Hey folks, Valkor here. And the 80's are back and rocking the Val-Cave thanks to the folks at Warner Home. We've reviewed several 80's classic cartoons from Gobots, Chuck Norris, SilverHawks, and even the Centurions. But out of all the toons featured here at TOV, there's none more iconic, more prominent than arcade's first true mascot – Pac-Man. The arcade machine was released May 22, 1980 and at the games peak, nothing was left off the table as to where the character would appear. We're talking toys, board games, t-shirts, hats, glasses, cereal, if you can think of it, Pac-Man was probably featured on it. The game itself spawned a female and baby counterpart (Ms. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man respectively) and also a superhero version called Super Pac-Man. Now the folks at Warner Home have inducted into the Hanna Barbera Classic Collection "Pac-Man: The Complete First Season". Does this classic cartoon series hold up after 30 years? Let's find out.
Holy shit it's been 30 years since this cartoons release? Damn, I am getting old!
Pac-Man the TV series was released in 1982 as part of ABC's Saturday morning lineup. The show centered on Pac-Man and his family – Mrs. Pac-Man (whom Pac-Man calls Pepper), their son Baby Pac-Man, their cat Sour Puss, and dog Chomp-Chomp. For the most part Pac-Man spent much of an episode staying ahead of the Ghost Monsters – Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde, and Sue who worked for Mezmaron, the shows villain character who's hell-bent on locating and gaining control of Pac-Land's "Power Pellet" supply. Fortunately for Pac-Man, there's always a healthy dose of power pellets around when he needs him the most. And when he gets his chompers on a bunch, the ghost monsters don't stand a chance.
The thirteen episodes of the first season is slapped on two discs, with each episode broken into two parts. Highlights include:
Southpaw Packy – Pac-Man is taking the family out to a ball game. But when the Ghost Monsters take over, the Pac family steps up to bat and pinch hits for the deflated players.
Backpackin' Packy – Pac-Man is trying to enjoy his day off, but ends up replacing Baby Pac-Man's troop leader. And he may have bitten off more than he could chomp, especially when the Ghost Monsters make an appearance.
Sir Chomp-A-Lot – Mezmaron sends the ghost monsters 1,000 years into the past where they meet Sir Chomp-A-Lot, who defends the Power forest against an evil Pac Dragon.
Goo-Goo at the Zoo – The Pac Family are spending the day at the Pac Land Zoo. But things get hectic when Pac Baby starts releasing all the animals.
Once Upon a Chomp – The ghost monsters have a fairy ghost monster who gives them a book that brings fairy tales to life, which the ghosts can use to stop Pac-Man once and for all.
Other than the 13 episodes, the discs contain no additional features or even trailers. However the discs themselves are worth checking out since they all feature Pac-man in his original arcade form. Pretty sweet, but let's see how the series fared in the TOV Breakdown.
Pac-man the series follows a formula very similar to that of another Hanna-Barbera classic Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, where for the most part the ghosts spend each episode chasing after Pac-man, much like the Chopper Bunch chase after Wheelie. The series does well in staying true to the arcade game; Pac-man does much running away from the ghosts but then turns the tide when he gets his teeth on power pellets. And true to the game, the ghosts turn purple. As a whole, the series is very simple but a lot of fun, especially if you're a fan of the game. The voice work is pretty solid featuring prominent voice figures such as Frank Welker, Marty Ingels, Chuck McCann, and Peter Cullen. The episodes are kept in their original 4:3 format, which means you'll see black bars on either side of the screen. However, the animation and the colors look great, though you'll see some wash out or scratches here and there. Overall, the series has aged quite well. Then again...
This is the kind of series that works best in a weekly format as opposed to trying to watch it all in one sitting. I think it's because of all the repetition; I mean, how many ways can we see the Ghost Monsters chase after Pac-Man? So in short doses, the series is fine. But trying to soak it all in, in one shot? You'll be in nap land in no time.
Baby Pac-Man is a boy… but he kinda sound like a girl. So it's odd to here Pac-Man call Baby Pac his son. It's also funny to see Mezmaron get chomped; his masked gets left behind along with his eyes.
Pac-Man: The Complete First Season DVD is available now. And if you're curious about a Pac-man cartoon, a fan of the series and/or video game, then this is definitely one to pick up. It really is a lot of fun… if you don't try to watch all 13 episodes in one sitting. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving season one of Pac-Man a 3.5 and it's been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved.