for the Atari Lynx
1 player, horizontal game
Unless you've been living in a cave for the last 20 years, chances are good you know of Pac-Man. The original yellow-balled maze muncher became _the_ symbol for video gaming, and spawned a flock of sequels and me-too titles. The official sequel by Bally/Midway/Namco was MS. PAC-MAN, and now you too can plug this game into your Atari Lynx.
The game is simple: You control Ms. Pac-Man, a feminine yellow ball with a mouth, through a maze. Your objective is to eat all the dots in the maze and go to other mazes. Four ghosts chase you through the maze -- one touch and you die. Run out of lives, and the game ends. Certain dots are "energizers", which temporarily turn the ghosts blue and vulnerable for you to eat them. At times, bonus foods hop through the maze, and eating them gives even more points.
The Lynx version features two sets of mazes. You can play with either the original arcade four mazes, or with an alternate set of 21(!) wider mazes. On the alternate mazes, a lightning bolt will occassionally hop through the maze. Get the bolt, and you can push a button (A or B) for 15 seconds of high speed. The bolt goes away if you die, finish the level, or use it.
To be honest, MS. PAC-MAN is a simple game, and it's not surprising to see it arrive on the Lynx intact. Scoring is the same, controls are the same, and (as far as I can tell) the ghosts even behave the same. The alternate set of 21 mazes helps keep this game interesting, especially to jaded maze runners who mastered the original. I myself don't mind a _little_ Pac-mania (though I think it went too far, in the end), and am happy for a maze game on the Lynx.
(I'm personally bummed that the two-player-simultaneous gameplay rumored a few months ago is not present. Oh well)
MS. PAC-MAN is set up as a horizontal game on the Lynx, with the maze scrunched to keep the entire maze on the screen at once. As a result, the graphics suffer a bit. The game graphics, from Ms. P to the ghosts to the fruits, are very small. Details (such as the ghosts' eyes) are missing, though the game is not affected any. The only place to see big ghosts and Pac-people are in the intermission cartoons, which are kept intact from the arcade.
Sounds on this game are decent, though not outstanding. Music bits (the opening tune and intermission bridges) remain identical, cheery and light. The game sounds are average, neither irritating nor exceptional.
A decent adaptation overall, and a good game in its own right. I suspect whether or not you'll buy this depends on how willing you are to have a Pac-Maze-game on the Lynx. If you are interested, the Lynx version will not do you wrong.
GAMEPLAY: 9 GRAPHICS: 7 SOUND: 6 OVERALL: 7.5