|Patterns Basic Info
|There are 5
patterns you will have to learn to theoretically be able to play Pac-Man until it stalls
at level 255. Some of them have strong similarities so you could say there are only 3.5.
Here's how they are arranged (The names refer to the bonus fruit you collect at the bottom
right of your screen with every level you complete):
The Cherry Pattern: This pattern works for Level 1 only and is
fairly freestyle in how you choose to end it. The ghosts at this point are so slow and the
duration of the power pill effect so long that you can virtually do as you like after
following the first few corners of the pattern safely.
The Mid Fruit Pattern: Levels 2 - 4. A slight
variation of the Cherry Pattern but still open for freestyling it at the end of the
pattern, there is no immediate danger still if you completed the first half of the maze
The Apple Pattern: Level 5 rewards you with an apple
and up to and including level 16 this pattern will work just fine.
The Fifth Key Pattern: Levels 17, 19 and 20 are the
mazes where the power pills will not turn the monsters blue anymore. They are rewarded
with a key, as all levels after and including level 13 are. You will need a slight
variation of the Apple Pattern to safely evade them and to complete the maze.
The Ninth Key Pattern: From level 21 on not only
will the power pills not allow you to eat the ghosts, your Pac-Man also noticeably slows
down. On a straight line he will be caught in pure speed. Since you have to level 255 and
about 5 hours to go this might actually be a good thing as it is less tiring than the
frantic pace of the previous levels. But it also means that if you make a mistake it is
extremely hard to recover and often means you will lose at least 2 lives and the end of
your game. No more mistakes from here on :)
If you want to see these executed you can
download the MAME INP file here (MAME32 .53
|The Cherry Pattern
below outline the basic elements of the simplest pattern, the Cherry Pattern. Make sure to
read my remarks to get read about the crucial points A to E:
A: Follow the pattern by letting the Pac-Man go to
the left from the start, take the turns as indicated up to point A. Depending on how well
you executed your cornering at point A, taking the sharp left towards the tunnel you will
brush very closely with the ghosts which will come down from the top. Don't let this scare
you off. Even slightly off the timing you will still race past untouched and head down
towards point B
B: By this time the ghost will be hot on your tail
but no close enough to bite yet. Good thing there's a power pill nearby. Keep going to the
bottom of the lane and up towards the power pill. Eat it on the fly towards point C
C: When reaching C you will see that after having
eaten the power pill the ghosts changed direction and are coming back up the lane from
point B, right into your path. A bit of freestyling here, not indicated in the pattern and
you can eat at least 3 of them, plus clean up the 2 remaining dots on the right of point
C. The way you clean this may vary slightly depending on your timing and ghost positions
at the time of eating the power pill. Usually there are at least 2, normally 3 ghosts
coming back up the lane right into your path and you gobble them up one by one. A third
one will be approaching from point D on the right. This usually means gobbling up the ones
directly in your path, then heading towards the one on coming from the right, giving it
what it deserves, heading back to clean up the two dots and resuming the path as indicated
towards point D. This sounds complicated and is explained in many words but it's actually
only a couple of jerks on the joystick and executed within 2 seconds.
reaching point D and turning right the ghost which you had eaten previously are already
back in the maze hot on your pursuit. The red ghost will be millimetres away from you,
might even touch you slightly. Don't let it put you off, continue the pattern to the
second power pill on the bottom right eat it and then either go an eat some blue ghosts or
continue the pattern as indicated towards point E. In this level the ghosts are so slow
that you can quite leisurely spend some time chasing 2 or 3 of them down before resuming
E: When you reach point E you will have done most
of the work. It's up to you if you want to race for the pills and just clean up the
remaining dots without any danger or if you want lure the ghosts by waiting around next to
the pills and then hunt them down for maximum points. In this level either way can be
completed safely and quite easily with only few dots and 2 power pills left. Free style
|You have now...
your first Cherry...in style :)
|The Mid-Fruit Pattern
to the next 3 levels with the Mid-Fruit Pattern. Still not a lot to worry about, but
gameplay. is getting noticeably faster already. You can see that this pattern is based on
the first one with many similarities but a sudden direction change at point a. We could
call this as being in the same family as the Cherry Pattern:
A: From the start to point A where where, contrary
to level 1, you will be met by Inky. A sharp 180 degrees turn before the last dot of the
lane, the one right next to the red A is required. It is important to leave this dot for
the timing when you get to eating the ghosts at point C.
B: Off to point B in very similar fashion to the
Cherry Pattern. If you have left the last dot as indicated above you will comparatively
comfortably clear the ghosts which again are coming downwards at you at point B. As
before, turn left and down and off you go, chased by the ghosts to point C. Just before
eating the power pill on the left you will notice that the ghosts have aligned very neatly
in one line behind you.
C: By here, after eating the power pill all 4
ghosts are coming up the lane right into your open mouth. Follow the pattern downwards and
you will gobble them all in one swoop for the 1.600 maximum points. Then continue the
pattern as indicated towards the power pill on the right.
D: Use the
duration of the power pill boost to clean out the bottom right corner (there might be some
blue ghosts to eat in your way or you can choose to chase them for a few seconds, we're
not in dangerous territory here yet :)) and make your way up the maze.
