Pac-Man World Rally - Review PS2 - Namco/Bandai

Pac-Man is one of the oldest and most recognisable video game characters in history; here he is the focal point of a kid friendly kart racing game following in the footsteps of Mario and Crash Bandicoot who have also transitioned from platformer to kart racer.

Story
As with most karting games story doesn't really play a part in the game, the main objective is to enter races and win.

Graphics
Graphics are crisp, colourful and clear however at the same time nothing spectacular. When racing the game runs smoothly and with no hint of any slowdown. The problem is there is nothing that makes this game memorable or standout from any other kart racer - everything from the tracks and the game presentation is generic.

Sound
The in game audio comprises of lots of upbeat cartoony tunes based on the original Pac-man theme -the famous WAKA WAKA chomping sound also makes an appearance when the power pill mode is activated. Overall sound effects fit with the game environment although after extended play do start to grate.

Pac Man World Rally, Review PS2


Gameplay
Pac-man rally is a standard kart racing game which follows the format of pretty much every other karting game before it. The game does offer up a few unique Pac-man based concepts however these are not significant enough to make the game standout from the crowd.

The game contains a large roster of characters however outside the Pac family and the familiar ghosts many are unmemorable. On top of this, although each character is meant to have different stats, they all feel and drive the same - resulting in who you choose being purely cosmetic.

On top of this, making the character choice even more redundant, is the absolute lack of difficulty in the game. It is very difficult not to win every race in which you compete. Computer AI is not aggressive enough and you have far too much (generic) weaponry at your disposal. In addition tracks are very easy with difficult turns and sections being kept to a bare minimum.

The unique power pill feature, whereby you collect power pills as you drive and activate it when the meter is full, which enables a short period of invulnerability where you can munch your opponents, makes things even easier as you can use this as an insurance policy on the last lap being untouchable on your way to victory.

Tracks all follow standard theme such as desert, beach, jungle, haunted, volcano all which have been seen before. Each track has its own obstacles and short cuts which can be activated by collecting fruit strewn about the track. While there are some well thought out tracks there is nothing memorable like Ghost Valley or Bowser Castle on Mariokart - tracks become even more forgettable as enemy AI just isn't aggressive enough and you will end up lapping opponents every race.

In addition to the standard championship mode you can pick single tracks to race and also take part in various battlemodes. There are lots of character to unlock however doing this is simply a matter of playing the game for long enough as none of the championships present sufficient challenge.

Controls
Controls are easy to pick up and if you have played any other karting game they should be instantly familiar. You can fire weapons, power slide, accelerate and brake with the only unique action being the activation of the power pill mode.

That said, controls are all well implemented and the game is instantly accessible and very kid friendly.

Conclusion
While I have been overall pretty negative about the game it isn't really that bad - it is just ruined by the complete lack of challenge. While I understand that this is a game aimed at kids surely the challenge could have been ramped up to accommodate all ages/skill levels?

The game is a standard kart racer which offers nothing new to the genre I'm not sure that a 25+year old character will appeal enough to kids to make them want to rush out and buy the game.

Worth a rental if you want to breeze through a game in a weekend.


Overall Pac-Man World Rally gets....

6 out of 10

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