View Full Version : Bridget's review of: Sac-man

08-03-2009, 09:44 AM
Level name: Sac-man

PSN: jedi_jeff

Well, FINALLY, after a long pile of endless delays caused by assorted PC stupidities, I can finally continue with my reviews.

And what a level to come back to!

I'm just going to say this right now: I loved this one. Just loved it.

Oh, it's not perfect, but.... this is pretty dang neat.

Now, I've seen alot of Pac-man themed levels in LBP. Most of them, frankly, arent very good. Where you get like, a maze made of dark matter, and ghosts on pistons that just move back and forth in a straight line; they dont actually move around the maze. And no real special features beyond that. Not in any of the ones I'd seen.

So, when I saw that this, another Pac-man level, was next up on my list, I was thinking.... ugh.... another one of THESE?

So imagine my surprise when I found that this was a GOOD one. No, make that GREAT.

The idea is, of course, exactly what it sounds like; it's Pac-man made in LBP. Zoom around a maze, get all the dots (bubbles), and avoid the ghosts.

The quality of the level shows right away as soon as you enter, as you go slightly to the right of the title screen, and there's a little tutorial area. This explains, in very easy manner, all of the intricasies of the maze itself and how you are to interact with everything. It even has some screenshots with arrows pointing out specific features.

Then you go to the right, get on the jetpack, and come to the maze itself.

This impressed me.

The first thing I noticed was how totally uniform and generally good looking the maze was. All of the bubbles are properly spaced, and so are all of the walls.

The SECOND thing I noticed was that the ghosts actually move around the maze this time! Previous levels of this type that I'd seen really couldnt quite get this part right. But the ghosts do in fact move around the maze mostly as they should; they appear to have a full range of motion, turning at intersections and everything. I'd rather like to have a look at the mechanics behind this.

Even better, the ghosts work just like they should; In their normal state, touching one will kill you.... and you only get one life, like a Survival Challenge. But of course, in each corner of the maze is a yellow power pellet. Just run over these.... you dont have to grab them or everything, just touching them will do, just like in the original.... and the ghosts will shift modes, just like in the real game.

They dont turn blue here, but instead make this "surprised" face, which is kinda amusing. While the pellet is in effect, a siren will also be repeating in the background, letting you know it's going.

During this time, if you touch one of the ghosts, it'll vanish, and a bubble will spawn in the "bonus points" box to the left of the maze (which you can only access after each successful completion).

Even better though..... just like in Pac-man, the maze contains the Ghost Home in the very center; a popped ghost will soon respawn here, and begin traversing the maze again as if it had never left.

Each time you clear the maze of all bubbles and pellets, the door at the entrance will open back up, and you can go into the bonus box and grab the bubbles that were spawned there. After which.... you can keep going! The maze will respawn all bubbles and pellets, and you can enter and continue to score. You can keep this up until you are caught by a ghost, though you also have the option of leaving, to the scoreboard, from that bonus box, if you wish.

I think the only thing I really found odd here was the simple fact that there are only THREE ghosts; not four. I have to wonder if there's some mechanical limit that was at work here, but it's hard to tell. Other than that.... this all worked out really well.

Lets get to the scoring:

Gameplay: 9/10

Definitely where this level shines. To me, it really does feel quite like Pac-man should. You have no trouble getting around the maze, and things like power pellets and ghosts work perfectly. And the ability to keep going after each successful completion is a great touch. Just like with the actual game.

Graphics/sound: 8/10

Definitely a bit sparse, but.... in the right way. It's Pac-man, after all. It's SUPPOSED to look like that. Im glad there were not any attempts made to make it look "prettier" or something. Instead, it really looks just like it should. I did think though that a couple of additional sound effects in certain places would be useful.... in particular, a sound effect that signals the power pellet wearing off would be a good idea. The music, to me, doesnt fit at all; but then, Im not entirely sure what music would. Not the first time I found myself wishing that there was some sort of 8-bit-sounding track in LBP.

Challenge: 6/10

Unlike the actual Pac-man game, the ghosts dont have any real AI controlling them..... AKA, you dont have Blinky right behind you every freaking second of the way through the maze. So they're a little easier to dodge. And there's three of them, not four. That being said, you only get one life here. And just like in Pac-man, it's SO easy to have grabbed a power pellet, but have the ghost turn back JUST as you go to pop it, thus getting yourself killed instead. The real challenge comes from dealing with the ghosts, AND trying to score properly with the score bubbles. LBP's scoring system works PERFECTLY here. You just may find yourself cursing at the screen when you accidentally break a long bubble chain you'd had going, thus resetting your multiplier. That part is touger than it looks.

Pacing/Length: 10/10

You can play the maze just once, or you can keep it up until you die and try to score high; your choice. Quit whenever you want. And the maze is just the right size, to me.

Overall: 9/10

I really enjoyed this one.... what a pleasant surprise this was! 5 stars, and hearted, from me. I was quite impressed by this. It's easy to figure out, looks nice, and most importantly, PLAYS like it seems like it should. Kudos to the creator for this one.

This, I think, is a level I'll be coming back to.


Before you begin, a well done little tutorial section, complete with screenshots, will make certain that there's no confusion once you're in the maze.


Look close, and you can see the power pellet in the corner there.... and this would probably be a very good time to grab it. That ghost wont know what hit him....


Those ghosts arent very bright, but keep your distance; you dont want to get sandwiched between two of them.

08-06-2009, 03:21 AM
I'm glad you liked Sac-Man. The reason for having 3 ghosts instead of 4 was mostly due to physical space. Now that pistons and such can be made invisible, it would be much easier to add that 4th ghost, but memory limits might still be a problem. The memory limits were what kept me from making Ms. Sac-Man. I may still give it a try though.


08-06-2009, 09:35 PM
I'm glad you liked Sac-Man. The reason for having 3 ghosts instead of 4 was mostly due to physical space. Now that pistons and such can be made invisible, it would be much easier to add that 4th ghost, but memory limits might still be a problem. The memory limits were what kept me from making Ms. Sac-Man. I may still give it a try though.


Yeah, the memory limits can be such a complete pain, cant they?

I gotta wonder what does it though..... is it the emitters for the bubbles and such that gobbles it all up? That wouldnt surprise me.

If that's the case, just try changing some settings on them.... the game is pretty picky about emitters, I can say that much, lol. Those things can gobble up the thermo so quickly.....