The Game: Once again, Pac-Man roams the maze, pursued by four colorful ghosts. But instead of dots, this maze is peppered with other goodies, ranging from the usual fruits (apples, bananas, etc.) to donuts, cake, and burgers. And in addition to the traditional four “power pellets” in each corner of the screen, there are two green “super power pellets” per screen, which give the mighty yellow one the power to fly over the monsters’ heads and to break down doors that confine some of the yummy treats in the maze. (Atari, 1984 – never released)
Memories: Super Pac-Man was one of many Pac-Man spinoffs that made only a minor splash when it hit the arcades in 1982. Nixed by the sudden cancellation of new releases caused by the video game industry crash, Atari’s 5200 edition of Super Pac-Man is actually very good.
It’s impossible to say how much of a splash it would’ve made, but it’s easily the best translation of any member of the Pac-Man family to come along until the 7800 edition of Ms. Pac-Man. The sounds and graphics are dead-on – if anything, the only shortcoming I’ve found with 5200 Super Pac-Man is the tendency of both power pellets and super power pellets to wear off within mere seconds. Even the controls are smooth, which isn’t always the case with the 5200 sticks.
Had it been released, Super Pac-Man for the 5200 would no doubt have been hailed as one of the best arcade translations in that system’s brief lifetime. It’s amazing how much of what could have been the 5200’s heyday wound up on the video game industry’s equivalent of the cutting room floor.