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Video Game / Pac-Man World Rally

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If Ridge Racer can't get enough Wacky Racing...
Much like how the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy was followed by a racing game, the Pac-Man World trilogy is followed with this game. Pac-Man World Rally is the first Pac-Man racing game outside the Ridge Racer games, released for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo GameCube and PC. An Xbox release was planned but cancelled. It mixes Wacky Racing with Pac-Man elements like the presence of Pac-Dots and fruits. Many of the racetracks featured may include references to the past Pac-Man games, as well as other Namco works. Speaking of the latter, there are even playable characters that originated from said non-Pac-Man games/franchises.

This would end up becoming the last installment in the World series of games until a remake of the first game was announced in 2022.

Features characters and elements from:

This game provides examples of:

  • One-Hit Kill: In battle mode, the weapons Banana Ram (direct contact) and Blueberry Blaster (long-range) completely deplete a racer's health if hit.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: The flame obstacles in Funhouse of Terror can only be safely bypassed by either holding the correct fruit or using an Invincibility Power-Up.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the Dig Dug games, Pookas are one of the main enemy types, but the Pooka that appears as a playable character in this game uses the angelic blue Guardians associated with the heroic racers like the Pac-Family.
  • Antepiece: The way the first track, Cloud Garden, is designed seems to scream this. When racers first begin the race, they go through a long straight line, which also includes a Pac-Dot switch, introducing them to how said switch works as well as introduction to the Pac-Dots themselves. After said straight line through the first bridge, racers will be faced with a turn to the right and immediately to the left. Like before, this section introduces racers to the item boxes. After the round U-turn, the same thing is repeated again, with the straight line path and turns, albeit with some differences.

    The straight path features the first hazard in the entire game, so racers are expected not to always stay in dead center to avoid it. The turns in the second section, while also almost similar, they look more like U-turns, so racers shouldn't always rely on simple turning to get through it. Also, during said turns, a fruit-locked door can be seen and the very first fruit switch is present, which acts as an Antepiece for the entire game, as fruit switches are often found after you find the locked shortcuts.

