My GameCube Library: Pac-Man Fever

PACMAN
image: mobygames.com

In this series I will go over all the games I remember playing as a kid on my Gamecube. Some were good, but most were bad, but all of them have a special place in my heart.

When people think of party games, Mario is always the number one mascot of this genre. Mario Kart, Mario Party, and even Smash Bros could be considered party games, and they are all wildly successful due to their accessibility, iconic characters and engaging gameplay. However, with every success, there are many others who think that they can do the same thing and get the same results, regardless of how little effort is put into them.

Pac-Man Fever is a party game released for the GameCube in 2002 and was met with a “why does this game exist” reaction from everyone. Pac-Man Fever was released as the Mario Party games became prevalent and high-quality, and Namco decided that if their most recognizable face can be on a party game, it will sell a lot of copies. Namco found out that a character that hasn’t been relevant since the last century will not sell a lot of copies of a game that isn’t the original game.

Pac-Man Fever has a strange intro, where six Namco characters are preparing for the Mini Game Cup when ghosts steal the cup and it’s up to Pac-Man and friends to take the cup back. They do this by competing in Mini Games. Wait, I though that the Mini Game Cup was the competition by playing mini games, so having the characters do it anyway makes the ghosts pointless. Anyway, the 6 total characters that the player can play as, two of which are Pac-Man characters, and another two are from Tekken. These characters all look so odd when they are in the same game together and the Tekken characters look so cartoony and laughable that it’s immediately hard to take this game in any serious matter.

There are only three boards on which to play on, and they are all generic themed boards like Tropical, Space and Medieval. They can be played in short, medium, or long mode, but the real question is why make generic themes? The games you draw from (mostly Tekken) have really cool areas and themes that could all be used and make the game way less boring than it already is. The mini games are also themed to the respective boards, but they also are the same on every board, just themed differently.

The mini games are also not very engaging considering that some of them are very easy by hitting the A button until your thumbs bleed, and some are completely random and are winnable by luck only. There is one that sticks out in my mind as being dreadful to sit through and that is the vending machine game. Apparently, the player has to light up all the buttons on the vending machine to get points, but the cursor flies all over the place so it is impossible to really get to the point where winning is impossible for everyone but the computer players. There are also a lot of unskippable scenes where you have to watch other players get coins while avoiding anvils that a monkey throws at the characters. I just don’t care what happens to the other characters.

This game is very hard to sit through as the characters move very slowly on the board and take forever to make decisions, all of which are targeted at the player. Going through a short game is still excruciatingly boring considering everything moves as slowly as it does. When someone wins, its more a relief than a victory considering everyone who has been playing is bored and hates staring at the bad graphics and listening to the obnoxious music.

When looking for a party game on the GameCube, do not pick up Pac-Man Fever. It is boring, slow, uninspired and bland. Mario Party games may be a little pricey these days, but it is so much better than the alternative.

Next week we grab out Nick friends and venture to an ancient island.

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