Video game racism is a problem that I’m ready and willing to stand up to, so who’s with me?
I like Pac-Man a bit, and I liked Pac-Mania a lot when it first came out, but let’s be honest it didn’t age well. While making the comic I played some of the home conversions and it really surprised me that the quality differed so wildly with what are really simple games.
The MegaDrive version is really…bland. The sprites are poorly animated, you have to eat all the power pellets to clear the level (I definitely don’t remember that in the arcade or the other versions – in fact, wasn’t there a secret level that was only accessible if you cleared a level without using any power pellets?) and there’s no level wrap level things on the side of the levels. It’s also drab and there’s some gameplay-breaking options that you can choose like always having turbo on, which is just baffling.
The C64 version is better! I’m as surprised as you. I’m not a fan of how the gameplay area is maybe half the screen, with the rest taken up with scores and copyright nonsense, but it plays nicely and feels fast.
What struck me as really odd though is how great the Amiga version is, especially since hardware-wise it’s not far off from the MegaDrive. It looks so colourful and has smoother and faster scrolling than the Sega machine’s effort and the soundtrack is great! You should play the Amiga version.
Heck, even the Sega Master System version is better than the MegaDrive version.
Maybe I’m just writing all this because, twenty five-ish years later, I’m still sore about buying the MegaDrive version.