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Review: Pling Muncher
Author: David Newton (DavidN)
Added: 28/03/2003

Pling Muncher. A most unusual name if you ask me, but if you look through Phredreeke's back catalogue then it's apparent that there's a bit of a Pling theme going on. I'll leave you to find out for yourself.

At first, this game doesn't really impress - the "select screen mode" frame looks very rushed, almost as if it was an afterthought that didn't have nearly enough time spent on it. The title and menu indicator (a Pac-Man) are good, but the menu options are off-centre and use the System font.

Past that, the presentation of the game gets a lot better. The Phredreeke logo is displayed by means of a short AVI while a Sonic intro music plays in the background (actually, it might not be from Sonic - I've just played too many Sonic fangames that use this sound and my memory's a bit blurred).

This isn't a traditional take on Pac-Man - there are some elements to do with the ghosts that have been changed. I thought that the gameplay was very unfair at first, but after a while you get used to the slightly changed tactics of the game.

Rather than four different coloured ghosts, there are four ghosts of two types in the maze. Red ghosts are slow (but still too fast, if you ask me) and home in on your location if they spot you. Yellow ghosts are much faster and travel in straight lines at random. Power pills only allow you to capture one kind of ghost.

Apart from that, the rules remain the same. You have to travel through the maze and pick up pills - incidentally, they're placed slightly haphazardly. Use grid placement for these! Once you've completed a level, you trundle off to the next, accompanied by an orchestral music from Star Wars for some reason.

Later on, other elements are added, such as moving walls and force fields. Musics are MIDI versions of musics from other games such as "The Man with the Machine Gun" from FF8 and Metropolis from Sonic 2.

It seems, though, that the author has tried to compensate for the initial difficulty of the game by giving the player a large number of lives. On the game over screen, there's a scream sample and a fade effect that's meant to represent blood dripping down the screen. It's a nice touch, if a little inappropriate.

Initially I was going to give this game a much lower score, but it's only after playing it for a while that you realise that, far from being an irritating amateur Pacman clone that attempts something new, it's actually quite an interesting twist to the genre.

And I still don't know what a "pling" is.

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