Ms. Pac-Man has to be one of the most acclaimed sequels of any game in the arcade. It was adapted to many consoles and computers but, for some odd reason, it was never ported to the Intellivision. Well, this omission is now corrected thanks to the folks at IntelligentVision who have finally adapted the game for the console. This port, however, is more than just a direct adaptation of the arcade.
When the game starts you are welcome to a beautiful title screen that lets you start the game for one or two players or takes you to an options menu. This options menu has a number of surprises that make Ms. Pac-Man an exceptional title for the Intellivision. First the player can select to play as either Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man, or Jr. Pac-Man.
This introduces a cool replayability aspect to the game as each of the characters has their own characteristics. You can then choose from Normal or Hard mode, the number of lives you want to have (from one to five), when you want to have a bonus life (10K, 15K, 20K, or none), the speed at which your character moves (fast speed Off, On, or with Button), the speed at which the ghosts move (arcade speed or slower), the game rules (Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man), and the mazes. You can just play the original four mazes or one of other four themes: Extra, Wide, Strange, and Random. There are over 24 mazes in this game! The extra mazes are more of the same arcade-type mazes, the wide mazes take advantage of the horizontal TV screen, Strange mazes are asymmetrical or just strange in design, and Random just selects mazes from any of those available.
In terms of gameplay, you know what the rules are already. You must clear the mazes from all dots while avoiding the ghosts in them. Eat the power dots so you can turn the tables around on the ghosts and eat them for bonus points. Your goal, of course, is to achieve the highest possible score.
So, how well does the game actually play? Splendidly! Ms. Pac-Man on the Intellivision is gorgeous. The game has excellent graphics and, though the mazes are not quite arcade-perfect, they look fantastic. Also, all the new mazes look superb and keep the game fresh. The top and bottom of the screen (and the sides in the Wide mazes) do not have borders. This may need some getting used to for some players but it is not really an issue.
The Pac-characters looks great with Ms. Pac-Man having her bow, lipstick, and beauty mark and Jr. wearing his propeller beanie. The ghosts also look pretty good despite not having filled eyes. In addition to the traditional bonus items (Cherry, Strawberry, etc.) we now have additional bonus items to eat such as Hamburgers, Stars, and Clovers. Game sounds are top notch, matching those of the arcade pretty well and we also get the intermissions with their characteristic music. Game control is also excellent, so there is no reason to have issues when using the Intellivision controllers for this game.
Overall, Ms. Pac-Man is a remarkable title for the Intellivision and one that should not be missed by anyone who owns the system.