Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures

Super NES

Review by Frank Cifaldi



Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 9


Martha Thurgood, a licensed social worker in Las Vegas, Nevada, believes that playing video games is a harsh psychological addiction and a complete waste of time.

“I’ve never had one of those things in my house,” she said, “and I never will.”

Tanya World, a licensed medical records specialist with an unlikely name, agrees.

“I won’t let my kids play them. I’ve seen what they can do. My boys can read a book or something instead, you know what I’m saying?”

It was just this morning. I was early for work, and had unwittingly started a roundtable discussion over coffee. Marty was dominating the conversation.

“I saw on the news that, whaddyacall, that computer game? The one the kids won’t stop playing?”

Everquest,” I offered.

“Yeah, yeah, that one. I just don’t understand it. I mean, I’d rather go to a casino and, you know, make some money. Waste of time,” she said.

“Absolutely,” said Tanya. “It’s a vice, a disease. Terrible.”

I hadn’t had enough coffee yet to make a rebuttal. Hell, it was too early to know for sure whether or not I had a rebuttal. I decided to play the quiet observer.

“Yeah,” said Marty, shaking her head in disapproval before slurping her coffee. “So what would you say your, you know, bug is?”

“Bug?” asked Tanya.

“Yeah, you know. I mean, you don’t play video games, and neither do I, so what’s your, you know, bug?”

“You mean, like, an addiction?”

“Yeah, something like that. You know, your bug.”

Tanya was genuinely confused. As was I. “I don’t know,” she said, “I like to cook. Is that what you mean?”

“Something like that. Wanna know what mine is?”


“Yarn sales. I love yarn sales. I walk out of there and, oh boy, my arms are just full of the stuff! It’s a riot!”

I quietly got up, grabbed my coffee, and walked down the hall to my office. I don’t imagine I missed much.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures was released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis in November of 1994, following a series of delays. It met with some decent critical acclaim, but was ultimately more confusing than breathtaking.

"Pac-Man 2 is unlike any other action/adventure game I have played before,” wrote “Review Crew” member Al Manuel in Electronic Gaming Monthly’s November 1994 edition. “It’s more like a puzzle game with its cute, little tasks that you must get Pac-Man to do.”

"Overall this is a fun and charming little game.”

The game was ultimately forgotten that holiday season, overshadowed by a couple of games you may have heard of, namely Earthworm Jim and Donkey Kong Country. Maybe it was weak advertising that did the game in. Perhaps it was the less-than-stellar reviews, or the near-absolute lack of media hype.

I have a different theory. I propose that Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures was, to borrow a worn-out old phrase, ahead of its time. I’d go as far as to say that it is STILL ahead of its time. I propose to you that not since River City Ransom has a revolutionary step forward in interactive media gone unnoticed by developers. I would say that never, in videogame history, have I seen so much potential go completely untapped. To understand Pac-Man 2 is to understand how videogames can and should evolve.

To know Pac-Man 2 is to know yourself. And that, I would boldly say, is indicative of a true work of art.

I'm not sure I could ever be satisfied with portraying what this game has to offer, so we're going to do something a little different:

It's about 2:30 a.m. and, by all accounts, I should be in bed. But I'm not. I'm sacrificing my sleep-wake cycle to show you, to the best of my ability, what playing Pac-Man 2 is like, so that my conclusions will make more sense to you.

I'm a cranky bastard when I'm lacking sleep, so I apologize in advance. Roll 'em, Smokey!



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Last updated: Sunday, February 08, 2004 12:43 PM