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Video Game / Pac-Man Championship Edition

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Pac-Man with a modern twist.

Pac-Man Championship Edition is a home console entry in the Pac-Man series developed and published by Namco and first released to Xbox 360 in 2007. The game is notable for having been supervised by Pac-Man's original creator, Tōru Iwatani, being the first Pac-Man game with his involvement since 1987's Pac-Mania.

The game plays very similarly to the original game but with only one half of the maze filled with dots at a time. Eating all the dots on one half causes an item to appear in the center of the stage and collecting the item changes the opposite half of the maze to a new maze. Instead of playing in levels, the game is played as a single stage but under a time limit.

In 2010 the game received its first sequel, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. This version added new item power-ups as well as new types of ghosts that sleep on the filed until Pac-Man gets close before they wake up and give chase.

In 2016, a true sequel came out, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2. In this game, instead of switching the current maze, bonus items throw Pac-Man onto a completely new maze. In addition, Pac-Man can harmlessly bump into ghosts a few times before they become angry and harmful.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original game, a Retraux NES version of the original Championship Edition (built off an earlier unreleased homebrew port to the same system) was released in 2020.

Tropes found across all three games:

  • 100% Completion: The Adventure Mode of Championship Edition 2 awards the player with a different number of stars depending on which difficulty they clear each stage on, with the highest difficulty earning three stars. In order to access the final boss stage, the player is required to earn every other star up to that point.
  • Adrenaline Time: Whenever Pac-Man gets close to a ghost, the game slows down to help the player avoid it. However, the timer continues to count down in real time, so this situation should best be avoided.
  • Alertness Blink: When sleeping ghosts are woken up in Championship Edition DX, they'll do this with the ! thing over their head and a chirp sound effect.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In Championship Edition 2, normally when Pac-Man jumps back to the spawn point after his "jumps up to eat the last ghost train present" animation, he still needs to move down slightly (thus using up a small amount of time) to eat the fruit that then spawns (if the fruit meter is filled up enough to spawn it). However, if the timer hits 0 in the middle of the animation, you can still grab the fruit; only when you jump to the next maze will the game immediately end.
  • Camera Abuse: Pac-Man literally *Eats* The camera when you get a very long ghost chain.
  • Catching Some Z's: The sleeping ghosts in DX and 2 have Z's coming out of their heads for as long as they are napping.
  • Cartoon Bomb: The Smart Bomb counter icons in Championship Edition DX certainly look like these.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Championship Edition 2 Plus features a two-player mode where the second-player controls a blue Pac-Man in contrast to player 1's yellow.
  • Company Cross References: It's a Namco game, so this is to be expected. In this case, there are DLC skins based off of Dig Dug and Rally-X for DX.
  • Collision Damage: The original game and DX play it straight; in typical Pac-Man fashion, Pac-Man loses a life if he comes into contact with a ghost. 2 does things a little differently; Pac-Man can harmlessly collide with ghost chains a few times, but if he hits a specific one too many times in a row, the chain's leader will enter an "angry" state where it can kill him on contact like usual.
  • Difficulty Levels:Championship Edition 2 goes out of its way to make the three difficulty levels stand out:
    • Single Train — There is only one train (Blinky's) and the other three lead ghosts are just "bumper" ghosts that cannot kill you. It has the slowest speeds and the most 1-Ups.
    • Regular — The other three lead ghosts also start to get their own trains as the stage progresses. At high fruit counts, fruits and Power Pills start trying to avoid you. Game speed is faster and there are less 1-Ups.
    • ExtremeGhosts get angry after just one collision. Fruits and power pills always try to avoid you. Game speed is at its fastest and there are no extra lives at all.
  • Forced Tutorial: Championship Edition 2 requires you to play the first half of the tutorial before you can play any other modes. Championship Edition 2 Plus does away with this trope entirely.
  • Gameplay Grading:
    • In Championship Edition DX, many stages give you ranks based on your leaderboard percentiles.
    • Championship Edition 2 eschews percentile-based grading in favor of fixed point-based thresholds. The number of points scored will grant the player a letter grade, with D being the lowest, and S being the highest.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: In Championship Edition 2, ghosts can be safely bumped into at first, but hit a train too many times in a short period of time and its leader will get angry, gaining the power to actually kill Pac-Man. On Extreme difficulty, however, hitting a train angers its leader immediately.
  • Marathon Level: How the games play vs the arcade originals. Unless Pac-Man is killed by the ghosts, the game ends when the in-game timer counts down.
  • Mickey Mousing: The life symbols and the bomb counter in Championship Edition 2 are shown to dance to the beat of whatever track you pick for the stage.
  • Retraux:
    • While they aren't afraid to add their own twists to the formula, all three games are deliberately styled after the original 1980 arcade game as opposed to later maze games like Arrangement and Adventures in Time. One of the unlockable skins in DX also allows you to play with the original 1980 sprites.
    • The NES port, which is a fully-featured demake that runs on real hardware.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Pac-Man Championship Edition was intended to go back to the simple roots of the original arcade game, while updating it at the same time to appeal to current gaming sensibilities. It was even designed by Pac-Man creator, Toru Iwatani (being the last game he had any involvement with before retiring). The later two games largely follow up on this, but decided to add their own twists to the formula at the same time.
  • Segmented Serpent: If enough ghosts give chase in DX and 2, they form a long train of ghosts that Pac-Man can eat in a chain to score a large number of points.
  • Sleepy Enemy: The sleeping ghosts from CE DX act as this. Sleeping ghosts are usually colored green, but if Pac-Man comes near a sleeping ghost, they'll turn into angry rainbow ghosts that chase Pac-Man.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: A primary difference between Championship Edition and Championship Edition DX. In CE, there is more focus on the player plotting their own path throgh the dots and trying to bait ghosts into an optimal path for chain-eating them. In CE DX, stages often have linear paths of dots and sleeping ghosts, putting more emphasis on following an intended line over figuring out one's path for themselves.
  • Smart Bomb: You can use these in Championship Edition DX at the cost of an opportunity to score higher, forcing all of the ghosts back into the spawn box. In Championship Edition 2, bombs simply jump Pac-Man back to the Respawn Point.
  • Timed Mission: Unlike the classic games which were designed to be Endless Games, the Championship Edition series typically challenges you to earn as many points as you can within a 5- or 10-minute time limit.
  • Version-Exclusive Content:
    • There are many subtle differences between the various versions of Championship Edition. Namely, the time limit may be shorter, or the achievement list may have been tweaked. The Nintendo 3DS version is the only one that adds achievements without taking any away.
    • Championship Edition 2 Plus for the Switch is the only version to feature the Co-Op mode. In that version's single player, the Forced Tutorial is done away with, every mode is unlocked, and more cosmetics and soundtracks are introduced.
  • Wake Up Fighting: One new type of ghost in DX wakes up if Pac-man gets too close and immediately gives chase. They return in 2, now immediately joining one of the four ghost trains.