AGH Lynx Review:

by Atari

Before Q*Bert, Pitfall Harry or Mario made a splash as Saturday morning cartoon characters based on a videogame, Pac-Man made his mark as the first ever videogame-turned-cartoon character. Created by the geniuses at Hanna Barbara, Pac-Man the cartoon didn't last long on the boob tube. However, one of the outgrowths of that project became the first ever videogame-turned-cartoon hero-turned videogame when Namco used the character as the basis for a side-scrolling coin-op adventure game. With the exception of Professor Pac-Man (a trivia game) and to an extent Baby Pac-Man (half-pinball), Pac-Land also was the first Pac game that deviated from the dot-eating, maze-chase formula that proved so successful in Pac-Man and its numerous sequels. This one breaks from the format by eliminating themazes and placing a running and jumping Pac-Man onto horizontally-scrolling levels of gameplay.

Pac-Man scampers through various environments (20 levels in all) such as towns, deserts, canyons and forests filled with his old nemeses, those pesky ghosts that hunt him wherever he goes. In this game, however, the ghosts zoom around in a variety of vehicles, including cars, buses, airplanes and even pogo sticks. Fortunately for Pac-Man, power pills pop up every now and then on each level, turning him into a ghost eating fiend. Aside from the ghosts, Pac-Man also has to contend with several other obstacles, including floating log bridges, quicksand and wide, ultra-deep pools of water. You're also under the gun because you've only got a set amount of time to make it through each level.

Don't let the cutesy and innocent-looking graphics and simple gameplay fool you. This is a challenging - almost frustrating - game which requires concentration and quick reflexes. Thankfully, gameplay is smooth enough to enable you to pull off most moves in a split-second.

Fans of the arcade game may get a kick out of a faithful translation to their favorite color handheld machine. The graphics are cartoony and the characters are colorful and nicely animated -- just like the cartoon. The catchy tunes come straight from the cartoon as well, although they're repetitive and can get annoying after awhile. To me, however, I never quite warmed to the coin-op, and I feel the same way about this one. Despite efforts to add variety to Pac-Land by including hidden items, warps and bonuses to try for, it doesn't have the depth of play offered in other platform games like any good Mario or Sonic game title. And while there are over five stages and a total of 20 levels to explore, they're rather short and can be completed rather quickly if you're good enough. You can fault Namco for some of the shortcomings in play, but give Atari credit for doing a good job of translating it to the portable screen -- flaws and all.

Title Pac-Land
Publisher Atari
System Atari Lynx
Graphics 7
Sound 7
Gameplay 5
Overall 5
Reviewer Keita Iida

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