Three years ago Pac-Man Championship Edition redefined what Pac-Man was. That game took the best elements of the original arcade title and remixed them into something that was more fast paced and flashier. In essence it made Pac-Man cool and relevant again. Taking into consideration that it took 27 years before Namco was able to find a meaningful direction to take the Pac-Man franchise it came as a surprise that Pac-Man Championship Edition DX was set for release this year, the 30th anniversary of the Pac-Man franchise.
Where Pac-Man Championship Edition redefined what Pac-Man could be, DX does it yet again delivering the most fast paced and intense Pac-Man title ever. Pac-Man Championship Edition focused on pathfinding, DX takes that same focus but adds in excessive speed, ungodly amounts of chasing ghosts and danger clearing bombs.
Like Championship Edition before it, DX has players eating a pattern of pellets on one half of the map, once clear it unlocks a special item on the opposite side of the map which when eaten unlocks the next portion of the map to clear. However the overload on ghosts is what really changes the complexion of the game. In addition to having to contend with Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde each map has sleeping ghost that once passed awake and begin to chase Pac-Man in what can best be described as a snake chain. The chase train of ghosts can get up to crazy numbers and eating a power pellet can turn into a score bonanza as Pac-Man turns to decimate the train.
Sometimes though the train can get too unwieldy or a wrong turn might put Pac-Man in a bad spot where he is about to be killed by the ghosts. In past games this would have meant the loss of a life but Pac-Man has come to the DX party armed with bombs that when deployed transport all the ghosts back to the ghost cage. The bombs are an added sense of security but they are limited in number so using them too often too early on in a map can really hurt later on.
If there was an issue with the original Championship Edition though it would have to be that there was essentially one map and limited in scope. DX gives players a more than a handful of new maps, each with their own graphical theme. Some of them are truly inventive and make players think even further outside of the Pac-Man box than they ever have before.
DX is packed with a ton of content, including the standard score attack of 5 minutes and 10 minutes as well as time trials and a ghost hunting mode. Everything a player does in the game helps to improve their overall ranking in the game and the constant updates on where you stand on the leaderboard make the game very addictive and insanely fun. And despite being a polished arcade game through and through fun is where Pac-Man Championship Edition DX really shines brightest. It is hard to explain the amount of fun that DX offers but if you are a fan of old school arcade games then this is a must own.
5 out of 5.