NOSTALGIA is big business nowadays - we have '50s and '60s music back in the charts and Pacman back on the computer screen. The little yellow blob with a penchant for pills is back once more and he's still being hounded by Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Clyde, Sue and Funky.
Can Pacman cut it with the big boys in 1989? Or is the game an insult to the circuitry of your beloved Amiga? The answers to these two questions are yes and no respectively.
Pac-mania is an arcade-
The most attractive feature of the graphics is the way that they fill the screen completely - there is no border. By combing this with superb four directional scrolling, the programmers have created a perfect illusion - the monitor seems to disappear and you are left looking at the game itself.
Sound is exemplary - a different tune accompanies each level, with every one taking full advantage of the Amiga's stereo capabilities. Even after several hours of play I didn't feel the desire to switch the music off - so it must be good!
Our hero must out-
Number two is set in Pacman Park with tubular rails forming the barriers. The third level is based in Sandbox Land - here the dusty paths are separated by the regular shapes of sand castles. Finally we have the elevated wooden walkways of the Jungly Steps.
Apart from the regular Dotty pills the maze also contains several larger pills of various colours. There are always four yellow ones on a screen - these are Pacman's power pills which make him mean, macho, and menacing and also give him the ability to eat ghosts.
Occasionally a red pill will materialise. Eating this doubles the value of any points scored from that time onwards - quite a bonus if any of the high value fruit tokens appear.
Finally there are the green pills - which give Pacman the ability to out-run any ghost on the screen. I would advise you to take a yellow pill soon after swallowing the green one - a high speed blob can be difficult to control, so it helps if he's invulnerable.
The final weapon in Paccy's armoury is his jumping ability - not a feature of the original game, but a welcome addition. A quick stab at the fire button can send you flying over a pursuing ghost.
When the strains and stresses of saving the universe begin to get you down, play Pac-mania and smile again!