|Ava-Robin Cohen (GCC)
|Programmed in 1984, but
not released until 1986.
Following the success of Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Super Pac-Man,
Bally-Midway decided that they would release yet another Pac-Man game.
The problem was how did they keep the Pac-Man concept fresh while still
staying close to the gameplay of the original? The answer?
Jr. Pac-Man! I suppose they could have combined Pac-Man and Ms.
Pac-man and gone with she-male Pac-Man, but then again maybe Jr. Pac-Man
was the right decision.
Jr. Pac-Man features the same old Pac-Man formula (much dots, avoid
ghosts, eat power pellet, eat ghosts), but with a new twist. The
mazes of Jr. Pac-Man are bigger than the screen (much bigger), so the
whole maze scrolls as you move around. Not only were the maze sizes
increased, but the moving prizes (which were introduced in Ms. Pac-Man)
now have the ability to destroy your power pellets! The prizes also
increase the size of the dots they touch making you move slower as you
eat them. Also improved for Jr. Pac-Man were the ghost's AI's, now
avoiding them is harder than ever.
While all these changes were well and good for the arcade,
how did they translate onto the 2600? Well I'm happy to say that
Jr. Pac-Man is one of the most impressive 2600 games I've ever seen. Not
only was all the gameplay from the arcade game left intact, but the graphics
are outstanding! Only a tiny bit of flicker in the ghosts keeps
this version from being nearly arcade perfect. The programmers over
at GCC obviously knew their stuff, and it shows! However as good
as Jr. Pac-Man was, it almost didn't get released! Since Jr. Pac-Man
was completed in 1984, it was a victim of the market crash. Thankfully
Atari decided to release it when they revived the 2600 in 1986, so the
world finally got to see this little gem. Sadly other completed
games weren't so lucky.
Jr. Pac-Man is quite simply one of the most impressive
games in the 2600's library. Fast action, awesome gameplay, and
a stiff challenge, keep Jr. Pac-Man from gathering dust on the shelf.
Luckily this was one of the titles that O'Shea stocked for quite
some time, so Jr. Pac-Man is relatively cheap and easy for the average
gamer to find. Now if only they had made Super Pac-Man for the 2600
my Pac-Man fix would be complete.
to 2600 Software