Pac 'n Roll (Pre-E3 2005)
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Platform
The Pac-Man franchise hasn't done very well in the past several years. Attempts to move the franchise in different directions have ultimately failed. But Namco is hoping that their two Nintendo DS titles will bring a spark of originality and fun to the franchise. The recently released Pac-Pix and the soon to be released Pac ‘n Roll were both shown off last year in the special Nintendo DS play area at E3. I had some time to spend with both titles and it was very clear to see that Pac ‘n Roll was much farther along and felt more like a real game.
While Pac ‘n Roll is not set to release until the summer of 2005, Namco will be displaying the game in their E3 booth. Players take control of Pac-Man by using the stylus and sliding it around the bottom screen. This will cause Pac-Man to move on the top screen through a series of mazes similar to Super Monkey Ball. You will also be treated to a rolling Pac-Man on the bottom screen. Players will also be able to stop Pac-Man quickly by holding the stylus down on the screen.
Of course, there will be several ghosts out to get Pac-Man in every level. Also scattered around will be power pellets that he can eat in order to gain the temporary ability to gobble up the enemies on the screen. Besides the standard power pellet, Namco is also giving our hero some new power-ups. These include a Knight Helmet that will make Pac-Man stronger against enemies but make him slower and a Feather Cap to make him faster, lighter, but can cause problems if there is wind to blow him around.
It is no secret that the Nintendo DS can't compete with the PSP in the visual department. However, the 3D engine looks very good in the current build. Just don't expect much more than the graphical equivalent of a Nintendo 64 game.
Beside the standard adventure, Pac ‘n Roll will come with the original arcade version of Pac-Man. While we would like some more time with this title, it is clearly shaping up to be one of the best Pac-Man titles in years.