AGH Lynx Review:
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
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.