Overall Score 78%
Pac Doom 2
You may have seen a while ago my article on finding original ideas. This week we have an excellent example of combining two disparate ideas - one of the methods I suggested. Take a look at the two screenshots below. On the left is that well known classic, Pacman. On the right we have Id Software's infamous battle through the depths of hell, Doom. Blend the two...
...and we get Pac Doom 2, a game in which pacman takes up a collection of weapons and goes into battle against hordes of viruses, hackers and so on. I am not clear if there is a Pac Doom 1, though the intro sequence suggests there is. Pacman's task is to reach and defeat the evil AI Net Worm, which involves finding his way through a series of mazes and many evil opponents.
Unlike the Doom series, in which you had to find new weapons as you go along, Pacman starts with a selection of weapons at his disposal. The bog standard weapon is the bullet, which does little damage and has limited range. It is best for enemies that stay still (or for shooting down certain walls). Then there is the time bomb, the missile launcher, the grenade and my favourite, the shotgun, which gives an instant hit every time. Ammunition for all weapons is gained by "eating" the dots in each maze, so it is worth collecting as many as you can.
Your goal in each level is to reach the "exit" square, which often involves finding keys to open the colour coded doors. There's also a range of foes out to stop you, as well as hidden sections to be found. Levels are usually two or more screens in size, which adds an element of exploration. And like Doom, there's a similar menu and you can load and save your game.
As is traditional in Pacman games, the mazes take the form of a grid of squares. They run smoothly and are nice and large, ideal for younger players. They are also clean - the game advertises itself as 'non-violent' and there is no blood, despite having bullets and grenades and so forth! Again, this game is aimed at children (though I rather enjoyed it myself).
One thing missing is some good background music. A cheerful ditty to shoot viruses along to would appeal to me but, alas, I am playing to silence. The sound effects are fun though. I especially like the water drop sound your standard pea-shooter weapon makes. But shouldn't there be a sound for the dots being eaten as you travel around the maze?
This is a highly playable game. I was particularly pleased with the way you can tell Pacman to turn and he will change direction the next time he can - so many Pac-clones require precise timing to get that right. You can also stop him moving, which is essential to shoot down some walls. Though numerous, the controls are easy to pick up, and the editor is fairly intuitive.
I like this game. Kids (and big kids!) will like it too. Give it a try.
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