click games where the player can interact with the environment via various commands, the player has no direct control over Pac-Man, who moves and interacts with the world, characters, and sometimes the player, mostly on his own. The only command that can be given is via the "Look" button, which makes Pac-Man look or turn in whichever direction is held on the control pad. The player instead takes the role of an observer, and, instead of directly interacting with the world by a standard click interface, is armed with a slingshot that can be used to indirectly affect or strike objects in the world, including Pac-Man himself.
Pac-Man 2's puzzles also depart from the standard mold of inventory, logic and physics puzzles typical of most point-and-clicks. Instead, solutions to puzzles often depend on managing Pac-Man's wildly different moods. Pac-Man's mood can change in response to what he encounters in his environment, or the actions the player takes; for example, shooting down an apple for Pac-Man to eat will make him happier, whereas shooting him on the head will gradually enrage him. There are other moods as well, such as sadness and fear, each with varying intensities. Making Pac-Man too happy, for example, will make him smug, which makes him braver, but also much more rude and less cooperative. While negative moods can often make progression difficult and can be difficult to change, sometimes these moods can be needed to progress in the game. Throughout the game, Pac-Man is occasionally harassed by Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde, the recurring ghosts of the Pac-Man series. When he encounters them, Pac-Man becomes paralyzed by fear and eventually faints, unless he is fed a power pellet by the player, of which 3 can be held at a time. If he eats one, Pac-Man becomes Super Pac-Man for a brief time and flies across the screen, eating any ghosts he sees. In some cases, the ghosts may be guarding important objects needed to progress.
In addition to the standard gameplay, there are certain sections of the game in which Pac-Man rides in hang-gliders or mine-carts, and the player must keep Pac-Man from crashing into obstacles or ghosts. These and other parts of the game are focused more on action and reflexes, and require good use of the slingshot to keep Pac-Man alive.
After an introductory sequence in which Pac-Man introduces himself and the game's mechanics, the plot unfolds as a loosely connected series of misadventures stemming from Pac-Man's quest to complete tasks for his family, all while the ghosts and their mysterious leader plot to destroy him. Pac-Man is first tasked with finding milk for Pac-Baby, which he procures from the local farm. Some time after, Pac-Man is asked by Ms. Pac-Man to pick a special flower for Lucy, a friend of Pac-Jr's for her birthday. Pac-Man is given a trolley ticket which he uses to venture into the nearby mountains, hang-gliding and dodging ghosts and boulders as he searches for the flower. Upon returning home with the flower, Pac-Man is exasperated to find that Lucy's party has already started, and that she has already been given another flower. Some time after, Pac-Jr comes home crying, and tells his dad that his guitar was stolen by ghosts while he was in Pac-City. Pac-Man is given a train ticket to travel to the city, where he meets a man selling balloons, and takes on a disgruntled security guard to get the guitar back. In the final segment of the game, Pac-Man discovers from a news report that the ghosts are stealing ABC gum from children all over Pac-City, at which point the Ghost Witch of Netor takes over the broadcast and challenges Pac-Man to face her and her newly created Gum Monster. He sets off to work his way through the abandoned factory where the monster is being created. The game culminates in a final battle between Super Pac-Man and the Gum Monster. After the Gum Monster's defeat, the Ghost Witch and her minions flee, and Pac-Man is congratulated by the town and his family as a hero, except that he didn't save their ABC gum.
During the game, the player can direct Pac-Man to one of two video arcades where a conversion of the original Pac-Man (based on the NES version, but with 16-bit graphics) can be played. The player can also complete an optional side quest by collecting three missing cartridge pieces. Once completed, a bonus game is unlocked in the arcades – in the SNES version, the bonus game is Ms. Pac-Man, while in the Mega Drive/Genesis version, an exclusive game called Pac-Jr. is unlocked instead. Pac-Jr. is a graphic and level hack of Ms. Pac-Man, and not a conversion of the unauthorized arcade game Jr. Pac-Man. This was done because a Genesis version of Ms. Pac-Man was already released prior to this game and Namco did not own the rights to Jr. Pac-Man at the time.
The game received mixed to positive reviews when it was first released. GamePro held that on the one hand the game is innovative, intriguing, and sometimes fun, but on the other hand the inability to control Pac-Man directly can be annoying and the game sometimes makes one wish for the simplicity of the original Pac-Man. Their review of the Genesis version was more positive. While the reviewer acknowledged that the gameplay is "an acquired taste", he wholeheartedly approved of the innovative challenge, and also praised the game's humorous animations and gibberish voicing. In November 1994, Famitsu magazine's Reader Cross Review gave the Super Famicom version of the game a 7 out of 10.