(Atari/Namco, 1988)

Never heard of Jr. Pac Man before? Well if you haven't, then you're not the only one. Jr. Pac Man was actually one of Atari's late releases in 1987-8 era and most of the public all but ignored Atari's attempt to come back from the dead especially with the popular NES out there destroying the competition. The game wasn't even that popular in the arcade's either, because sadly by 1984, most people were getting sick of the Pac Man games in general. Jr. Pac Man just didn't get a lot of respect and I think that's wrong. If you're at all curious this forgotten title then you'll find a impressive fast paced action game with nice graphics, cool sound effects, plus the classic game play that's the hardest of the series and this kid is only on the Atari 2600.

Just like in any other Pac Man games out there you guide the beanie wearing Jr. Pac Man down large corridors as you eat all the on screen pellets on the board to finish the level including the all the power pellets too but be careful because those traditional Pac Man hating four ghosts that want to stop the son of Pac Man too. Most of those nasty ghosts return (Blinky, Pinky, and Inky) with the exception of Tim replacing Cydle and Sue as the Orange character. The ghosts are as wily as ever but since the levels are bigger than Jr. Pac Man can now eat one of SIX power pellets so he can even eat his ghost enemies to earn points but only for a limited time of course, and as the game progresses the time to eat the ghosts gets shorter and shorter. So the Pac Man game play still remains mostly intact because as Jr. Pac Man moves on to the next level the ghosts speed up their attack and the game becomes more intense with each board.

There are four different tables to master in the game and Atari was kind enough to give the player a list of options like levels selects and an option to pick to number of ghosts on screen. I don't know if selecting one ghost on screen will challenge anyone but in a game this difficult it doesn't hurt to practice I guess. Junior can earn some extra bonus point by collecting bouncing toys and other items like a glass of Root beer, a Kite, and more.

The mazes in Jr. Pac Man are not only different from the past games but they are also a lot bigger in size too. The screen even scrolls up and down unlike in the Atari Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man games for the 2600 which is quite a feet in itself. The game still as a blocky problem like Ms. Pac Man for the 2600 had. Jr. Pac Man is a solid flat yellow colour and the ghost still don't have any white eyeballs either but the animations were rather impressive because you see the little beanie spin and the ghosts look in the direction that they are going. Jr. Pac Man here is easily the best looking of the three Pac Man games on the Atari 2600.

The famous waka-waka sound effects are back! Both Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man for the Atari 2600 didn't have their arcade Waka-Waka sounds from the arcade games but this game has it. This game also has original start up, death, and even the intermission soundtracks available even though there are no cinemas here. "Its sounds arcade perfect!" Again, Jr. Pac Man here is easily the best sounding of the three Pac Man games on the Atari 2600.

Jr. Pac Man is famous for being one of the hardest old school arcade titles ever with it's all new huge new mazes (they are twice the size of the original Pac Man's mazes) to play on. It's a good game of Pac Man but it's a little too demanding at times but if you felt that Ms. Pac Man was too easy than this may be for you. You can also find Jr. Pac Man hidden away on the Sega Genesis game Pac Man 2 but it more of a Ms. Pac Man clone because the mazes are not as big so the Atari 2600 version is the far better choice! Not only is the skill level there but the graphics and the sounds are the best of the three 2600 made Pac Man games and it's also the rarest one too. Recommend to any hardcore Pac Man fans too and it's a must for the Atari 2600!


overall rating: 72/100

Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 4/10
sound: 5/10
gameplay: 5/10
replay: 6/10

(Ryan Genno) 2008

Other Games of the Month