(Namco/Midway, 1982)

If you're over twenty, like me, than you most likely know about a certain arcade hit that was practically all over the place when you were younger; the game was Midway's Ms. Pac Man. Weather it was a sit down table top game or a stand up cabinet no game was more popular in the early eighty, not even the original Pac Man game. If you're just out of prison or you're Amish or something, here's how to play the game; make Ms. Pac Man eat all the dots on the screen while avoiding the pesky 4 multi-coloured ghosts. As each stage passes the game gets slightly faster and the Power Pellet don't last as long. Plus unlike Namco's Pac Man's there are 4 different mazes to learn and master. Sounds simple enough, uh?

This game wasn't even made by Namco unlike Pac Man

The game play mostly remains the same as Pac Man. As Ms. Pac Man, you have to eat all the pellets on the board to finish the level but  be careful of the four wily ghosts Blinky (Red), Pinky (Pink), Inky (Blue), and new comer Sue (Orange) that chase Ms. Pac Man around the maze, one hit and she's a goner. Luckily for our brave yellow heroine that she can eat one of four corner flashing power pellets so he can turn the tables on the those rotten ghosts and eat them for points but only for a short period of time. The ghosts even give you more bonus points as you eat more than one. As you eat each ghost the points you earn are doubled so it's 200pts for the first, 400pts for the second, 800pts for the third, and a huge 1600pts for the last but you should also know that the ghosts will run away after you got that power pellet so eating them all is not as easy as it sounds. Ms. Pac Man can also earn some points by eating those many pellets and the new 7 bouncing fruits that move around the board instead of staying on the center of the screen every so often. "Funny that the bananas are worth the most at 5000pts isn't?!"

A good game is never too easy and Ms. Pac Man is no exception. The ghosts will manage to find and trap you if you're not too careful and the 7 different bonus fruits that bounce around the screen after every 70 and 170 pellet eaten will sometimes lure you to the ghosts by accident. Just like the original Pac Man, the 4 ghosts each act differently. Blinky (Red) is the hunter, Pinky (Pink, duh) is the ambusher and is quite smart, Inky (Blue) can scare easily and is not too smart, and Sue (Orange) acts randomly and is the dumbest of the four. Blinky and Pinky are the ones to watch out for because they always seem to know where Ms. Pac Man is on the board.

After you finish the first two levels, you get a whole new crazy maze.

Surviving the ghosts is even harder in Ms. Pac Man than the first Pac Man because of the increased AI, plus you have strange new mazes to learn to throw you off your game. After you finish the first two Pink mazes and see the 'They Meet' intermission you have to survive three new blue mazes. These blue mazes features longer corridors and longer one way paths for Pinky and Blinky to try and trap you more effectively. If manage too survive those three mazes than you'll see the 'The Chase' intermission and than you'll be taken to the new Yellow mazes. The Yellow mazes are actually easier to navigate thought than the blue mazes but now the ghosts are much faster and more intelligent. If you manage to survive four Yellow stages you'll see the very brief 'Junior' intermission and you'll go to the Dark Blue mazes.......... good luck even making it here.

The Yellow/Orange mazes features more traps for the ghosts to corner you. Be careful.

Ms. Pac Man may not be the most original game in the world but this spin off of Pac Man not only attracted more female players to the once male dominated arcades to but it also got the average arcade goer (like me) interested too because of its more in-depth and challenging game play. Even though I have my copy of Ms. Pac Man complete with the box and instructions but lets face it, the game is so easy to play that you don't need to read a 8 page booklet to understand what's going on here. That's the beauty of a good Pac Man game, eh? Although Pac Man is a great game and is bound to be Game of the Month one of these days (maybe September 2005) but Ms. Pac Man was part of my childhood and I just got to beat my last high score of over 80,000 points! Play Ms. Pac Man on the next generation system to save your high scores now. I'M ADDICTED TO THIS GAME! PLEASE HELP ME!

Few gamers will actually make it to these mazes.

Here is a strange video review where me and my friend play the Arcade version:

overall rating: 90/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 6/10
sound: 6/10
gameplay: 7/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2001

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