Atari Lynx Review: Pac-Land on Lynx Lounge
By Brian Thomas Barnhart |
Hey what’s up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of Lynx Lounge! We are walking down memory lane here, going over all of the great arcade ports that the Atari Lynx had to offer. You want to talk about a BIG star in the ’80s… well it’s kind of hard not to mention Pac-Man.
But this is a different game, because this is a side-scrolling Mario-type game called Pac-Land. Let’s take a look:
“I think this is a great game. This is sort of a forgotten game. Not a lot of people talk about Pac-Land when they talk about Pac-Man. Personally, I love this game. This is a game that brings a smile to my face every time I play it.”
– Brian Thomas Barnhart
So a very cool Pac-Man Saturday morning cartoon came out in 1982, and Pac-Man was absolutely everywhere. Hew was on cereals, he was on everything, and he was everywhere.
But later on, in 1984, Namco released this game which was completely different than any game that Pac-Man was ever in. This is Pac-Land. What I really love about it is that they used a lot of the cues from the cartoon that I grew up watching, and they put it in this side-scrolling adventure.
They really had to shake up the Pac-Man landscape, because let’s face it, how many variations of maze games can you have? And also, who was very popular at the time? Well, Mario of course. Things were really changing. People wanted a break from the space games, they wanted a break from the maze games, and they wanted something fresh and new. Mario was delivering it with his side-scrolling adventures. Well, Pac-Man needed to follow suit, and he did in this beautiful game called Pac-Land.
I love that the music in the game is from the cartoon. The whole game feels based on the cartoon. Like I said, I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, and that was the cartoon that you watched on Saturday morning, you had to see what was going on with Pac-Man.
I absolutely love how this game sounds. It sounds great. The sound effects are very, very good. They sound a lot like the arcade. The music is pretty much spot-on. It’s just a great tune, I love to hear that song. It just brings a smile to my face.
The graphics are pretty close to the arcade as well. They are really nice, beautiful sprites. They look really, really… they look tasty. I’ll say that. They look tasty on the Atari Lynx screen. It looks good, it plays good, and isn’t that half the battle?
So if you played this game in the arcade, it had this interesting way that you had to tap the buttons in order to get Pac-Man to go left and right, and then also jump. The faster you tap the buttons, the faster he went, and then he had to jump. Kind of different than anything that we had played at the time with the joystick. The one that I played at my arcade just had buttons, it did not have joysticks or anything like that.
The game controls in the arcade were kind of unique, but basically you’re doing the same thing when you play Pac-Land on Atari Lynx. You’re sort of tap-tap-tapping left and right in order to get his speed. Now, that does get tricky later on, especially when you’re going to jump over springboards. You know, it’s just, uh.. it’s tough.. it’s tough.
Do I like it? Not so much. But hey, that’s what you’ve got to work with, so if you want to get good at Pac-Land you’d better figure it out.
Now, I would say that this version of Pac-Land is my second choice. If I’m going to play this game, I’m going to play it on the TurboGrafx-16 because I feel that that version of Pac-Land is spot-on. It is arcade perfect.
And not only that, the TurboGrafx-16 has the Turbo Switches built into the controller, which means my jumping over the springs boards, the problems I have on the Lynx, I don’t have to worry about that because I just flip on the turbo, jump across, and I’m good to go. It’s a little tricky on the Lynx because I don’t have the turbo but c’est la vie, what are ya gonna do? I would say second place would have to go to the Atari Lynx. It’s a great port.
You know, for as long as I’ve had this game, for as long as I’ve played this game, I’ve really never taken the time to understand what the story is, other than he’s, you know, going from left to right and he has to get the fairies, and has to get his shoes to like jump back to where he came from. I mean, honestly, I don’t care. I don’t really care what the story is. The game just plays so good and it’s just so fun to look at and so fun to play that I’m really not concerned about the actual narrative of the story. I just enjoy the way it plays. I like the way it sounds. I think it sounds great.
So you need to ask yourself.. did Pac-Man survive the change from maze games to side-scrolling adventures? Well I would say yes. I think this is a great game. This is sort of a forgotten game. Not a lot of people talk about Pac-Land when they talk about Pac-Man. They usually talk about Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and all the different variants of the maze games. But this game doesn’t really get a lot of love, as far as I’m concerned.
Personally, I love this game. This is a game that brings a smile to my face every time I play it. And I suggest that if you are out looking for Atari Lynx games, well.. you should pick up Pac-Land. You’re not going to be disappointed. You’re going to spend that money but it’s going to be money well spent, I guarantee you that. That’s a BTB guarantee that you can take to the bank. Pac-Land is a great game. Check it out.
Alright! That’s it, I’m signing off. I will see you on the next episode of Lynx Lounge. If you want your Atari 7800 fix you can check me out at 7800 Avenue, or The Jag Bar. Gosh it’s been great hanging out with you guys, and I hope you come back.
Pac-Land was developed by Namco and was released to arcades in 1984. It was ported to the Atari Lynx in 1991. Programming and Art by Joel Seider. Music and Sound by Jason Stephenitch. Pac-Land Copyright 1984 Namco Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Licensed to Atari Corporation. Copyright 1991 Atari Corporation.
Brian Thomas Barnhart is a classic gaming aficionado, retro pop culture connoisseur, and a Senior Fellow at Atari I/O. He is host of The Jag Bar, Lynx Lounge, 7800 Avenue, and the Atari I/O After Hours Podcast. Brian is a Moderator in the Atari I/O Forums under the name btbfilms76. You can follow him on Instagram and at his YouTube channel.
model # PA 2059