Sometimes the product placement in a game is fairly innocuous, but sometimes the game beats you over the head with it. In case you didn't guess by the name, Pac-Mac falls into the latter category. From controlling Ronald McDonald to the giant golden arches filling the screen, there's no denying the McDonalds tie-in with this game. In fact Pac-Mac may be one of the first video games with a fast food tie-in.
Although Pac-Mac is blaintantly commercial, it's actually not too bad of a bad game. You play the role of Ronald McDonald who must protect the precious Golden Arches from hungry aliens. Apparently these poor critters can't tell the difference between the metal of the Golden Arches and a McDonalds hamburger (no surprise there), as they'll gladly eat either. So you must guide Ronald around the screen and shoot (serve food to) aliens before they eat the arches. Sound corny? You bet!
Eventually, despite your best efforts, the aliens will start to tear the Golden Arches apart. When this happens Ronald must go into repair mode and patch up the arches. To fix the arches simply walk over the damaged sections and they will fill back in. If the arches get too damaged (large sections have disappeared) the aliens will attempt to steal them by floating them off the screen. When this happens you have precious few seconds to secure the arches again (repair the damaged sections) before they float off the screen forever. If this happens it's game over!
After awhile, you will notice that you cannot shoot aliens and can no longer repair the arches. When this happens look for the blocks that appear on the ground and grab them using the fire button. This will recharge your "McDonald power" and allow you to resume blasting aliens and repairing the arches. The higher the round, the more often you need to recharge.
So what about those giant food items at the bottom of the screen? Every now and then the Hamburgler will slide down the arches and attempt to steal your food. If he manages to steal all the food it's game over, so make sure you blast him like all the other aliens. You will also notice a flying saucer floating over head now and then, there's nothing you can do about him in this version of the game so simply ignore it.
Unlike the Atari 2600 version, the Atari 8-bit version of Pac-Mac was much further along before it was cancelled. It's hard to believe that Parker Brothers could get away with such a blaintant fast food tie-in without raising the ire of junk food watch dogs, but they appear to have been willing to try. All in all Pac-Mac isn't a bad game, but it still needs some refinement before it could be called a releasable game. Too bad the great gaming crash wasn't willing to wait...