Pac-Man Plus: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview
Pac-Man Plus is the fourth title to be released by Bally Midway in the Pac-Man series. In addition to the name, Pac-Man Plus is almost identical to the original Pac-Man. Players control a yellow character that opens and closes his mouth while eating dots. Pac-Man Plus was first released in 1982, even though Bally Midway did not have Namco’s approval.
Pac-Man Plus was distributed as an upgrade kit that coincided with existing Pac-Man arcade machines. A number of small changes, including the color of the mazes, the design of bonus items and the actions of ghosts were implemented. While Pac-Man Plus quickly became a hit, its unauthorized release by Bally Midway led to the end of their business relationship with Namco.
There are no home gaming systems or hand-held gaming consoles that are compatible with Pac-Man Plus. A few arcade game enthusiasts have programmed what are known as ‘homebrew’ versions for computers. These unauthorized versions of Pac-Man Plus are generally available online, for free.
Pac-Man Plus can be played in one or two player modes.
Game Play Overview
Because the same maze is featured on every level of Pac-Man Plus, there is no definitive end. Players can go as far as level 255, because a programming glitch prevents play past this board. The maze itself is outlined in a bright green color, with a small rectangle placed toward the top. Inside of this rectangle is where ghosts convene and re-generate after being eaten.
Four ghosts, which are Pac-Man’s only foes, constantly run around the screen. While they cannot eat dots or bonus items, they can prevent Pac-Man from completing the maze. You cannot come in contact with a ghost, or else you will lose a life. The only exception is when you have recently eaten a power pellet. When a power pellet is active, Pac-Man is able to eat ghosts.
Unlike in the original Pac-Man, power pellets cause randomized events to occur. Instead of having all four ghosts turn blue and run away, the maze walls may disappear, three ghosts might turn blue or the ghosts may become invisible. This element makes Pac-Man Plus a little more difficult.
The maze itself is comprised of exactly 240 regular dots, and a single bonus item that appears toward the middle of the round. There are also four power pellets within each stage of Pac-Man Plus.
Bonus items aren’t always worth a lot of points, but they become more valuable as the game goes on. A can of soda appears on the first stage, and it is worth 100 points. The drink glass is featured on levels two and three, and it has a value of 300 points. The green peas come out on levels three and four. They are worth 500 points.
Apples come on the fifth and sixth stages, at a total value of 700 points. Grapes are worth 1,000 points and appear on levels seven and eight. The Galaxian symbol appears on levels 9 and 10, with a 2,000 bonus point value. Bread slices appear on stages 11 and 12, and they are worth 3,000 points. Pancakes, worth 5,000 points, appear on level 13 and higher.
The value for eating ghosts increases if you eat two or more at a time. A single ghost is only valued at 200 points, but you will get an extra 400 points for the next one consumed. An additional 800 and 1,600 points can be earned if you eat a third and fourth ghost while a single power pellet is active.
Extra lives are awarded every 10,000 points.
Dots – Dots, which are worth 10 points, have to be fully eliminated in order to go to the next round.
Bonus icons – Bonus icons appear on each level of Pac-Man Plus. Eating them causes ghosts to turn invisible while they are blue. Also gain extra points.
Ghosts – The same four ghosts that appear in Pac-Man also play a major role in Pac-Man Plus. Their names are Inky, Clyde, Pinky and Blinky.
Power pellets – Power pellets are a little unpredictable, but they still offer players some protection from ghosts.
How to Play Pac-Man Plus
Since you will be completing the same maze again and again in Pac-Man Plus, it is vital that learn how each ghost moves. While none of the ghosts travels in a set pattern, their movements are very predictable. Figure out which area of the board is easiest for you to clear out first, then time your movements and eat all of the dots in the more dangerous parts.
Also, eating bonus items is essential if you want to get a good score. Earning a higher score will allow you to get more extra lives, which will be very helpful on harder levels.
Use the four directional arrows to direct Pac-Man.
If you decide to use a pattern to clear the mazes in Pac-Man Plus, it will be easier for you to develop a rhythm. Learn how to quickly change directions, and depend on the sound the game makes when you eat dots to stay away from ghosts.
The can of soda will appear sometime on this stage. Try to get to it quickly while evading ghosts. After all 240 dots are consumed; you will be able to move on.
Pay attention to the maze and wait for the drink glass icon to appear. If successfully eaten, you will another 300 points to your score.
The green peas appear for the first time on level three.
Green peas have a 500 point value, so make sure that you pick them up, when possible.
The game will start to become a little more difficult on level five as the ghosts will increase in speed. Hide out in corners and quickly eat a power pellet if they hone in on your position. The red apple is also featured on this stage.
The red apple, worth 700 points, comes on level six. Eat it to add to your score.
A bunch of purple grapes will appear near the box where ghosts appear. Grab them for an 1,000 point bonus.
Eat all of the dots on level eight, and look out for the purple grapes.
The Galaxian symbol appears as a bonus item in many early games included in the Pac-Man series. Collect it for an additional 2,000 points.
Again, the speed of the ghosts will noticeably increase on level 10. You will need to start moving more carefully if you want to conserve lives. Pick up the Galaxian symbol so that you can get closer to earning another extra man.
A pair of sliced bread, worth 3,000 points, are featured on this stage.
The bread slice bonus also comes out on level 12 again.
On level 13, you will see the final unique bonus item featured in Pac-Man Plus. At this point, you may need to sacrifice several lives in order to clear a single maze.
Beyond Level 13
When you get past level 13, you will notice that power pellets only last around a second and that the ghosts literally fly through the maze. You will need to carefully time all of your movements in order to eat all of the dots. The pancake bonus icon will help you to raise your score more quickly, so try to stick to the center of the maze until it appears.
Hints and Tips
- Eating all four ghosts with a single power pellet will not always be possible, but this is the quickest means of getting a high score. When you eat all four ghosts four times on a level, you get a perfect score.
- Depending on your skill level, you may be able to make it quite far in Pac-Man Plus. Remember that maximizing your score on each stage is the key to going further. With more lives at your disposal, it will be easier for you to get those last pesky dots.
We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.
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