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Monday, January 04, 2016

PacMania



It's time to pop pills & chase ghosts!

Pac-Mania was released in 1989 by Grandslam and is based on the original arcade classic which was a pretty cool conversion and generally well-received at the time. This new "3D" version saw our little pill-popper change from an overhead 2D perspective to a fancy isometric viewpoint and, because the play area was so large, it now scrolled.

Pacman himself had an upgrade too by having the ability to jump - even though he has no legs! Sadly, the Atari ST version suffered a smaller screen because it lacked hardware scrolling so featured a weighty status panel as a result. Don't get me wrong, something had to give but the game came with smooth scrolling and wasn't a lame port.

Here is a screenshot of the original release (note, I've left the top/bottom borders in for a reason) ...



Gee, I wonder how an Atari STe would have coped?

Well, I'm glad you asked! Entering into the 16-Bit arena is Samuel (aka Zamuel_A) with a new upgrade that is specifically designed to make maximum use of the Atari STe and its lovely enhanced hardware. First of all, the gameplay now takes place in overscan and flows along at 50fps thanks to the hardware scrolling.

But that's not all, the Blitter co-processor handles all the sprites and the DMA audio hardware plays the sampled sound effects with our sweet YM2149 banging out chiptunes - better than Tracker MODs any day of the week!! Technically, this is far beyond impressive and I'm sure Samuel has utilised every part of the computer?

So now, take a look at the screenshot above and then check out the Atari STe game below...



The CryptO'pinion?

PacMania was a good game and decent conversion which was both impressive and enjoyable. However, having said that, Samuel has completely blown away the original with his upgrade and transformed our yellow friend for the 21st-century retro gamer. It's impossible not to be impressed by Samuel's dedication and hard work.

A fascinating revamp of the arcade favourite and more enjoyable than ever. Absolutely superb!!

Downloads are available on Atari-Forum! and here's another video I recorded -

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