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The Antstream Arcade Guide #3: Pac Man


Greetings, brave retro gamers!


Retro games can sometimes be tricky and puzzling – in a good way. But don’t panic if you’re struggling – we are here to help! Each Antstream Arcade guide will include tips and help on how to play and beat a particular game on the service. We have over 1500 brilliant retro games on Antstream Arcade – so we’d better get cracking!


The Game: Pac Man

Publisher: Namco

Developer: In-House

Year: 1980

System: Arcade


Background


A small, abstract yellow creature, Pac Man, the character, game and legend, is one of the most recognisable gaming personalities of all time. Born from a desire to move away from shooting games and encourage a broader demographic into the arcades, Pac Man the game inspired the maze action videogame genre and popularised inter-level cut scenes. It was a widespread commercial success back in the early Eighties, with dozens of sequels and spin-offs since. As a result, Pac Man has become a true videogame celebrity, familiar to the young, old, gamers and non-gamers alike.




Did you know?


The American city of San Antonio, Texas, once tried to ban the Pac Man arcade machine following complaints from citizens that their children were becoming ‘addicted’ to the game. However, the idea was abandoned when the city’s lawyer suggested that such a proposal might be unconstitutional.




The Aim Of The Game


Pac. Is. Hungry! Fortunately, each maze in Pac Man’s bizarre world contains dozens of dots, mana from heaven for this round yellow creature – once Pac Man has munched all these, it’s on to the next level. Sadly, our ravenous hero doesn’t have it all his own way: four menacing spooks chase Pac Man throughout each maze – one touch from one of these and Pac Man loses a life. Fortunately, each room contains four power pills, and the tables turn abruptly on his enemies should he quaff one of these oversized pellets. Once the hunted, Pac Man now turns hunter, able to chomp down on the ghosts and send them packing back to their home in the maze's centre.



Getting Started


The four directional controls guide Pac Man around the maze. The objective is simple: eat the dots while avoiding the chasing ghosts. However, as with all the best arcade games, there’s much more to Pac Man than initially meets the eye. Yet most importantly, eat the large pills to turn the ghosts blue – while in this state, Pac Man can eat them, reducing the spook to wandering disembodied eyes.



The Enemies


Each enemy in Pac Man has two overall modes, passive (scatter) and aggressive (chase). In the former, the ghosts wander their particular maze segment, not taking too much notice of the yellow fellow. However, once their second mode kicks in, they will relentlessly hound Pac Man, and at this point, their individual AI will also initiate. Learning the different patterns of the ghosts is the key to a decent score in Pac Man.



Blinky

Colour: Red

Nickname: Shadow

Characteristic: The Chaser

Patrol Area: Top right

Once the aggressive, or chase, mode is activated, Blinky persistently pursues Pac Man throughout the maze. Blinky becomes even more tenacious and belligerent when only a few dots remain, making him the one to watch out for as each level nears its end.



Pinky

Colour: Pink

Nickname: Speedy

Characteristic: The Blocker

Patrol Area: Top Left

Pinky is the sole female ghost. In chase mode, she will head for the space two dots ahead of Pac Man and attempt to cut him off. When in tandem with the pursuing Blinky, Pinky is a dangerous opponent, eliminating potential escape routes for Pac Man.



Inky

Colour: Cyan

Nickname: Bashful

Characteristic: The Ambusher

Patrol Area: Lower right

Inky’s movements are a little more complex in chase mode, making him a slippery opponent. Essentially, he tries to trap Pac Man between Blinky and himself, with the distance between Pac Man and himself determined by how far behind his chasing colleague is.



Clyde Colour: Orange

Nickname: Pokey

Characteristic: Passive-Aggressive

Patrol Area: Lower left

The faint-hearted Clyde is the most apathetic member of this collection of spooks. While at a distance, Clyde will make a token effort to shadow Pac Man. However, once he gets too close, he’ll panic and wander back to his scatter mode location, bottom left.



Tips And Tricks


  • Use the side tunnels to your advantage – the ghosts travel half-speed through these.

  • Pac Man can turn corners much quicker than the ghosts, giving him some much-needed breathing space. Also, he moves faster when not eating dots.

  • Learn the ghosts’ AI. When you’re in a tight spot, knowing which ghost will do what is key.

  • The ghosts occasionally stop chasing Pac Man and wander back to their corners. Use this time to gobble as many dots as possible.

  • Don’t get excited and gobble those power pellets: wait until the ghosts are ganging up on Pac Man.

  • As you may have gathered from the ghost descriptions above, Blinky (red) and Pinky (pink) are the two enemies to watch out for. They’re the most aggressive and single-minded of the four.

High Score Chasing

Bonus fruits appear below the ghost home after Pac Man eats a certain amount of dots. This treat happens twice in each level, and while the initial cherries only yield 100 points, later bonuses can award the player as much as 5000 points. Additionally, gobbling all four ghosts after a power pill is vital, as the score doubles (from 200 to 400, 800 and 1600) with each ghost Pac Man eats. Snagging these bonuses is a risk you’ll have to take if you want to break into the Antstream Arcade Pac Man top ten. Put in the hours (and days), and maybe you’ll notch the perfect score of 3,333,360 points – all you have to do is eat every bonus fruit and blue ghost throughout Pac Man’s 255 levels.


Easy!


Pac Man Challenges

Finally, as befitting Pac Man’s legendary status, there are a massive SEVEN challenges to try on Antstream Arcade. They are:-



We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest Antstream Arcade Guide – stay tuned for more helpful hints soon. If you’re still trying to get a high score with Pac Man, why not head to the Antstream Arcade Discord server and see if someone can help you? You can find us at: https://discord.gg/antstream.





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