The Pac is back! Over a decade after his arcade premiere and various sequels and spinoffs, Namco brought Pac-Man and his family Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man Junior, and Baby Pac to the Super NES and Sega Genesis in 1994's Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, a radical departure from past Pac games. This game set our hero against the ghosts and the evil Ghost Witch, but the catch was that the player didn't control Pac-Man. The Pac is his own man this time around, and he makes his own decisions and goes where he wants to go. In this side-scrolling interactive cartoon adventure you play yourself, oddly enough, and you must interact with the on-screen Pac-Man via slingshot. You can point out interesting things to Pac-Man or knock objects down into Pac-Man's waiting hands. You can shoot at enemies to keep them from causing trouble for Pac-Man. You can even, if you feel the need, shoot at our hero himself (which primarily makes his mad).

There's always something happening in the Pac-Man household and it's typically up to Pac-Man to take care of business. The first level finds Baby Pac out of milk, so it's up to the Pacster to find some. Pac-Man walks down the street towards a farmer with a pitchfork. It's up to the player to shoot a pellet with the slingshot at a bail of hay above the farmer, causing it to fall and cover the angry agriculturalist, neutralizing the threat. The action continues in this manner as the player must knock a bottle to the ground for Pac-Man to find, and then he must milk a nearby cow. Other levels include traveling to the mountains to pick flowers, returning Pac-Man Junior's stolen guitar from the ghosts, and other such missions up until the time comes to track down the Ghost Witch.

Speaking of the ghosts, sometimes the multi-colored spectral threats will appear on the street. Pac-Man is no match for them unless the player shoots a power pellet into the scene. If Pac-Man eats it he'll become Super Pac-Man and will chow down on the invaders. Only three power pellets can be carried in the inventory box at a time, however, so use them wisely. If Pac-Man meets a horrible demise, do not worry. Our hero has unlimited lives and being defeated restarts the current scene. Don't worry about having to complete the game in one sitting - the game gives out a password after each mission.

The key to completing the missions is to keep Pac-Man happy. A happy Pac-Man is an attentive Pac-Man, and being angry means that our hero may not see a danger or hazard until it's too late. The best way to keep him happy is to not shoot him too often (of course) and to make him see something he likes. For example, in the mountain flower mission a rabbit hops around the scene. If you can point the rabbit out to Pac-Man, he'll stop to watch it hop around, and this will cheer him up.

The graphics and animation of this game are amazing. Nearly everyone and everything in Pac-Man's world can be interacted with, meaning that most everything has unique frames of animation. Pac-Man himself skips, whistles, smiles, frowns, jumps, trips, cheers, gets bopped on the head, and much more. He also talks in the form of chirps and chitters, giving Pac-Man a personality all his own.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures was a daring experiment in its time: a side-scrolling adventure where the player did not directly control the main character. The game never achieved major commercial success, and future games in the series made our hero directly controllable. Nevertheless, the game is an inventive and unique experience that rewards creativity and exploration just as much as it does playing by the rules. Plus the game contains the original versions of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, so either way you can't lose.

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