Pac-Man World 3 PS2 Review

If you were to ask somebody to name a game’s character, it’s quite probable that Pacman would be one of their first suggestions. Ever since his first appearance in arcades around the globe, Pacman has found himself engraved into gaming history and etched into the memories of millions. The games and their various spin-offs and sequels were popular in arcades and on home systems throughout the 8 and 16 bit eras. Unfortunately, the leap to 3D was not kind to Pacman. The simple game mechanics, which made Pacman great, simply did not translate well into 3D and whilst his 2D brethren such as Mario were brought to life by the capabilities of 3D, Pacman found himself in gaming wilderness.

That was until the Pacman World Series, of course. The premise is simple – a generic 3D platformer (the kind that thousands of licenses have adopted since the success of Mario 64) starring Pacman and friends. Pacman World 3 is a bit different though as you see its release is a little special because it celebrates Pacman’s 25th birthday. The game kicks off with an absolutely cringe-worthy cut-scene, and to be brutally honest made me want to eat my own head. Pacman Jr. and Ms. Pacman are stood together outside Pacman’s house waiting to give him his birthday cake. However, before Pacman can bite into the cake he finds himself transported to another dimension by Orson the ghost, his former enemy turned ally. This less than thrilling cut-scene is only made worse by Pacman’s irritating, over the top American accent.

Fortunately Pacman World 3 gets better from thereon in. You are initially taught the various controls and then find yourself challenged by a group of enemies. Pacman can punch at these until they’re gone and then proceed on his way. Along the levels, traditional Pacman pills and fruit can be picked up and in a nice touch Pacman makes his traditional ‘Wocka Wocka’ noise whilst eating them – something which accounts for much of the sound in the game. The game then lets you control Pacman to the end of the level and from that point it’s very much just traditional platform fair. Run, Jump, ‘Butt’ bash buttons to stomp them down, beat enemies – it’s all very formulaic, but it’s done well and is reasonably entertaining. There are some nice touches though, which are authentically Pacman. Firstly, there are still ghosts that can be eaten by devouring a power pill and secondly, at the end of each level there’s a traditional Pacman maze which you can beat to get bonuses and its still as much fun as it ever was.

The graphics are hardly going to push your PS2 (Or Xbox/Cube if you’re that way inclined), but they do the job and create some nice looking backgrounds and enemies for Pacman to fight. Camera control is very often a problem in platform games and fortunately Pacman World 3 has a fairly decent camera (its not quite Mario 64 quality), but it generally does its job although its perhaps not as manoeuvrable as it should be. Regardless of that, it’s unlikely that any accidental deaths will result as a cause of the camera and that’s the most important thing.

Pacman World 3 also has a nice difficulty setting and the game is never too challenging or too simple leading to good steady progress throughout the game. PW3 is not going to keep you staring at the screen for months, but it’s a decent length with 15 stages and the length feels just about right. If that’s not enough to satisfy you, there’s an emulated version of the original Pacman included which is enough to keep anyone occupied for years to come. Pacman World 3 is a perfectly solid and entertaining platform game. Though it lacks any real innovation or new ideas it does feel authentically like Pacman and will surely be enough to keep Pacman fans happy for the near future.

7 out of 10
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