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WANTED: Feedback for Pac-Man Collection! and Crazy Otto

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I'm looking for a future episode of the Atari 7800 Homebrew Podcast (you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or use this feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/homebrew78 ). THIS IS **NOT** THE NEXT EPISODE!!! I just want to start asking for comments now because this episode is going to be a huuuuuuuge undertaking and a lot of work.

What are your thoughts on Pac-Man Collection!? (Note that the title has an exclamation point in it!) I will also be addressing Crazy Otto in this episode, so share your thoughts on that game, too!

You can also e-mail text or audio to homebrew78 -at- fab4it -dot- com.

Deadline will be announced at a later date. Thanks!

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Originally, it had started out as separate games (Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Hangly-Man, etc.) Then someone (I forget who) suggested putting them all in one cart. I thought about it, and realized that most of the bootlegs (i.e. Hangly-Man) were just different mazes with the same AI, so it actually turned out to be an easy thing to do. Only two versions made me have to change the 'game rules': Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus. There are subtle differences in the monster AI between these games. Not to mention moving fruit /and or fruit that makes the monsters turn invisible. That's when I figured 'Plus' mode could be applied to every version to increase the difficulty.

 

Also, there are a few mazes that are only found in the 'Random Maze' mode... including 4 mazes from (Champ Games) JohnnyWC's 'Ms. Pac-Em'. :) I did the 'Random Maze' mode because of something I read of Random Terrain's site called "Controlled Randomness" ;)

 

Also also, if you do a Google search, there is a true 'Random Maze' generator that I wanted desperately to put in this game. It actually builds the entire maze randomly. Unfortunately I couldn't wrap my head around how it worked.
:(

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I thought regular 7800 Ms. Pac-Man was great (and it is for what it is), but when Pac-Man Collection came out... my mind was blown! Love the updates and attention to detail that we've become accustomed to with Bob's games. Accurate arcade colors and AI, random mazes, speed-up option, all the different games incorporated into one cart and more. What's not to love?!

 

I'm sure others will be coming along with a better articulated review and overview, but suffice it to say for me, this is yet another no-brainer 7800 purchase and am really glad it's a part of my collection. :love:

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Whenever someone asks which homebrews to try, multiple people suggest this collection- for good reason.


For me, it's because of the variety. There's so many options, it's hard to get bored.


Whenever I fire up the 7800, for any reason, I find myself playing this first.


Hall of fame, a must own.


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When visiting the AtariAge store and clicking on "Bestsellers", there is a reason why Pac-Man Collection for the Atari 7800 is listed at the top. For the golden-era Arcade enthusiast, it could very well be justification alone to own the 7800. It's not a question of whether or not Pac-Man Collection is a must buy/own for the console; rather, if someone owns a 7800, why is it not a part of their collection?


It provides the following games:


Pac-Man

Pac-Man Random Mazes

Ultra Pac-Man

Hangly-Man

Puck-Man

Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Attack

Ms. Pac-Man Random Mazes


For each of the above games the following options are available:


Plus Mode, Fast Mode, Level Selection, Number of Lives (3 or 5).


It is an awesome and incredible amount of Pac-Man games coupled with some sweet, sweet options.


Years ago, there were two "definitive" sources for great widely distributed publicly available Pac-Man ports on PCs. One was ports from JROK. Especially the VESA enabled PCs receiving a great full screen maze with extremely close looking and sounding Arcade ports (Ms. PacPC and PacPC). Version 1 of PacPC was closer to the way Pac-Man appears under the NES. Version 2 is really where PacPC shines, mimicking the Arcade near exact. Ms. PacPC was great from the get-go...but I digress...


The second source is CHAMPgames Arcade ports. Absolutely love them. Borrowing from CHAMPgames "Champ" Mode mazes, some are included under the Random Maze selection. It's a treat for all players, even more so for those fond of the great mazes and enjoyment received from the PC ports.


As far as what is lacking, Pac-Man Arcade patterns will not work. Monster personality behavior has been tweaked as best as possible to represent their respective character - and it truly shows; but if looking for a 1:1 exact match in monster movement and timing of the Arcade original, it is absent.


