If you’ve been following this blog specifically for my Ms. Pac-Man Turbo posts, then this entry won’t be up your alley right now; I’m trying to get away from those posts for a bit, so as promised in my most recent entry, I wanted to share the pattern I use for the Super Pac-Man bonus mazes.
Unlike with the other games in the Pac-Man series, Super Pac-Man provides a bonus stage that will only help your game; you will not lose a life during a bonus maze. You get the bonus stage for the first time after you clear two stages, and then every time you clear three stages after that. Pac-Man is at super power during the entire bonus stage, so that “Super Speed” button will be an asset to you.
As with any other stage, your goal is to clear the maze. However, you have a time limit on the bonus stages, and if you clear the maze with time left over, you get extra points calculated on how much time you have left, so naturally the faster you clear the maze, the more bonus points you earn. Also as with any other stage, the bonus star will appear after you eat 15 food items. The way my pattern works is that you eat the bonus star shortly after it appears, which means you will seldom, if ever, get the 2,000 or 5,000 point bonus for eating the star with matching foods, unfortunately; I promise if I devise a pattern that does allow for this, I will post it immediately.
So if you’re not going to get the 5,000-point bonus on the star, then why do I call this a “never-fail” pattern? Well, because if you follow it, you will clear the entire maze with lots of time to spare and rack up a pretty decent number of bonus points. I also use this exact same pattern with great success on Bob DeCrescenzo’s Atari 7800 version of Super Pac-Man. Be warned, however, that if you are playing the game via The Internet Arcade, it might be difficult to control Super Pac-Man because, at least with my findings, the keyboard reaction time on the online version of MESS can be too slow to control Super Pac-Man with precision during the bonus stages, especially when you’re holding down the “Super Speed” button.
Speaking of the “Super Speed” button, for best results you want to keep that button held down for the entire stage so you get as many bonus points for early clearance as possible. It might take you a few rounds of practice to get the pattern down, though, because of Super Pac-Man’s speed.
You’ll start the maze by taking a break: just hold down the “Super Speed” button and you don’t even have to touch the joystick; just let Super Pac-Man head to the left and wrap around to the other side of the screen.
When Super Pac-Man reenters on the right, have him head down immediately so that he travels all the way to the bottom of the maze, breaks through the row of donuts on the bottom, and comes up through the gate in the middle up to the dead-end box right above it.
Next, Super Pac-Man will essentially mirror what he did on the other side of the screen, then end up in the backwards-7-shaped island under his original starting point. This is when the bonus star will appear.
With the next step, Super Pac-Man will eat the bonus star but will highly unlikely do so when the food items on either side match, so don’t expect a bonus of 5,000 points or even 2,000 points.
After eating the bonus star, Super Pac-Man will then clear the 7-shaped island on the other side and cut back down into the now-cleared row at the bottom, exit that row on the left, and head up. Notice that the green path forks off into two possibilities, each marked in light blue. Which way should Super Pac-Man go? Go with what the spirit tells you – it doesn’t matter! From this point, you’re really just following the path of the remaining food items.
When you get to the end of that trail, you’re done. The bonus timer will tick down rapidly, adding points to your score with each tick.
So there you go — although this pattern is in five pieces, and the fifth piece looks pretty long, it’s a very simple pattern that’s easy to memorize. This pattern should work regardless of the difficulty setting on the machine. If I can come up with a way to guarantee you’ll eat the star at the right time to get the highest possible bonus, I’ll be sure to let you know; unfortunately, the MAME ROM doesn’t have the rack test option, so I can’t just skip to the bonus stage. (Hmmm….maybe the Atari 7800 version allows you to choose a stage…will have to check it out!)
I think my next post will be a review of my favorite book about Pac-Man. After that, I’ll post my grab-the-prize-as-soon-as-it-comes-out mini-pattern for the fourth maze in Ms. Pac-Man Turbo; that will probably be the last you hear from me on that game for a while. Now to get back to work…which shows you how much I value my readers: I sacrifice my lunch break to help you with your games!