Pac-Man World 3 (GameCube) Review

By Adam Riley 28.07.2006 6

Pac-Man is celebrating his 25th anniversary in style this year. However, this time it is not in a traditional maze game, but a spin-off platform title that aims to be the best in the genre. But can a game such as this really take on the might of Mario et al? Find out as Adam Riley takes a closer look at the title...

Since Pac-Man is celebrating his birthday in real life, that is indeed the basis of the story for this third platform adventure. In what has to be one of the corniest introductions I have seen in a long time, he is stood looking very happy with his yellow self and ready to have some yummy cake when *blip* he disappears, only to reappear elsewhere in Pac-Village...This happens a few times until eventually he is teleported down into a strange world, where Pac-Man must figure out how to prevent the evil Erwin from taking over the world. Thankfully, he has the help of his technical friend Orson throughout the game. Thank goodness for that then...!

Screenshot for Pac-Man World 3 on GameCube

No longer is Pac-Man a very small, two-dimensional character that moves in four directions making wacca-wacca sounds. He has been fully fleshed out in 3D to wander round like an everyday human (albeit one with a severe case of jaundice…). The game is surprisingly easy on the eye, with well-animated characters and a refreshing amount of variety mixed into the levels you play through. Unfortunately the camera can be a little too erratic at times, but not to the point of ruining the game, more just adding a touch of extra frustration to the proceedings. As for the soundtrack, well, there is nothing major to report in terms of horrible tunes – everything falls under the ‘so-so’ category on the music side, with the amount of voice acting generally overshadowing any background ditties, despite the script being rather shaky. Mix in a wealth of classic Pac-Man sound effects and things are not as bleak as you may think.

So once all the presentational dust has settled, we are left with the bones of the game itself. Thankfully there is a sufficient amount of meat to get your teeth into, rather than merely being as scrawny as some recent platform efforts. There may not be innovation by the bucket-load, but Blitz Games has clearly worked hard to polish the standard fare as much as possible to ensure gamers that take the plunge are not left sinking with a heavy feeling of disappointment. Sticking with the tried-and-tested basic route of moving around, running and jumping onto various platforms seems to have paid off for Pac-Man World 3.

Screenshot for Pac-Man World 3 on GameCube

The problem with ‘paying homage’ to other games is that when you take a look at the final product, unfortunately you cannot help but be overly critical in your comparison of it to the other titles. This is the main sticking point with PMW3, as it could have been loved, but will forever languish in the land of mediocrity as it fails to lift itself above the games it is so keenly lifting from. There are mecha aspects mixed in, but they do not cause many sparks of interest; and there are the usual antics of defeating ‘bad guys’ by either punching them or jumping and stomping on their heads (the choice is dependent on what style of enemy you are currently facing – checking the location of their armour gives the biggest hint).

But there are, luckily, more than just those two attacks, as Pac-Man has the ability to grab his trusty power pills and crack out a few mega moves that leave the opposition shaking in their boots. Who said pill-popping was bad (for Pac-Man, that is…never do it in real life, okay kids! [/disclaimer])? Anyway, once stimulated, good old Paccers can do a hefty butt-bounce, release electrical energy and whip out his long, dangling…ribbon(?!) to attack enemies with! They may not be truly ground-breaking additions, but certainly add to an already solid third outing.

Screenshot for Pac-Man World 3 on GameCube

Other than the slightly problematic camera mentioned earlier, there is also an issue with the frame-rate in over-crowded areas, which is a shame since the GC is so powerful when used correctly. And there is also the recurring problem of seeming like a poor copy of Mario (wall-jumping is a main feature) and even Metroid (there is a move similar to Samus going into Morph Ball mode and dashing). But there are classic Pac-Man elements involved as well, such as being able to pick up pieces of fruit or play through traditional arcade Pac-Man mazes (after collecting a Galaxian item – a reference to Namco’s superb arcade space shooter).

The game may be quite simple to play through for any age group, but there are elements, like controlling ghosts to see hidden platforms or take part in 3D Pac-Man puzzles, that will keep you coming back for more. Add to that the wealth of hidden extras throughout and perhaps it may just last longer than you expect!

Screenshot for Pac-Man World 3 on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Surprisingly Pac-Man World 3 manages to avoid the trap of a developer sticking a well-known character in a genre they do not naturally belong to. The 3D world of Pac-Man actually works quite well, proving to be a thoroughly good adventure, if a somewhat familiar one due to all the 'lifted' features! Give this one a rent...

Developer

Blitz / Namco

Publisher

EA

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Nice review Adam and a surprisingly good score!

I was pleasantly surprised by it. Okay, it's very easy and seems to be aimed at a younger market...but I tried taking that into consideration with the review, rather than just ripping into it like some might do :Smilie

Cheers for sorting this out, by the way - just managed to get myself back online after a major struggle with my comp :roll:

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

No probs, taking the night off of work so I'm at C3's service :Smilie

Awesome stuff, Pacman's a brilliant little guy! He does look a little bit creepy though - too happy for his own good.

Good stuff Adam!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

You gotta be supscious of happy people they can strike at any time


Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

Thanks Jorge - Pac-Man chugs along like a real trooper. But his best outing in recent years is still the Miyamoto-driven Pac-Man Vs. That man is a genius...he should do a Mario / Pac-Man crossover! :-D

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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