Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pacman: Strategies

Pacman is a deceptively simple game.

The four corners and the bottom line are the most dangerous places.
You guide the pacman inside a maze to eat all the 244 pellets and avoid the four ghosts. When you eat one of the power pellets at the four corners of the maze, the ghosts turn blue and you can revenge by eating them back. 

Pacman has a clearly advantage that the ghosts never have; it is controlled by a superb human mind. You can move left or right and up or down. You can reverse direction and predict the ghosts' movement  (as long as you know their psychology, discussed below). The ghosts are programmed to move in one direction. While you have the false feeling of getting chased by one of the ghosts, keep calm, reverse the direction and you'll find yourself safe.

Pacman can out - run Clyde
Further, Pacman runs faster than ghosts. On the left, even when Clyde is chasing right at your back, you can be confident you can out - run him.  The ghosts immediately slow down when they enter the two side - tunnels at the middle but Pacman is immune from this penalty.

Only under one circumstance Pacman has no way to escape: concerted attack by 2 or more ghosts.

You can prevent this from happening by not going to areas where there are little escape routes. The four corners and the bottom line are the most dangerous place and you should eat the pellets there only when the ghosts are scattered or you can catch a timely power pellet.

There is always a way out
When you find yourself under attack though, again, don't panic and keep calm. Observe their movements, and more than often you can find your way out. On the left, you still have an escape route, even when blinky and pinky are trying catch you from both fronts. 

Know your enemies: blinky, pinky, inky and clyde. Blinky is the most aggressive and will chase you to death when he has decided to do so. Pinky can either act independently or more often work with Blinky to make a concerted attack.

From left to right: Clyde, Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Pacman

From my experience, Inky is the least predictable because she might sometimes chase you like Blinky or might just wander off. Most of the times, he seems to just frighten you off. Clyde is the least dangerous because of his targeting scheme. He only chases Pacman when it happens to have come close to him. The beauty of their psychology is sometimes they are predictably unpredictable and at other times, unpredictably predictable.

Arming with this knowledge, you won't stay long when Blinky and Pinky are together and going to box you in. When Inky chases you alone, you won't feel threatened, since she usually unpredictably wanders off. It shouldn't be a problem to avoid Clyde, but just beware he is as dangerous when he cooperates with his other three colleagues.

Lastly, there are areas where the ghosts can easily gang rape you. I have mentioned the four corners and the bottom line. One commentary holds the two connecting side - tunnels are safe for Pacman because he is immune from the speed - down penalty. However very often, the ghosts can easily entrap you from both sides.

One safe zone is the area around the ghost house where there are 6 escape routes, making it harder to for ghosts to trap you.

I hope some of the strategies and techniques mentioned here can be a guide for all beginner to enjoy playing one of best game in the world - Pacman.


Anonymous said...

or you can even trick them back by trying to go to one direction, and then running towards other direction.

Anonymous said...

running towards the other direction*