Pac ‘N’ Pal
The Game: Once again, you are a round yellow creature consisting of a mouth and nothing else, maneuvering around a relatively simple maze. But this time, you have a Pal! A little round green Pal who is here just to help you. (Pal appears to be wearing a little bow, so there’s no indication of whether or not Ms. Pac-Man knows about Pac-Man’s pal…) Those four pesky monsters are back. This time, the handful of treats in each maze is locked away behind doors vaguely reminiscent of Super Pac-Man. These doors can be unlocked by munching one of the cards lying around the maze. Fruit will score points for you, but if you eat one of the two Galaxians in each maze, Pac-Man is briefly imbued with a super shout which stuns the monsters for a little while. The only problem? Pac’s Pal will grab the fruit or the Galaxians and…very slowly…get around to bringing it to him. Sometimes this helps – Pal is impervious to the monsters, and there are no power pellets to help Pac-Man this time – but sometimes Pal dimwittedly marches your much-needed Galaxian right into the middle of the monsters, making it inaccessible. (Bally/Midway, 1983)
Memories: Possibly the most bizarre entry in the Pac-Man series, this game is a little bit confusing…and is, perhaps, the final indication that Bally/Midway and Namco had gone to the Pac-Man well one too many times. By this time, the only resemblance the latest Pac-game bore to the original were the elements of Pac-Man, the monsters, and the maze. And don’t even ask where Pal came from. I haven’t a clue.
One of the most obscure Pac-games, right up there with the pseudo-educational Professor Pac-Man and the vaguely 3-D Pac-Mania, Pac ‘n’ Pal was not translated for home video gamers until very recently. To show you how obscure it was, I was a Pac-maniac between the ages of nine and twelve…and I had never heard of Pac ‘n’ Pal until the late 1990s.
Another version of Pac ‘N’ Pal was prepared, though whether or not it was ever released in this format is unclear, titled Pac-Man & Chomp-Chomp, with the odd Pal character transformed into Pac-Man’s dog, Chomp-Chomp, from the ABC cartoon series. Other than that cosmetic change, the character behaved exactly the same.