Jr. Pac-Man: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview

History

Although Jr. Pac-Man is closely associated with the Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man franchises, this arcade game stands alone. Based on a similar concept where a yellow colored, dot-eating sphere with a red propeller travels through mazes and collects power-ups, Jr. Pac-Man is somewhat unique. Namco created the original Pac-Man game, which is where Bally Midway, the creator of Jr. Pac-Man got its inspiration. Jr. Pac-Man was officially released in 1983.

Unfortunately, Bally Midway did not have permission from Namco to borrow any of the original concepts. This is likely why there are no sequels to Jr. Pac-Man. Serving as the distributor; Bally Midway designed this title for two player game play. General Computer Corporation, which had a hand in the original Pac-Man series, also developed Jr. Pac-Man. Home ports for Jr. Pac-Man became available on the Commodore 64 in 1984.

There are a total of 146 boards in Jr. Pac-Man, with the last maze consisting of a glitch. As the 146th screen is not rendered correctly, it would be impossible to go any further. Instead of seeing dots, power-ups or boards, the screen is blank.

 

Game Play Overview

Jr. Pac-Man is played by moving the main character through a series of mazes that increase in difficulty. Along the way there are dots that are 'eaten' to accumulate points. At the center of this story is a romance between Jr. Pac-Man and the child of one of his sworn enemies. Like the original Pac-Man series, there are periodic animated interludes between boards that show how Yum-Yum and Jr. Pac-Man fall for one another. Ms. Pac-Man also makes several appearances throughout these animated interludes.

The main controls in Jr. Pac-Man are the directional keys. While the mazes themselves are nearly identical to those seen in Pac-Man, they are much bigger. Somewhere between 520 and 550 dots must be eaten on every level, not including power-ups and bonuses. The four ghosts that chase Jr. Pac-Man, Pinky, Tim, Blinky and Inky, become vulnerable when a power pill is consumed by the main character. He can then eat the ghosts for additional points. However, all enemies automatically regenerate after a few seconds.

The goal of Jr. Pac-Man is to score the most points. Bonus items have different values, but dots are worth 10 points each. Ghosts range in value from 200 to 1,600 points. The first ghost eaten by Jr. Pac-Man is worth 200 points, and they continue to go up in value until the fourth ghost is swallowed. Power pills are worth 50 points and mutated dots are also valued at 50 points.

Special Features

Jr. Pac-Man has quite a few special features. Dots come in two varieties; standard and mutated. Whenever a bonus item appears, it bounces along until you lose a life, eat it, or it makes contact with a power pill and destroys it. The standard dots that the bonus items travel over become mutated, and are given a higher point value.

Power pills are found on every stage. When eaten, they allow Jr. Pac-Man to turn the tables on his enemies, but only for a few moments. If you can manage to chase them all down, you will rack up 3,000 points and have the opportunity to clear out a large portion of the board without danger.

Bonus items also appear on every level. For the first seven levels, each bonus corresponds to the name and nature of the bonus items seen. For instance, the first level, called the bicycle stage, also features the bicycle bonus item. Collect the bonus items that appear on each stage for a higher score, but also beware of their ability to destroy power pills.

Extra lives come every 10,000 points. This is why gaining a high score is of such importance in Jr. Pac-Man.

Icons

Ghosts – Like Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, the enemies of Jr. Pac-Man are ghosts. Normally, they are range in color, but they all turn blue whenever Jr. Pac-Man swallows a power pill.

Jr. Pac-Man – This is the main character in Jr. Pac-Man, and the only playable character.

Power Pills – Larger than regular dots, there are six power pills within every maze.

Dots – Dots cover the majority of each maze in Jr. Pac-Man. They are assigned a set point value, but they serve no other practical purpose.

Bonuses – Balloons, cats and trains are just some of the bonuses that appear in this game. All bonus items move along paths within each maze, until they are ultimately consumed or explode when they run into a power pill.

How to Play Jr. Pac-Man

Using the directional buttons, you can lead Jr. Pac-Man up, down, left or right. When all of the dots, including power pills have been eaten, the level is complete. Jr. Pac-Man must traverse maze and go down intricate paths, while avoiding being ambushed by ghosts. Most boards also have multiple dead ends, so you will need to be very careful about when you choose to collect certain dots.

All ghosts originate from the same point, within a small rectangle situated toward the top of each maze. Jr. Pac-Man will continue to travel along a path unless his path is blocked, or he runs into a corner. The screen is slightly wider in Jr. Pac-Man than it is in either Ms. Pac-Man or Pac-Man, which means that a different strategy should be employed.

Level 1 – The Bicycle Maze
All of the barriers on level one are small and varied, which gives Jr. Pac-Man quite a bit of room to maneuver. There is no right or wrong way to collect all of the dots on this level, but you should be aware of the positioning of all of the power pills. Try to avoiding collecting a power pill unless all four ghosts are in your near vicinity. Otherwise, you can use power pills as a power-up whenever you get into a bind.

