What better way to banish those late winter blues than with some top notch retro gaming classics. Well that is the plan, and whether it turns out like that is another thing entirely. Up next, a variation on a successful character and an entry in one of the more successful puzzle franchises ever. If you like hats and bubbles then this could be the column for you………


See it is possible.............



Can Pac Man translate to a mass audience beyond mazes and pill collecting ?


Pac-Man is back and this time he is out of the maze and taking a journey through his own world. His quest is to pop a fairy under his hat and take her through a few levels of side scrolling action. Along the way he will hindered by the ghosts, whom he can still chase by collecting power pellets. Keeping an eye out for cherries and strawberries is essential, as well as new power ups such as a hat with wings so Pac can fly and power shoes to make him go quicker. Once the fairy is returned to her land Pac then must take the journey back home, where will encounter more of the same, before returning home to his family.


You might think the arrow is pointing out the bleeding obvious as in which way to go, but once you reach the end of the level you have to come back from whence you came


Based on both the ancient 1984 Namco arcade game and the ancient and short lived Pac-Man cartoon series of the early1980’s there is no denying that Pac-Land falls into that cute platform category. Bright, colourful graphics and an annoying tune are staples of these sorts of games and Pac-Land does not disappoint. Whilst the game should be applauded for successfully transferring Pac out into a different format, and it works quite well, it’s all a bit simple, lacking any real challenge and for 1991’s standards a pretty dated effort.


The ghosts pop up in all manner of transportation - cars, pogo sticks and here on some sort of alien hovercraft thing


Very much one for Pac-Man fans, it’s good for a short period of time but this is one game that will not keep you coming back again for extended play.




It doesn't look much from the box but inside is a veritable bubble box of delights for all ages and abilities


Yet another sequel to the best selling bubble bursting game, Bust A Move 4 at least this time tries to be a little different. You can now take part in a Story mode, which will reward you with tarot cards after each successful stage. Challenge mode sees you being judged for speed and success with more points awarded for how quickly you can complete levels. The aim of the game is to clear the screen of all the coloured bubbles, using your arrow attached to a machine. It’s like Tetris in a way but with bubbles. Oh and the two dinosaurs, Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble (try saying that 5 times very quickly)


It's colourful, cute and cranium scratchingly good fun


The best puzzle games are the ones which require that extra little bit of thinking whilst at the same time not being too difficult that you end up kicking the cat in frustration. Bust A Move has been a very successful series and whilst this entry doesn’t add a whole lot, it is at least as playable as the other games. The cute Japanese Anime graphics are great, the music is suitably bouncy and it’s a very challenging game. The bottom line would be, is there anything new here that sets this apart from the other games in the series, and that would have to be a resounding no.


As always with games of this genre it's always best to play with a chum.......and revel in kicking their backsides


Bust A Move 4 is a great puzzle game and worth getting if you don’t own any of the others. Sadly, there isn’t enough here to recommend a purchase if you own any of the other games already.