The above, though, can be seen for the better as it forces a new spin and approach in playing Pac-Man (Think along similar lines of the Arcade Dec 1981 ROM revision of the original). Regardless, point is further moot when diverting from the vanilla Pac-Man and diving into all the various options (I.E. Fast mode/Plus mode), those Random Mazes and the Hangly-Man/Puck-Man variations.


TIA sound is not ideal, but is in no way garbage either, and does work more than adequately, it is good. POKEY sound is absolutely beautiful.


The speed and ramp up difficulty of the ports was calibrated to closely match the Arcade as best as possible working within reason of the original Ms. Pac-Man framework code. And it does work splendidly. The game's control is implemented wonderfully with fluid movement and drop of the dime turning.


It would have been enough to bring over the gameplay elements the Arcade 'Pac' games present in this collection, but this Collection, as a huge overhaul over the original retail Ms. Pac-Man, provides a great update of the graphics with a much better than the original Ms. Pac-Man palette selection as well.


There are several version/updates to the Collection throughout the years (It has been over a decade since the original release). Updates include a version with smaller vs larger dots, and POKEY vs TIA sound. Other improvements released publicly include improved looking monster design, as well as further tweaked color palette. Newer revisions also includes the ability to control "Chase" Blinky by a second player depending on the difficulty switch setting.


The plethora of configuration possibilities leaves these Pac-ports as never stale or boring and one of the best collections ever put together for classic Pac-games. If someone has gotten this far, owns a 7800, and does not possess Pac-Man Collection, immediately stop reading, go to the AtariAge store and purchase it now. Here is a big assist with the "stop reading" part...

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This is one of only two 7800 homebrews that I own. If somebody was getting into the 7800 and dipping their toes in the homebrews this would be my top recommendation.

 

Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man are solidly in my top 10 favorite games of all time. Despite the fact that I am generally bad at them and only get marginally better with practice and a few beers. That said Pac-Man Collection! strikes a pretty good balance at difficulty and ease of playing -- erring a bit on the harder side I feel. By comparison the original 7800 version of Ms. Pac-Man is too easy on the default settings. Gameplay and controls are tight and while I don't care for all the added variations on the mazes I appreciate that they are there.

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By the dubs, I'll also be covering Crazy Otto in this episode, so if you have anything to say about Crazy Otto, let's hear it!

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I can't say much for than what trebor has detailed of course but here are my thoughts.

 

Pac-Man Collection was the first home brew I purchased after getting into the 7800. It is an amazing feat to have all these Pac-Man variations in one cart.

Bob did a great job as he always does.

 

I recently had Albert make me a custom Pac-Man Collection with a POKEY chip for enhanced sound. It takes what is already a great game and makes it just a little better.

They will be available in the Atari Age store in the near future. You must send Al a pokey chip of course but its a great upgrade.

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7800 pac man collection is the grade A good shit. 7800 pac man collection arcade is the grade A prime good shit. I have the first one on cart and the first and second on Mateos 16-in-1. Never have so many great hacks been so conveniently collected. Its like a Stellas Stocking of pac-man games plus there are POKEY versions!

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I love Crazy Otto. I met Steve Golson (from GCC and the creator of Crazy Otto) at the 2016 Replay Fx / Kong Off 4. Wish he would have brought it with him, but he did not. Really nice guy. Scott Lawrence has done an AMAZING job at faithfully re-creating Crazy Otto from the various stages of development from the games creation. Originally started with the Pac-Man attract screen, then later into the Ms. Pac attract that we know today. The roms are available, and it is setup in the HB Mame emulator. I hope to one day try the real Steve Golson creation, but until then, Scott did what has to be near perfect.

 

http://www.pacificarcades.com/crazy-otto.html

 

http://www.wintergroundfairlands.com/2014/04/the-otto-project.html

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Crazy Otto is an excellent port of a ... mediocre Pac Man knockoff. It's a perfect port, but the original game was, IMHO just average. I much preferred Krazy Chase.

 

Pac Man collection, on the other hand, is about as much fun as you can have on a 7800 cart. It's A-list stuff.

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