Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man is so good that other game stars joined the fun. Pac-Man guest starred as the C here, Missile Command‘s Smart Missile cameoed as a V, and Super Mario Brothers’ pipe got its start as a T. Now that’s pull.

Review Date: January 17, 2021

Release Date: February 3, 1982 (I used the arcade date because it was exact)

Platform: Atari 800

Genre: Puzzle

Anecdotes: Good God, did we have a lot of fun hours with this game or what? This game was pure fun. In my house, there were three basic ideas we went by: a) Start at the painfully slow bear level and see how many levels we could finish; b) Start at the banana level so that only bananas would come bouncing out and eating them at 5,000 points per banana, shooting for high score; or c) Start at the pretzel level because pretzels are awesome. Also, my local laundromat and the Pepe’s still have arcade cabinets with this game.

There’s my favorite “fruit,” the pretzel! Come to me!

Description: The game works exactly like Pac-Man. The object is to gobble every dot on the screen. While doing that, you will have to avoid four ghosts, unless you eat a Power Pellet, which temporarily turns the ghosts blue so you can eat them. You will also have chances to eat fruits that bounce around the maze for bonus points. There are four mazes to conquer.

The game makes it easy for beginners to chomp all 4 ghosts at the start.

Positives: Ms. Pac-Man fixed the biggest flaw Pac-Man had; it had four different mazes to run and changed it up every few levels. Fruits now bounce around the maze. They enter from the side, do two laps around the ghost pit, then exit out the side. The added bear level is perfect for young children or beginners, but can easily be skipped by everyone else. Brief cutscenes give the player a moment to breathe while playing some catchy music.

Another positive: cute intermissions! In this one, the stork drops off a baby Pac-Man!

Negatives: The fruits are random after the banana level, but only include those from levels you played. This means that scoring points beyond the banana level is easier if you skip the maximum number of levels. Instead of getting 50 point bears and 100 point cherries, it will always give you 5,000 point bananas.

64,320! Never mind that the score was inflated by eating lots of 5,000 point bananas.

Grade: A

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