    And that's not the end of it, as once you gain access to this track's shortcut, you'll make use of the very first ramp with a boost pad, though no hazards are placed between the ramp and the road after it. Much like the fruit-locked shortcuts, said boost pad acts as an Antepiece for the entire game, as beginning with Molten Mountain, boost pads are often placed right before a hazard, allowing the players to practice the "jump boost" mechanic in Cloud Garden before trying the same in Molten Mountain and the next tracks after it.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Rally Cup (last cup in Grand Prix mode) pits you against all available tracks in the game. However, to soften the Marathon Level factor, all tracks take only 1 lap to complete.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Pac-Man World Rally seems to go with the rule "the further their starting points are, the dumber they are". This is very noticeable at the higher difficulty settings, where you can see characters like Blinky, Erwin and Pac-Devil (starting points at 7th, 6th, and 5th respectively, if you're not using Blinky, no extra characters are unlocked and the game is the Playstation 2 version) putting up a good challenge against you, followed by Inky and Clyde (4th and 3rd) being not as good but still can be quite a challenge, then you see characters like Pinky and Ms. Pac-Man (2nd and 1st) severely lagging behind, even taking twice the average time to complete a lap. The easier difficulties aren't much better (keep in mind that there's no mention of "further forward" or "further back" in that "rule"), where the inverse happens. In fact, when you finally pass the lagging opponents and hear their engines closely, it's implied that they deliberately race very, very slowly. It's just hilarious to see the more speedy characters suffering from this issue.
    • Amusingly enough, if you play a Quick Race in a high difficulty setting (say, Nightmare mode) where you decided to restart mid-race, ALL opponents will become competent after the restart (though this only applies in that race only, so you have to pretty much start a new race twice just to get the competent opponents). In fact, it's the only way for you to make the CPU racers go all out and fulfill your need of more challenging opponents.
    • In regards to racing rules, the easier difficulties have the opponents never attempting to use the fruit-locked shortcuts. Also, opponents (regardless of difficulty) are never seen powersliding, preferring to hop around the corners, which can often lead them falling off the track if said track has no boundaries in that instance.note  As a result, no CPU opponent can get an advantage of using the racer-protecting Guardian, which can only be obtained from powersliding, thus leaving such power-up as a Player-Exclusive Mechanic.
  • Autosave: Either you use this feature or save manually, as autosaving can be turned on or off.
  • Boring, but Practical: Believe us, you often go for either Banana Ram or Blueberry Blaster during battles. The former attaches itself in front of your vehicle, so merely bumping another racer with it will cause instant death no matter how fast you go. The latter comes with an ammo count of 4, but if you're good at using one (it snipes on a locked-on racer once fired), you'll gain more kills quickly.
  • Bottomless Pits: Present in some tracks.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • Siria uses an icy breath to summon the ice block traps.
    • A huge dragon in Spooky's Castle breathes flame as a hazard.
  • Button Mashing: Required to thaw yourself out after being frozen by a Snowman (direct contact, not from its thrown snowballs) or Siria's ice blocks.
  • Collision Damage: Most hazards can cause this.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The Pac-Bombs, just like Mario Kart's Shells, come in Green, Red and Blue varieties, and function the same. There's also an unlockable Black variety, which moves like the Green variety but has the explosion radius of the Blue varieties.
    • The item boxes come in three varieties: Blue, Green and Red. A blue item box grants one item per pick-up and doesn't grant the third item once you're holding two items in your inventory, a green item box always grants three of the same item provided that you're not holding anything else otherwise only needed for getting the third item for your inventory, while red item boxes are fake and damage you if you run over them.
    • The ground-bound switches are colored based on what item is associated with. Yellow switches make Pac-Dots appear, red switches make cherries appear, purple switches are associated with grapes, while green switches allow watermelons to appear on a track.
  • Comeback Mechanic:
    • Players who are severely lagging behind may be granted a rare Storm Cloud item, which slows down all racers for a short time.
    • The unlockable item Galaga Ship is far better for catching up, due to the fact that the accompanying ship pretty much shoots other racers in line of sight. Remember that a shot racer will cause him/her to spin in place. The best part is that this item lasts much longer.
  • Destroyable Items: All items (except for the Guardian) can be destroyed by hazards or other items. Sir Pac-a-lot, however, can take an additional punishment (thanks to his shield) before being destroyed.
  • Difficulty Levels: Features Easy, Normal, Hard and Nightmare difficulty levels.
  • Edible Collectible: The fruits.
  • Expy: Some of the main race items/power-ups are an expy to the Mario Kart items.
    • Pac-Dora Box: Fake Item Box.
    • Colored Pac-Bombs: Koopa Shells. Though unlike the Shells, Pac-Bombs have a delay between catching up to a racer and blowing up as they have to float above said racer's head for a short while before they make a short work on the victim (explodes immediately if the racer is hit by a green or red Pac-Bomb being thrown backwards though). Also, the unlockable black variety works like the Green Pac-Bombs, but it's bigger and has the explosion radius of a Blue Pac-Bomb, allowing one to take out several racers in a group. Not only that, Black Pac-Bombs can keep respawning immediately after exploding until they can no longer do so.
