capsule review

Pac the Man X

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McSebi specializes in creating Mac-only homages to classic arcade games. The company’s MacDo, for example, is a variation on the coin-op game Mr. Do; Bub & Bob is their answer to Bubble Bobble; and Pac the Man is a glowing tribute to that classic of classics—Pac Man. Now the company has released Pac the Man X, an all new version that features 25 new levels, support for the latest Macs, and a hard to beat price—it’s free.

Pac the Man isn’t a clone or an emulation of the original game. But it is cut from the same cloth. You maneuver around a maze eating pellets and the occasional fruit while avoiding ghosts who are constantly on your tail. Chomping on power-ups lets you turn the tables and eat the ghosts, too. And that’s pretty much it.

If you don’t want to go solo, you and a friend can play simultaneously on the same Mac (there’s no support for networked gaming). You can also tweak the game’s difficulty levels to suit the abilities of different gamers.

Thanks to an updated OpenGL graphics engine, the game’s animation effects are silky smooth and much improved. There are also stereo sound effects and multiple music themes; you can set the themes to play randomly or just choose the ones you like.

The latest version of the game (1.0.2) is Universal, so it should run well on a new iMac or MacBook Pro. But you don’t need the latest hardware to play. The game requires a 500MHz G3 or faster Mac with an OpenGL-compatible graphics system and at least 16MB of VRAM.

The game also includes a level editor, which lets you design your own levels, copy and modify existing ones, and more.

Considering that McSebi doesn’t ask you for a dime to play this game, what have you got to lose?

The bottom line

Pac the Man X is a loving tribute to the classic arcade game Pac Man. And it’s available for the unbeatable price of free. Game historians and casual gamers alike should download this.

[ EDITORS’ NOTE: The original version of this review attributed the game’s level editor to Stone Design. Although Stone Design did create the level editor for a previous version of the game (which also works with Pac the Man X), McSebi liked it so much that they built it right in to the current version. ]

Pac the Man X
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