The ghosts will start to exit the box slowly over the course of this level, so use this to your advantage. You can quickly clear a large portion of this board well before all four ghosts start to come after you. The bicycle bonus icon will eventually make its appearance, but don't be hasty. Unlike other version of Pac-Man, there are no hidden tunnels, so the bonus icons will remain in play until you clear the level. Eat the bicycle icon for 100 extra points. Collect all 548 dots in addition to the six power pills to beat stage one.

The first animated interlude in Jr. Pac-Man appears directly after the completion of level one.

Level 2 – The Kite Maze
Within the kite maze on level two, you should notice that the shape of some of the barriers has changed. The long, thin barrier along the top of the screen can easily cause you to become trapped if two ghosts enter the path from opposite ends. There are also two barriers shaped like stairs. Lastly, the two large block shaped barriers toward the bottom of the board give ghosts several different try points.

First, clear all of the dots around the two large blocks so that you can avoid this area. By now, all of the ghosts should be hot on your trail. Next, you should follow the 'stairs' to the left or the right, and then target the power up pill directly above. After you have consumed all four blue ghosts, you can clear out the dots at the top of the screen. There are a total of 560 dots on the second level. Continue to round up ghosts and consume power up pills until the level is complete. The kite bonus item is worth a total of 200 points.

Level 3 – The Drum Maze
This maze is made up of many smaller barriers, which will allow you to eat more dots, uninterrupted. You should also notice that your enemies are able to move much quicker. Since you will need to work harder to clear out the dots in any given area, make sure that you go in with a strategy as well as an emergency exit in mind.

If you eat all of the dots around the perimeter, save the power pills, first, you will have an easier time completing the drum maze. Alternatively, you can split up the screen into four parts, and try focusing on eating the 560 dots on this stage by tackling individual sections. After you have eaten the drum bonus icon, valued at 500, points, consume the last dots and power pills.

Act II in the animated interlude series plays after you complete level three.

Level 4 – The Balloon Maze
The very bottom of the balloon maze is potentially treacherous. There are multiple parallel barriers situated next to one another. While they will help to you eat a large number of dots quickly, they will also give your enemies many different points of attack. For these reasons, you should try to go the bottom at the very beginning of the stage before all of the ghosts make an appearance.

The balloon bonus is valued at 700 points, so it will be worth the effort to pick this item up. Once you have cleared out the bottom portion of the puzzle, you can complete the rest, working from the bottom to the top. While preserving power pills is still important, you may not want to leave them at the bottom of the screen. It will be much harder to get to them without losing a life on this board compared to others.

Level 5 – The Train Maze
On level five, the time that the power pill bonus remains active will shorten noticeably. This will give you less time to chase down the ghosts before they go back to their normal state. The barriers within this maze are mainly broken up into a series of short lines, running both horizontally and vertically. There are also a few L and T-shaped barriers.

Grab the train icon for 1,000 bonus points, but be aware of your surroundings. If you notice too many ghosts getting close to you with no power pills nearby, change your course of direction. Staying in any area too long will cause then to hone in on you. It may take you some time to collect all of the 528 dots that appear on this stage, but it is more important that you conserve your lives.

Players get to see Act III, the final animated interlude in Jr. Pac-Man after level five is done.

Level 6 – The Cat Maze
Most of the barriers on the cat maze look like wishbones, or a crude version of the letter Y. Although somewhat visually appealing, these barriers will severely limit the way in which Jr. Pac-Man is able to travel. Again, the bottom of the screen holds the most danger. Clear this portion first.

Eating the cat icon bonus will yield you 2,000 extra points. If you are still working on clearing out a particularly dangerous portion of the stage, you can wait to go after the bonus. Look at each barrier as a different part of the level. This will help you to avoid getting trapped by ghosts.

This is also the first level where Jr. Pac-Man is given four power pills instead of the standard number of six. Eat the four power pills and 512 dots to complete level six.

Level 7 – The Beer Maze
This is the last original stage in Jr. Pac-Man. There are three long barriers on the far right and the far left. These barriers provide players with only two different ways to get to either side. There also four power pills that are placed in precarious spots. Work to clear out the middle of the maze first, but you ultimately want to be near a power pill by the time all of the ghosts are present.

The beer icon has a 5,000 point value, but it may be very difficult to get it. By this point, power pills will be nearly worthless as you will rarely have enough time to eat more than one or two ghosts at a time. Essentially, you will need to rely on quick fingers and even quicker thinking to make it through the beer maze. Consume the 540 dots and four power pills on this stage to get to level eight.

Levels 8 – 146
After level seven, only the beer bonus icon will continue to appear. The ghosts will be moving pretty quickly by now, but they will be harder to outsmart as you progress. Additionally, power pills will work more as a determinant than as an actual power-up. Once you get to level number 146, the game will unceremoniously end. There is simply no way to go any further because this level is not functional.

Hints and Tips
- Regular and mutated dots are placed very close to power pills. Try not to accidentally collect a power pill by leaving at least one dot on each side.

- Try to rack up points on the earlier levels, when the power up pill timer is longest. This will allow you to get more extra lives.

- Beware of corners, dead ends and paths with few exits. This is the easiest way for Jr. Pac-Man to be defeated.

 

We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.


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