    • Atomic Pellet: Mushroom. Unfortunately, if you've already boosted and decided to use it during that state, this item appears to work, but you won't gain extra speed even after the previous boost wore off. Unlike the Mushroom, this item damages an opponent if he/she touches it if it's inactive.
    • Pac-Mobile: Star, as both make the user invincible to any hazards except for bottomless pits and allow said user to disrupt other racers by direct contact. Both are also a type of Timed Power-Up. The only difference being that once Pac-Mobile is activated, all other racers except for the user are turned into a slower, weakened ghost that is also invincible to most hazards until the Pac-Mobile's timer runs out. Also, eating ghosts with this power-up is essential in unlocking additional items.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Lightweight characters. They build up speed quickly thanks to their high acceleration and can deal with sharp turns easier due to their high handling. However, their, well, light weight makes them easier to be bumped further away by other racers, especially by heavyweights.
    • Jr. Pac-Man is the most extreme example of this even among other lightweights. He's the smallest playable character due to his vehicle choice (a rocket-powered skateboard(!!)) and has both acceleration and handling stats at max while his top speed is at the absolute lowest.
  • Gimmick Level: Funhouse of Terror. There is the disappearing floors, whose physics you may not figure out until later, if at all. Unlike other levels, the main shortcut is only marginally better than the main path (it requires you to drive in a circle as opposed to a square with the aforementioned disappearing floors, but the length is the same). At one point, the track branches into two paths, and one of said paths in turn forks. And no, this is not the typical roundabout kind of fork that joins again, but completely different paths. All three of them feature separate obstacles and you may or may not cross them all in a single play. Aesthetically, compared to other levels, it is definitely gimmicky.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Well, go-karting with the ghosts, Toc-Man, Spooky and Erwin.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors:
    • The Guardian's colors depend on your character's alignment. "Good" characters like the Pac-Family have a blue Guardian (angelic) while "Evil" characters like the ghosts have a red Guardian (devil-like). By lead characters themselves from each alignment, there's also the Good Pac-Man with his blue kart and Evil Blinky who is red and has bit of red on his rocket kart.
    • Pac-Devil, unlike the regular Pac-People, is colored red to represent his evil alignment. Even his motorcycle is colored mostly red.
  • Guest Racer: Aside from Pac-Man characters, the game also features other Namco characters, all of which are unlockable. Mappy and Mr. Driller are exclusive to the PSP version, though.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Nightmare difficulty, unlocked after finishing Hard mode. Doesn't unlock anything after completing all cups in this difficulty, though.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack:
    • The battle-only weapon Sonic Bell, which unleashes damaging sound wave around the user.
    • The race-only Blue Pac-Bomb is another one, much like Mario Kart's Blue Shells. Black Pac-Bombs also count.
  • Homing Projectile: The battle-only Strawberry Striker.
  • Human Popsicle: Directly hitting a Snowman trap or any of the ice blocks summoned by Siria will turn the racer into this. They can thaw themselves out quickly by Button Mashing the acceleration button quickly though.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Guardian item and the Pac-Mobile power-up. For the latter's case, the "ghost" victims are also invulnerable against regular hazards, as they can only be stopped by being chomped by Pac-Mobile.
  • The Last Of These Is Not Like The Others:
    • The villains from the first two Pac-Man World games are heavyweights, while Pac-Man World 3 villain Erwin is a lightweight.
    • When it comes to unlockable characters, Mr. Driller (Hard mode unlock, PSP-only) actually brings along his dog unlike the other unlockables, making him the only character to be accompanied by another.
    • Inverted in the case of home console and PC versions, where The Prince (Easy mode unlock) is the only unlockable character to be not a Dig Dug character. He's also the only lightweight unlockable character in this case.
  • Level-Map Display: Obviously. But if hidden paths are present as a result of fruit-locked doors, said paths won't be shown on the map (except for a hidden path in Funhouse of Terror).
  • Loading Screen: Loading screens in this game depict the classic Pac-Man either chomping a weakened Blinky (launching the latter's eyes away in the process), chomping a weakened Blinky then eating the remaining eyes after a Wrap Around, being chased by Blinky with nothing to help him, being chased by Blinky only to fall off the broken down path due to Blinky's bomb, or eating Pac-dots.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: King Kourse has the longest BGM in the game at nearly six minutes, but ironically the track is the shortest in the game. There are five laps, but you are likely to complete the track before the BGM even reaches halfway, let alone loops.
  • Marathon Level:
    • Subterranean Speedway, exclusive to the PSP version.
    • Retro Maze counts too, as it's basically the classic Pac-Man maze made into a racetrack.
