PAC-MAN BATTLE ROYALE
DEVELOPER: Bandai Namco (Visit Namco America’s website)
PUBLISHER: Bandai Namco
RELEASE: January 2011
TYPE: Competitive maze
PLAYERS: 1-4, simultaneous
HARDWARE: “System 157”, custom board with specs unknown (also used in Namco’s Pac-Man’s Arcade Party)
ARCADE EXCLUSIVE?: Yes
RATING: Green Label – Suitable for All Ages
REGION AVAILABILITY: Worldwide
SYNOPSIS: From Namco America’s website: “Pac-Man Battle Royale is the first four player competitive Pac-Man arcade game. The original Pac-Man game concept has been given a carnivorous twist: Eliminate your opponents by eating them and the last Pac-Man standing wins the round. When players eat a power pellet, they power-up by doubling in size and increasing in speed. Once powered up, they are now able to eat non powered-up blue players and ghosts. Players of the same size simply bounce off each other. Players can also be eliminated by running into ghosts if there aren’t any powered up players. Eating a piece of fruit or all of the pellets resets the maze with a fresh new set of power pellets. At the end of the game, statistics are displayed for each players such as “Won Most Rounds” and “Ate Most Pac-Man”, etc. The game is simple, competitive, and highly addictive.”
Originally Namco stated that they hoped to have the game ready for release in September 2010 but it was then delayed until January 2011.
REVIEW: By Adam “Arcadehero” Pratt
The latest arcade entry of Pac-Man to the market can as quite a surprise, designed as a way to celebrate 30 years of Pac-Man in the arcades. The table or cocktail version as first offered was a neat break from the standard racer/light-gun fare and has the advantage of using the Pac-Man character.
Most are already familiar with the typical Pac-Man formula – navigate a maze to eat all of the dots, avoid the ghosts unless you get a Power Pill where you can then eat them. Clean out the board to advance to the next.Pac-Man Battle Royale is based upon Pac-Man Championship Edition which was released for home consoles like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 but it breaks away from that formula to a degree as the pill eating becomes secondary to the primary objective of eating any other Pac-Man on the board. One there is one player left standing , they win the round and move onto the next. Eating the pills will cause fruit to appear and eating one of those will reset the pattern of the pills (including power pills). There is always one less power pill than the total number of players and the effects of becoming a Super Pac-Man to eat your opponents doesn’t last terribly long so you need to be quick about it when you eat one. If you don’t grab a pill there is another way to take out your opponent(s). As there are still ghosts to be found on the board players can use them as a part of their strategy – run into another non-powered up Pac-Man and you bump yourself and your opponent backwards. Get it right and you can kill them by bumping them into a ghost.
The game handles up to four players and for the best experience I have found that you want four competent players at a time for an entertaining experience. Between rounds players can tap the Start button to “splatter” their opponents with paint., something that kids really enjoy doing, more-so than the actual game sometimes. At the end of the pre-set rounds (determined by the operator – it can be anywhere between 3-9 rounds), the game announces the achievements of each player – from who won the most rounds which is the game champion or for the losers who ate the most items, most ghosts, most Pac-Men or the total number of Pac-Dots they ate. One player is possible but its against a fairly dumb CPU opponent. The single player is the weakest point of the game and honestly its better to either wait for some more players or grab your friends to play.
Another part of the classic formula that can throw people off is the lack of a score. A score would probably help best with single player but once you get that this is an arena combat kind of game, the idea of a score becomes less important. As mentioned, it does track statistics for player in how they do no matter how many players are involved.
Graphically the game is on par with Pac-Man Championship Edition, except that some of the object seem to be drawn in a slightly lower resolution. The controls are typical Pac-Man – a start button and a Sanwa joystick for your cardinal directions. What’s neat is that on both cabinet designs the ball tops are color co-ordinated to each player. The Deluxe cabinet is superior to the standard in terms of appearance (nice LED lighting for the control panels) and a much larger screen (54″ instead of 32″) but the software is otherwise the same.
One of the nicer aspects of the whole Pac-Man Battle Royale project has been the marketing push behind the game. Namco has pushed the game out to the players more than they have the operators and in the process it seems that they have been successful in getting locations to pick a unit up. Their constantly updated Facebook page and demo tie-in through the iPad is a great tool for players seeking to find a game and that in turn has helped locations with a machine so players will come to their venue. It’s also nice that the iPad demo did not give the whole game away which would damage operators who spent a decent amount on a machine. They have also taken the game to player events like E3 as a part of the marketing push. The overall Pac-Man Battle Royale marketing effort is a shining example for other modern coin-op arcade games to follow.
It does its job but could have been a tad nicer to be exactly in line with the home console screen resolution. There is no slowdown but nothing that pushes it hard either as it is Pac-Man so not much to expect here.
This game has a great thumping soundtrack and the sound system pushes it out perfectly. Even on a low volume setting it fills the room. There are also two attract mode options for the music so you can switch between tracks in case you get tired of one. The other sound effects are classic Pac-Man and help players identify the presence of the game before they would see it.
Sanwa joystick controls + simplicity = nothing more one could ask for. It is easy for even the most casual game player to use and responds perfectly.
I always appreciate there being more than one cabinet design to choose from as that makes it easier for operators to choose what best fits their budget and player tastes. The Deluxe cabinet is quite easy on the eyes and it already has served as “inspiration” for some other joystick games out there such as Sega’s Virtua Tennis 4 Deluxe. That’s not to say that the standard cabinet is bad either – it’s very easy to pick out in a crowd since cocktail cabinets are rare and the bright yellow cabinet also standard out in a crowd of black or generally darker cabinets. Setting it up doesn’t take much work and I like the marquee.
Single player is a letdown and doesn’t keep you coming back but don’t let that stop you from playing it in multiplayer. When you have three or four players the game is an absolute blast and maintains a great competitive spirit as well as replay value. There is nothing quite like it you will find at an arcade these days and that combined with an easy to learn concept and an immediately recognizable character, Battle Royale is a winner.
If you come across this, play it and don’t forget to bring some friends. If you are an operator, the Facebook marketing for this is something you can use to your advantage and it’s not something that is priced way out there either.
Pre-release version at IAAPA 2010 in Orlando, FL (November 2010)
Also seen in this video
Here is an official Namco produced video from IAAPA that showcases the game too
Here’s a video by one of our advertisers, BMI Gaming who filmed the game when it was believed that it would be released in September 2010
Pac-Man Battle Royale as seen at e3 2010
Arcade Heroes had the first hands-on look at Pac-Man Battle Royale from Amusement Expo 2010 in Las Vegas (March 2010)
ARCADE HEROES STORIES:
Pac-Man returns to arcades with Pac-Man Battle Royale at Amusement Expo 2010 (February 2010)
Amusement Expo 2010: Pac-Man Battle Royale Hands-on(March 2010)
Pac-Man Battle Royale coming to e3? (May 2010)
So Pac-Man Battle Royale was at the e3 Namco event last night… (June 2010)
Pics from the AAMA 2010 Distributor Gala (July 2010)
Video: Pac-Man Battle Royale production version (August 2010)
Namco’s line-up for JAMMA: Gundam Extreme Vs., Pac-Man Battle Royale, Taiko No Tatsujin 14 (September 2010)
Namco throws a party for Pac-Man Battle Royale (September 2010)
IAAPA 2010 – Namco booth (November 2010)