The age we live in is slowly filling with remakes of old shows or games in the attempts to make the latest generation of children interested in the classics. We see this a lot with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Thunder Cats and now; Pac-Man. I feel as though these things never really stuck, maybe because kids don’t have that great of an attention span and maybe because these remakes just aren’t hitting the mark. Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures is somewhere in-between those two things, it fluctuates between good and bad, but ultimately…well, read on to find out.
The story follows Pac who is a young “man” that goes to school and leads a fairly normal life, well, as normal as being a yellow sphere can be. He and his two other Pac-like friends just seem to be cruising through school the best they can, one day young Pac gets forced into a maze (epic throwback to the games) by a school bully who intends to scare him by dressing up as a ghost, seems like people don’t believe in ghosts in this world. Well Pac runs through the maze worried he’ll never make it out alive, he happens to stumble on ancient ruins, he literally stumbles onto them which unlocks the portal to the underworld which releases an army of ghosts upon the city. It just so happens that these are the ghosts of enemy soldiers that died in the Pac-war many years ago, the soldiers are lead by their king Betrayus. Turns out that Pac is the key to defeating the ghosts because he is the last surviving Yellow Pac-Worlder, and they happen to be the only ones able to stop Betrayus before he rules the Pac-world. Here’s the all over vibe you get from the story; it’s very basic, very convoluted and is kind of a cop-out.
I say this because Pac-Man never had a story and, honestly, never needed a story. I enjoy that, throughout the story, they throw back to the games a great deal, introducing characters like Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. I understand why they did that and it was very well done. The thing I didn’t like was that they set up this basis that there was a great war and many died and Pac’s parents were the mighty heroes, the first two episodes seem real promising, then they remind you it’s a children’s cartoon by adding a “plan of the week” way of storytelling alongside silly quips and immature jokes like farting or burping. I can see why the kids would like it, I honestly can, and I’m not going to take too many points away because I’m clearly not their targeted audience, it’s just something I have to point out. What kept me watching was the way they made reference to the games, that may have been the only good aspect of it for me. Making reference to the maze and to the ghosts and to the only named characters in the games was a good move by the production staff because I can imagine adults watching this with their children and understanding some of the more adult aspects. Like I mentioned above, it has potential but at the end of the day it is still a cartoon for kids and they had to cater to their target audience. Simple as that. I guess I left the series wanting more but that could’ve just been because I went into the series expecting more out of it, God knows why though.
I’m going to straight out say that the visuals were “top notch”. They honestly were! The series relies solely on CG animation which isn’t a bad thing when they do it as well as the production team did here. The animation was smooth, the characters mouth and body movements matched the voice actors and it looked great! The characters were designed well, everyone was mostly-spherical and smooth but they did a good job highlighting Pac-Man above all the other citizens, not only was he the only yellow one around but it was things like his shoes which had little Pac-Men on it that highlighted him even more. I literally have no quarrels with the way it came across visually. Pretty much perfect.
The audio was also great, apart from the incredibly cheesy opening theme that seemed like they pulled right out of the 80s…I suppose they did it intentionally, it just wasn’t good at all. The voice acting was good, I’m sure the voice actors had a lot more in them but considering the roles they were playing, they pretty much had to stick with the cheesy one-liners and the silly script. Once again, I can’t take points away because it IS a kids show. What I did like was the way they recycled all the old sounds from the game, like the Pac-Man dying sound was used when Pac collapsed from exhaustion or how every time Pac ate something it was the same “wakka wakka” he would do in the game. They definitely did THAT well!
This show is a fantastic show for children to watch alongside their parents that are familiar with Pac-Man, it has a lot to offer to both sides be it the nostalgic value or the silly value that kids seem to be real into. It’s story is convoluted but, once again, I’m sure the team saw no need in putting more effort into the story considering none of their targeted audience would pay attention to it anyway. It is NOT for people in between. As a young adult I really wasn’t into this at all and while I did play Pac-Man as a kid, everyone has, it just didn’t offer anything to me that I could take away from it. As unfortunate as that sounds, it’s true. Look, just for the record, it’s a great show for kids because it’s nonsense wrapped in toilet humour and the young ones will love it, so in that regard I’m going to say the development team really hit the nail on the head.
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