    • When it comes the Grand Prix cups, Rally Cup is the last Cup in a Grand Prix, which consists of all 15 (16 in PSP) tracks that you have to race through before you can finally unlock a character from the given difficulty level (except for Nightmare difficulty, which has no unlockable characters). Thankfully, all tracks require only a 1-lap run.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Present after a racer is hit by a hazard.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavyweight characters. They often have high top speed but poor acceleration, causing them to find themselves hard to get back to their top speed whenever they're stopped by traps or obstacles. However, once they race at full speed, it's hard to chase them down. Toc-Man is the extreme example, as he possesses max top speed but minimum stats in everything else. He's also the heaviest character, able to knock off other characters with little to no effort.
  • Missing Secret:
    • For the home console versions, players are already teased with Subterranean Speedway from the game's opening video. But even after racing through all difficulty levels or doing any random things in either single-player modes, said track won't pop up at all. Players then find out that said "missing" track is a PSP-exclusive. What makes it worse is that said track seen in the video features 8 players instead of 6, causing players to feel frustrated and question why said track is left out from the home console releases.
    • In all versions, some players came up with an idea to find a way to rearrange the computer-controlled racers due to both the trailer and the final game's opening video featuring a completely different set of CPU racers. Unfortunately, no such feature is present, and players are stuck with the same-y opponentsnote  over and over again. The only change happens if certain characters are unlocked, but that still doesn't change the fact that players are still stuck with the same opponents in every subsequent race/battle.
  • Mythology Gag: This game contains several references to past Pac-Man works.
    • The use of fruits to unlock shortcuts is much like using fruits to open fruit-locked doors in the first Pac-Man World.
    • Canyon Crusade's music is basically a Flamenco-styled remix of Block Town from Pac-Mania.
    • Clyde wearing a hat may be a reference to his appearance in the 80's Pac-Man cartoon. The hat even looks almost similar (only difference being that PWR!Clyde's hat is brown instead of the same color as himself).
    • A few of the tracks reference locations in any of the Pac-Man World games, like Pirate Cove and Funhouse of Terror.
    • Pac-Man performs a Butt Bounce as his victory animation in the awards ceremony.
    • If the player's racer falls off a track or dies from losing all his/her health in Battle mode, the classic Pac-Man death sound is played.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: There's Fygar the dragon Mook from Dig Dug, as well as Siria the Ice Dragon.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Ms. Pac-Man wears exclusively pink accessories and drives a pink car in this game. Also, the pink ghost Pinky.
  • Player-Exclusive Mechanic:
    • The Guardian item, only obtained via powersliding. Consider that opponents never powerslide (aside from the "buggy"-looking instance in Toc-Man's Factory). As a result, outside of Battle mode, only the player can get an item that grants full protection against all hazards except for bottomless pits without the need of Pac-Mobile.
    • Only human players can activate Pac-Dot or Fruit switches: AI opponents will just drive right over them with nothing happening.
  • Player Inventory: In a race, a racer can only carry up to 3 items (not counting held Guardians, which can bring up to 6 items in total). The third item can only be obtained by picking up a green item box.
  • Racing Ghost: Once you've set a new record on a track during Time Trial mode (a track's record for that mode is blank to begin with), every subsequent Time Trial attempt on the same track will have you face this.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Only by winning first place on a track allows you to see your character's winning animation. Other than that, your character may either feel disappointed, cry, get angry or whine.
  • Sore Loser: Pretty much everyone if they don't win first place on a single race.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Most items come with their own sound cues. Said sound cue (which can sometimes be heard from a far distance) can clue you whether a potentially dangerous item is about to be used against you.
  • Splash Damage: The battle-only weapon Sonic Bell does less damage the farther a target is from the user. On the other hand, if the target is closer to the dead center that is the user when the attack is done, the poor racer can potentially die in one hit.
  • Squashed Flat: Some racetrack hazards cause this. The Sir Pac-a-lot item also causes this on an opponent.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Pac-Bombs (race) and Cherry Bombs (battle).
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Virtually every music track in the game is a variant on melodies from the Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man games.
  • This Is a Drill: Pooka's huge drill cart.
  • Timed Mission: Free-for-All (get the most kills) and Binge (eat the most fruits) battle modes are this.
  • Timed Power-Up:
    • The Pac-Mobile power-up, which lasts up to 8 seconds.
    • The battle-only Banana Ram weapon, which comes with its own time limit instead of ammo count due to how said weapon works.
    • The Guardian item's effect only lasts for a few seconds.
  • Unlockable Content: Three hidden characters from clearing all cups in various difficulties, four hidden items from chomping enough ghosts with the Pac-Mobile power-up in certain cups, and one hidden Harder Than Hard difficulty from clearing all difficulty levels.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The PSP Version has an additonal stage based on Dig-Dug (Subterranean Speedway) as part of its Classic Cup, and Mappy and Mr. Driller were both added as playable characters.
  • Voice Grunting: Most characters come with (often) gibberish voice clips and/or short chuckles/laughs/cries.