All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze

Score: 50%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Creature Labs
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:

The problems with Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze start with the graphics. Although you can raise the level of graphical detail from outside of the program, it doesn't particularly help things. The game is played as a real-time rendered 3D playfield with the eponymous character running around dodging the ghosts and eating pellets. Unfortunately, the border and text are all rough 2D graphics, and they don't scale nicely at all to higher resolutions. The game certainly didn't skip a beat on my computer, which isn't surprising, considering the minimum system requirements; it didn't look particularly nice either. The between-level videos are laughable at best, lasting a mere few seconds and making even less sense than the intermissions in the original games.

The sound in the game is passable, but it's not particularly spectacular. You have the standard sounds that you'd expect --'wocka wocka', the power-pellet-changed tune, and so on. The music ranges from bland to bad, and the effects sound tinny. Perhaps that's intentional, but it's not particularly pleasing to the ears.


And while I realize that this game is geared towards a budget price-point, that doesn't excuse poor design. While you may get a few seconds of nostalgic gameplay from Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze, you'll soon find yourself longing for the much more elegant original rendition of the game. This computer revamp does just about everything wrong, which is a real shame, since Pac-Man: Adventures in Time was a delightful gaming experience. Ah, well.

The plot, if you want to call it that, is that Ms. Pac-Man is looking for the golden maze or something inside some ancient Egyptian ruins. It didn't make much sense to me, and I don't really think it was intended to, but it's nothing that's going to get in the way of the game. The game itself is presented as a series of different mazes, each filled with the requisite pellets that you have to chomp to progress to the next level.

All that's well and good, but the developers added a number of power-ups and special tokens and tricks to enhance the gameplay. For example, there's a little green ghost that moves around that you can eat, which creates a special power-up on the screen that's usually pretty useful. You can also get point multipliers and the requisite marching fruit. Getting three of the same fruit in a row and you get to go to a bonus level; complete the level in the required time and get a golden fruit. Getting three golden fruit gives you even more bonuses. The ghosts will try to attack you in the normal stages, of course, and you'll have to eat the power pellets to be able to retaliate. In theory, the revamping of the classic gameplay could be quite enthralling.

In practice, it's anything but. The levels are mind-bogglingly dull, with the layout changing in each level but quickly blending into an indistiguishable blur. The ghosts are morons, the powerups are plentiful, and I found myself with a 700,000 point score without even trying. What's more, the game eschews the intelligent challenge of the original game, allowing you to continue from any maze that you reached, making completion of the game a mere exercise in rote play. The game took me right at an hour to waltz through, and that was taking my time and trying to get the various fruit combinations in an attempt to trigger the secrets. What's more, the point allotment of the original is completely thrown; fruit come out often enough that it's not really worth doing the four-ghost combo from the original game because it just doesn't net you enough points. Ug.

There's a two-player mode, which requires two folks at the keyboard to try to munch more pellets than their opponent. It's got a whopping three stages available, and it's not particularly enthralling either.


Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze is shamefully easy. Even Pac-Man: Adventures in Time had the good sense to limit the number of times that you could save the game indiscriminately, but Quest for the Golden Maze babies the normal players. Even the ones who set the difficulty level higher will not find much of a challenge. This could be a consequence of the angle that the game's aiming for, but it feels more like a design flaw.

Game Mechanics:

The game is played with four keyboard controls, one for each direction. That's the long, tall and short of it, and it works well, considering the simplicity of the original game. Unfortunately, the controls aren't nearly as responsive as I would have liked, which was rather surprising. Even more surprising is some of the maze design decisions--tiny, one-step 'ladders' are not a cool design feature, and do nothing more than slow down the control of the game. For what it's worth, the game's load times are minimal and I didn't experience any noticeable glitches or crashes while I played it.

It may attempt to hearken back to classic gaming, but Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze falls far short of that goal. Fans of the original title will be disgusted with the execution here, and those who didn't grow up with the missus will find a dull experience here and wonder what all the fuss used to be about. A suggestion: pick yourself up one of the many Namco Museum releases with Ms. Pac-Man, and play that instead. The original is miles better than this poor attempt at a remake.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Win9x/Me, P2 233, 32MB RAM, 100MB HD space, 4x CD-ROM, 16-bit video card w/ 2MB VRAM, sound card

Test System:

Athlon 1.1GHz running Win98 SE, 512MB RAM, GeForce 2 GTS w/ 32MB RAM, SoundBlaster Live!, 8x DVD-ROM

Windows Moon Tycoon Windows Microsoft Train Simulator

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated