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Pac-Man World 3 Package Art
GENRE
Adventure
DEVELOPER
Blitz
PUBLISHER
Namco
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1
CONNECTIVITY
no
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Pac-Man World 3

There are some franchises that work better in 2D than 3D. Pac-Man is one of them, as is Sonic, and to some extent Mario, too. That said, the third iteration of Pac-Man World holds some entertainment value as a solid, if not highly original platformer.

visuals

Visuals are one of the components that carries Pac-Man World 3. There are some breathtakingly beautiful environments to explore, notably the Spectral Realm levels filled with glowing pink plasma lakes and shimmery aurora borealises, and the fiery, volcanic Underground Catacombs complete with floating ash in the air, a la Wind Waker.

audio

The other component that boosts Pac-Man World 3 is its audio; specifically, its voice acting. Many were worried about Pac Man having a voice for the first time in 25 years. I'm happy to say that the actor they picked does a fine job. Pac Man was given arms and legs in the transition from 2D to 3D; it only makes sense to then give him a voice, too.

Level music is ambient and sparse, you'll notice when it's not there. There is a nice audio option to set the volume levels of voice, sound effects and music. So depending on which you like most, you can customize. If you really couldn't stand the voice acting for example, you could turn voice volume all the way down and put subtitles on. These levels had to be adjusted to hear the voices over music and effects, so they were well appreciated.

gameplay

Gameplay mechanics will be familiar to anyone who has ever played a 3D platformer. The levels' challenge is somewhere between Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine; jumping is your most vital skill, with vertigo presenting the biggest psychological hurdle. I had little trouble with the jumping, but I can envision a less experienced player getting frustrated.

Gameplay is mostly linear, with some exceptions that bog down the flow of the game. Sometimes you're just going along following a path, and then there are no other indicators as to where to go next. Certainly there is a correct, linear choice, but that choice isn't obvious. Regardless, the nonlinear segments are more enjoyable as they allow for solving puzzles at your own pace rather than being hand-held every step of the way. That said, a clearer signal of when non-linear objectives replaced the linear ones would be nice; at one point I got holed up at the end of a level because it seemed like a dead end.

New Pac powers are fun to use and really pack a punch. One pellet gives you force-lightning just like in Star Wars, another amplifies your butt-stomp attack, while a third lets you draw circles around enemies that explode on closure. Also of note are ghosts Pinky and Clyde's help. You can play as each to solve area-specific puzzles. Pinky makes spectral platforms solid while Clyde takes out baddies and uses his scare roar to topple pillars, making them into convenient bridges.

Interface-wise, it's unclear why the developers placed the save option after the continue option is presented. If you want to leave the game to play it again later, you must select continue, then save, and then exit, which is counter-intuitive.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

Due to its unoriginal rehash of platformer game mechanics Pac-Man World 3 is only recommended for younger audiences or those new to the 3D platformer. Bright, beautiful worlds and witty voice acting give this game a 1UP, reaffirming its validity for the die-hard Pac-Fan. Extras also flesh the title out, including the original arcade Pac-Man (looking better even than in Namco Museum) and a great interview with Pac-Man's creator, all available from the moment you pop in the disk.

final score 6.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Paul Starke
Staff Profile | Email
"In Japan this was named a 'trouble bug.' (...Is it really a bug?)"


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