Review — Namco’s Palm OS Classics — PAC-MAN, Ms. PAC-MAN and Galaxian

by Reads (6,078)

 

With all the latest and greatest hardware on the market, PDA gaming is finally reaching an important threshold. But give me the warm comfort of a well-ported classic any day and I’ll be happy. Not one of the thousand knock offs, but the real licensed version of the greats.

 

All three games look and ask just as you’d expect them to, a testament to the excellent move to the Palm OS platform. It’s not like the operation could have been terribly complex, but they’ve executed well, which isn’t always the case. Many a game has been shamelessly ported to expand to new markets, while paying no attention to the details.

 

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The real trick comes down to gameplay though. As you talk to people who have played these games, or read opinions, you’re going to want to ask which device was being used. I know from experience, on a Tungsten T5 I think these games are fun, but not all that great. On a Treo 650, they’re nearly perfect. Why the divergence?

 

It comes down to input. The D-pad on the Tungsten T5 is so large that it takes two thumbs to operate with any proficiency. The experience is awkward at best, leading to lots of being gobbled by ghosts, which is not good for anyone, unless you’re a ghost. the Treo 650 is a totally different story. The pad is much smaller; it works very well with a single thumb. While a joystick would be the best scenario, let’s not get carried away. These are PDAs after all, not full size arcade machines, or those great little table top units often found at a greasy pizza joint.

 

But I digress. The games do allow for using the menu keys, which can be re-mapped, or even the stylus for onscreen control. The latter doesn’t work very well though for anything above the first levels though, as reaction times are a problem.

 

Aside from scooting through the PAC-MAN maze, the other core factor is sound. Sound controls are in the game, ranging from quiet to extremely loud. Even 1/3 of the way up the volume slider on the Treo 650 is enough to get passerby’s at work to want in on the gaming fun. The in-game sound is generally excellent, though I did notice some problems with ghost gobbling sounds. Sometimes they didn’t happen, other times there was a slight but noticeable lag.

 

Each game offers a degree of customization as well. Beyond sound, users can set the number of lives, points needed for an extra life and in the case of the PAC-MAN’s, the ability to set difficulty. All games offer a default button, in case you tweak the settings and forget what the originals were.

 

Pros:

Authentic porting of the software

Playing the games is like hot chocolate on a cold day

Well done graphics

 

Cons:

No multiple title discount

No support for high resolution devices

 

Bottom Line:

The games are well made, I really love the PAC-MAN and Ms. PAC-MAN titles. Anyone who’s a fan of the series or classic games in general should seriously consider picking up one or all three.

 

Purchase Info:

Each title costs $14.99 and can be purchased at the following link. Free trials are available.
http://palm.namcogames.com/

 

Photo Gallery:

All images from the Tungsten T5

 

 

 

 

 

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