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But how do you build on a legend, with game play that wasn't broken?  Released in 2007 on the XBLA, Pac-Man Championship Edition takes Pac-Man, gives the game a polish and shine, a thumping soundtrack, a time limit, and an evolving maze!  Most importantly, the sounds from Pac-Man Classic are all back, with some added subtle twists- check out the sounds when you eat 4 ghosts, 8 ghosts, 12 ghosts, even 16 ghosts in a row!  Toru Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man in 1979, with the game being released in 1980 into unsuspecting arcades, is also the genius behind Pac-Man CE.  

There is also another added element that I haven't mentioned.  Pac-Man has been shot up with some speed.  Big time speed.

Not illegal drugs, and not this speed.  Although, this speed would be just as good:

Your Pac-Man skills will be put to the test as Pac-Man slowly but surely speeds up, while the ghosts speed up right along with you (Extra Mode 1 is all-fast).  As your speed increases, and the evolving maze modes take over, you will die, many times.  Good thing is, you'll notice that you are racking up bonus Pac-Man men, I think when I had the time to glance at the screen I had 12 or so back-ups, so dying doesn't necessarily mean you can't make it to the end of your timed game.  Oh, and if you want to pause, maybe try to plot your next move?  Can't do it.  Sure, you can pause, but you won't be able to see the maze as a screen-shot.  If you're not cheating when you pause, then you're equally screwed, as you won't know what the hell is going on if you forget where your progress was in the game.

A quick "How To" Screen:

Whether you are playing in HD or SD, the game appears in widescreen to show you everything that's going on, and to strategize.  2 side, 2 top, and 2 bottom exits can be helpful in eating a continues line of dots, pellets, and ghosts.  You get 10 pts per regular dot, but that will increase to 20, 30, 40, 50 pts, and will reset when you die.  Each dot eaten will show the score onscreen quickly, which can be difficult in SD, but works perfectly in HD.

  The fruits on the bottom of each screen represent each half of the maze.  When you clear one section of the maze, a fruit will pop up on the opposite side of the ghost trap.  Eating the fruit will replenish the opposite side of the maze with dots, but with a different pattern, with several power pellets or with no power pellets.  The fruits will eventually turn into stuff you shouldn't be eating: a Galaxian, a Bell, a Crown, Wrapped Candy.  These bonus items will push your score way over the top.

The graphics are simple, but they look great!  There is ghosting that follows the ghosts and Pac-Man to give the illusion of speed on top of the reality of the speed.  In HD, you'll notice all of the dots and power pellets are pulsating, something you may see in SD, and the maze glows neon bright, which is interrupted by the glow of the ghosts and Pac-Man (according to their colors).  They are all running around the maze in an orb or a mist of color. 

The achievements are easy to get, but the real challenge here lies with the leader board and getting high scores.  My personal best is 320,000 in Championship Mode, but the top player has something almost double that!  I keep trying to get above my best, and it's proving to be more difficult than I thought it could be.  The Friends Leaderboard is the board you may want to watch, the scores are more likely to be closer together, or at least somewhat attainable!  I recently downloaded Pac-Man CE on Verizon Wireless, for some play-on-the-go, and it's pretty good when I don't have access to my 360 or I'm out somewhere and am getting bored.  As good as the cellular version is, the way to go, though, is the XBLA version, at $10, it's a steal, and as an old-tyme gamer, that's 40 plays from a $10 roll of quarters, if you find an arcade that didn't charge 50 cents.  This game comes highly recommended from everybody at The World of Einstein and Pencil Shavings, it will not disappoint.  There is one negative side-effect of Pac-Man CE, however: Good luck going back to just regular Pac-Man.  I'm still having a hard time doing it.

Here are the Modes straight from NamcoBandai:

 The Championship Mode. This is the main game mode designed by NAMCO BANDAI Games and Iwatani specifically for the championship round of the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship. This mode – as well as all others within the “Pac-Man Championship Edition” – features redesigned mazes with wide maze walls and a widescreen configuration to better enable high-speed game play. Timed limit of five minutes.
Challenge Mode 1 (Patience and Reward Course). This mode is an evolution of the Championship Mode. Patience mazes strategically offer fewer Power Pellets and Reward mazes provide a large number of Power Pellets – providing unique challenges and rewards for the player. Timed limit of 10 minutes.
Challenge Mode 2 (The Darkness Course). In this mode, only the area directly around Pac-Man and the Ghosts is visible and the maze walls are completely hidden. Timed limit of 10 minutes.
Extra Mode 1 (The Freeway Course). An extremely high-speed mode for advanced players, this mode features warp-speed Pac-Man and Ghosts and plenty of tunnels. Timed limit of five minutes.
Extra Mode 2 (The Manhattan Course). A mode inspired by the streets of Manhattan — the home for the first-ever Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship. Timed limit of five minutes.
Extra Mode 3 (The Overall Course). A mix of all other modes resulting in extreme mazes for the most devout Pac-Man fans. Timed limit of 10 minutes.

I suggest starting with Championship Mode.  Get the feel of the game. Then go fekkin' crazy with the rest of it.  Feel free to friend up Gamertag: Pncl Shvngs and Gamertag: MaxShrek and Gamertag: T3 Einstein for some  friendly competition, or hit up our Facebook page and post your scores! Pac-Man CE is available both online through the XBox Marketplace or Amazon.com code, and is also available on Namco Virtual Arcade (retail).  Pac-Man CE: Redux is coming to XBLA and PSN in Autumn 2010 to bring more high speed eating and over 100 new maze variations.  We're eagerly awaiting that one to get here!

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