Given how completely Pac-Man: Championship Edition updated the original Pac-Man two years ago and made it completely fresh and modern whilst still being true to the original – I was very surprised that Pac-Man: CE DX does the same to Pac-Man CE. This new game pays homage to both the original Pac-Man and Pac-Man: Championship Edition whilst feeling really new both gameplay and graphically. It carries over all the improvements of CE, such as the neon visuals, ever increasing gameplay tempo, and switching from right to left sides of the maze upon completing a pattern, time-based score attack modes, and adds a whole lot more.
There are now 9 different courses to play on and each has its own distinctive feel. The main game itself has a number of changes. Firstly, there are sleeping ghosts dotted around the maze (who get refreshed every time the dots do) who awaken when you go past them and follow your Pac-Man around the maze. You find yourself leading a huge chain of ghosts around the maze and then finally you get a power pill and combo them all up. Its a great feeling. However, this means that for most of the game you lose the whole planning routes and running away from the ghosts feeling. Instead you plan your route at full speed and leg it about. Only in the 10 minute Score Attack mode do you have to worry about other ghosts eating you other than the ones behind you.
In addition, when you get close to a ghost the game now slows down, offering you a chance to make a quick escape. Much appreciated when the game really speeds up. As well as this, there is now a bomb. So even if you can’t dodge when the slowdown hits, you can hit the bomb button. Initially I thought a bomb button would ruin Pac-Man but it adds to the flow of the game. There isn’t a pause in the furious action however the game speed does is reduced slightly. Also, the ghosts don’t disappear but respawn in that hole in the centre. However, they do so in lesser numbers, thus reducing your scoring potential. These changes to the gameplay give the game a really fresh feel compared to CE and original Pac-Man. The original CE course is included in this game (but with the slowdown and bomb mechanics) and it feels so different not having the big chain of ghosts following you.
As well as the gameplay changes, the visuals have once again been updated. There are now a large variety of different styles, some like Lego brings, some like Pac-Mania, the standard Championship Edition look, and other modern neon and crazy visual themes, adding variety to the game.
This is highly recommended but I don’t know whether for pure Score Attack it surpasses Pac-Man: Championship Edition – only time will tell.