AGH Lynx Review:

by Atari

Ms. Pac-Man Pic 1
The sequel to what is arguably the most popular game of all-time, Pac-Man, is now available on Atari's color portable Lynx machine. How does it stack up against the original? Well, considering that just about every home translation of Ms. Pac-Man has come up roses, even on the Atari VCS, it's a good bet that Pac's hubby is just as glorious on the small screen, right? You bet! From the vivid colors to the charming intermissions, nothing has been spared in this Lynx cartridge.

The object in Ms. Pac-Man is simple. You guide Ms. Pac in a maze, chomping up every dot littering the screen. Occassionally, a bonus item (pears, pretzels, bananas, etc.) will bounce around the screen. Eat those and you receive bonus points. You lose a life when one of four ghosts chasing you around the maze touches you. Four power pellets, however, provide you with temporary sanctuary and an opportunity to exact revenge on the ghosts. When you eat one of the "energizers", your nemeses turn green for a spell, and during this time the tables are turned and you get to be the cat chasing the mice. Each successive ghost that you eat during this sequence awards you exponentially greater bonus points.

Ms. Pac-Man Pic 2
Given the simple nature of Ms. Pac-Man, both graphically and gameplay-wise, it's no surprise that it's almost pixel perfect on the Lynx. Everything from the scoring to the ghosts' AI is exactly the same. The four mazes found in the arcade are also present. If there's a gripe, it's that the proportions of the playfield has been altered to keep the entire maze on the screen at once. In other words, it looks "scrunched-up" like the Atari 5200 version. Slight graphical details are omitted as well. The ghosts eyes are missing, and the bow on Ms. Pac-Man's head is barely discernable. Thankfully, the game is not compromised whatsoever. But what is perhaps the biggest omission (if you can call it that) is the lack of joystick control in this game. You're stuck with controlling Ms. Pac with the Lynx's directional pad, and gameplay suffers as a result. You'll find it harder to stop on a dime or switch directions as quickly as you used to. After playing a few rounds with this game, I came to the conclusion that I could have progressed at least two more screens if I played the game with a joystick.

If you're looking for Ms. Pac-Man on the go, you can do much worse than grabbing a copy of this game. It's not as exact as Joust for the Lynx, but it's more than worth anyone's while and still a blast to play, even after all these years. Ms. Pac has aged gracefully indeed.

Title Ms. Pac-Man
Publisher Atari
System Atari Lynx
Graphics 7
Sound 7
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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