Having not played a Pac-Man game since the original arcade version of the game, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. I’d only heard good things about Pac-Man Championship Edition though, so I decided to give the game a shot. What I found was that Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is, though highly modified from the original Pac-Man game play in many ways, still familiar in so many aspects. More so, the game is much more fun and additicting, with a ton of game play and customization options.
The game play mechanics are different in a number of ways. First, you don’t just play until you die, you either choose a 5 or 10 minute time limit. Ghosts start placed on the stage, but are asleep and don’t move. Once you run past the ghost they wake up and begin chasing Pac-Man. Meanwhile, Pac-Man still gobbles up dots in the maze. Once you collect all dots on one side (left or right) of the maze, the other side is filled with dots, a piece of fruit, sleeping ghosts and (sometimes) a power pellet. Dots are laid out in such a way as to encourage a specific path through the maze and going through it the right way tends to line up Pac-Man to flow into the opposite side of the map perfectly so that you can collect dots in the most optimized way possible. Essentially, the game has you going back and forth across the maps through a specific path. Going off the path is generally a bad thing as you’ll most likely end up getting a lower score in the long run. For instance, if you miss a dot on one side of the map, the other side won’t respawn it’s dots and ghosts, so you’ll have to waste a few seconds going back around and getting that single dot you missed. The goal is to get the highest score possible in the given time limit. You receive a ranking for each stage based on your score compared to the overall leaderboards (e.g. if you’re in the top 20 percentage, you’ll get an ‘S’ rank)
Super Meat Boy is a platformer about a boy without skin named Meat Boy who must save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from Dr. Fetus. Aside from having the best story ever it’s also hard. Very, very hard. I’ve died over 3,000 times (which isn’t an exaggeration, the game keeps tracks of deaths) and haven’t completed the game 100% yet. But just because it’s hard doesn’t make it any less fun. The sense of accomplishment that comes with beating some of the harder stages is priceless, especially considering how easy some games are today.
Game play is fairly simple. You navigate Meat Boy to Bandage girl at the end of each level while dodging all kinds of spikes, lava, bottomless pits, rotating/flying saw blades, salt (which instantly kills meat, obviously), rockets, globs of purple goo, lasers, deadly piles of (used?) syringes and about a million other different death traps I can’t remember. Wall jumping is a staple of the game with nearly every level having you jumping up vertical shafts at one point or another. The abundance of instant death obstacles means you’re going to die, a lot. But death isn’t treated so much as a punishment but more as a learning experience. If you die, you instantly restart at the beginning of the level, ready to try again. The key to getting through the game is learning how to precisely control Meat Boy, with levels boiling down to memorization of timing and what path to take.
Super Meat Boy is broken up into roughly 350 stages spread across several different chapters. You start each chapter playing through the light world levels. If you beat the par time (get an “A+”) on a given level you unlock the dark world version of that level which is generally a much more difficult version of the original. Additionally there are tons of warp zones spread throughout the light and dark world. These warp zones each feature 3 different levels and, to make things just a bit more difficult, you only have 3 lives per level in warp zones. Then, there are special warp zones where you can unlock new playable characters. On top of all that, each chapter has a special “glitch” level, unlocked randomly if you reach Bandage Girl and she’s “glitching” like would sometimes happen when trying to play NES games (the blocky textures flashing and displayed in random patterns on the screen). Oh…and there are bandages on some of the levels which you can collect to unlock even more playable characters.
I’m a pretty big fan of Halloween, RPG’s and Double Fine games in general, so when I found out Double Fine was making a Halloween themed RPG I was pretty pumped. A downloadable game for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, Costume Quest follows the twins Wren and Reynold as they trick-or-treat their way through the neighborhood on Halloween night. When one of the twins is kidnapped (the player chooses which sibling they want to play as, the other is kidnapped) by a band of candy-stealing monsters it’s up to the other to save the day. You’ll fight through a few different areas, including the suburbs, the mall and a Halloween carnival in the country side. Along the way you’ll find two more playable characters to help you in your quest.
In a move sure to piss off the entire Internet, Microsoft has decided to raise prices on their Xbox Live Gold subscriptions starting November 1. Yearly subscriptions have gone up $10, to $59.99. All the other subscriptions have been adjusted accordingly:
Microsoft is quick to point out all the awesome services provided by Live Gold, including:
– Video Kinect (video chat with Kinect)
– Hulu Plus
All of which are not exactly great selling points for me, personally, as I don’t use any of them. I already have a computer connected to the T.V. allowing most of those features, I don’t plan on getting Kinect because the last thing I want to do is move around while playing games, etc. I’m not really sure why it should cost me $60 just to connect to other Xbox 360 users to play games, I honestly don’t even feel like $50 is a fair price, $40 is more reasonable. I think at this point Microsoft should introduce tiered pricing because I really only want to play games online and cross-game chat with friends.
On top of all that, I can’t use any of the services right now because my Xbox broke, AGAIN. It’s the same issue I had the first time, the three red lights error (“red ring of death”) that has caused so many problems for so many other Xbox 360 users. It honestly has to be one of the worst feelings in the world to come home on a Friday night ready to play games and having your console break on you.
Platinum Games’ (Bayonetta, Mad World) latest game, Vanquish, is a third-person shooter featuring a cover system similar to Gears of War and the ability to slow down time. Looks pretty interesting, I like the jet pack allowing the player to move quickly to get under cover. Also, an important warning. Elect a female president and next thing you know San Francisco is gone and Russia has a robot army.