E: Once you reach point E Blinkey will be running
up the vertical lane towards the top of the maze. Make a quick head fake at point E to let
it pass. It will run by you without attacking you as it's on its predefined path to it's
corner. As soon as it's passed you make your way up to the top clearing more dots off the
F: When you reach F you have cleaned out most of
the maze and still 2 power pills left. Freestyle time. I usually do a quick up/down
headfake which leads Blinkey to adopting the lane between point E and F while I go along
the top towards the power pill. There Pinkey and Blinkey will have almost caught up and
closed you in, Blinkey from the bottom, Pinkey from the top. Eat the pill, gobble up the
ghosts and make your way to the left cleaning the remaining dots of the maze. With the
help of the last pill this will be an easy task.
|You have now...
it to level 5 earning strawberries and peaches and are on your way to a respectable score.
|The Apple Pattern
level 5 on the pace gets more frantic. The good thing is: Once you have mastered the Apple
Pattern you can get quite far in the game and regularly achieve scores which will make it
to the top of the highscore table in most bars and arcades. Remember, we now go in steps
of four in terms of power pill duration and ghost speed. The first level after an
intermission gives you fairly long powered up times, in the fourth one and you hardly get
any time to eat ghosts:
A: Follow the pattern fairly straightforward to
point A where you will eat the first fruit, nothing much to report yet, no close shaves or
B: Make your way to point where the first crucial
moment arises: This is a quick jerk to recover 2 leftover dots on the fly. This is also
where you will commit the most errors while practising. And when you get it wrong you
usually end up in trouble. Just make sure to be really precise at this moment. Should you
only eat one of the two don't turn back, you'll get past this point later in the pattern
again, the jerk is however important for the timing of the rest of the pattern, so don't
leave it out completely.
C: The rest until point C is fairly uneventful.
Follow the pattern, through the tunnel, up through the top left of the maze towards point
C where you will gobble up the second fruit of the level
D: Down and up
towards point D. At this point Blinkey will be on your tail. If you've cornered cleanly it
should be safely behind you to make your way safely through the top right pattern towards
the first power pill. If you've been a bit slow get to the power pill as quickly as
possible, disregarding the pattern, you can still clean up the maze quite comfortably with
the few dots and 3 power pills left. Use the tunnels to your advantage, luring the ghosts
in to follow you if you get into trouble.
E: The second crucial point at the end of the
pattern is point E. In the later stages it can happen that Blinkey or Pinkey will cross
your path here if you haven't been quite clean. Decide here whether it's safe to follow
the pattern or whether you rather butt out and head back to the right tunnel to gain speed
and time advantage.
F: If you have followed the pattern up to here,
which you should have if your timing and cornering has been clean then, depending on which
difficulty level you have reached, you will see from point F that the area around the
bottom left power pill is crowded with ghosts. If you're brave, you should be able to
cleanly travel through them and use the power pill to your advantage. Should you decide
it's too dangerous, head for the tunnel at point F and win some precious time and space,
there's only a few dots and 2 power pills left, no need to risk anything silly.
G: Again depending on which level you have reached,
it could be that Clyde or Blinkey come your way at from the right at point G. If they do,
just stop there for a second, they will pass straight underneath you without bothering you
at all and the way is free to clear the maze.
H: Same as
above, depending on your timing throughout the pattern it could be that here Clyde might
be coming your way from the bottom right power pill. Fairly easy to avoid, just see
whether he chooses the upper or lower lane and follow safe lane towards the last few dots.
This is not a problem really, but it's good to know in advance so you won't go into shock
when it happens and lose a life in an almost completed maze.
|You have now...
it to level 16 earning some major respect from your onlookers and already made a good 15
mins of gameplay our of 1 credit.
|The Fifth Key Pattern
Fifth Key Pattern: Valid for levels 17, 19 and 20 (18 is another Apple Pattern Level). On
these levels the ghosts don't turn blue anymore, the power pill just provokes a change in
the direction they're going, momentarily at least. However if executed cleanly this
pattern is the most beautiful of all, as in the last third you have all 4 ghosts chasing
shadows without any danger for yourself.
A - C: See above, nothing changes.
D: This is where the Apple Pattern becomes the
Fifth Key Pattern and this is also where it becomes beautiful. Depending of your timing
and cornering throughout the level you are faced with two possibilities here (depicted in
the two middle pic above): Either Inky is approaching from the left or from the right.
Ideally it is approaching from the right. All the others are in hot pursuit. In either
case you need to go from point D very quickly into the direction of Inky and then race up
to the tunnel. This is in order to lure Inky to follow you into the tunnel with all the
others. If you don't head towards it then it will disregard you and not follow. If you get
it right then all 4 ghosts will follow you into the tunnel.
E: Race towards E and when you gobble up the power
pill the ghosts will just emerge from the tunnel...and straight back in they go :).
F: Clean the
remaining dots towards F. At this point, depending on whether all the ghosts had followed
you into the tunnel after point D Clyde might come up towards you from the right. You
should be able to sneak past him turning up but if your slightly late you might want to
back up and gobble up the remaining points above you left to right before heading back up
towards the tunnel. This doesn't happen in the ideal scenario, but if it should it won't
upset the rest of the pattern as all the other ghosts are still coming out of the tunnel
on the right.
G: Towards point G where you will head fake foe a
couple of seconds to lure the ghosts coming out of the tunnel on the right to follow you
back in on the left. Ideally at least 3 of them will. Have them follow you through the
tunnel, shoot out on the other side and head for the power pill on the bottom right which
again will send the emerging ghosts back into the tunnel. You see how you send them back
and forth without them ever becoming dangerous.
H: Head up towards point H. Approach it differently
than during the Apple Pattern, as depicted in the image. When you're about to eat the
power pill you'll see the ghosts dangerously approaching in your direction. just before
you eat it they double back as it is one of those moments when they all scatter across the
maze towards their respective corners. Eat the pill and once again they head right...while
you're on your way left to clear the remaining few dots without any danger. Collective
ghost confusion and a major sense of achievement for yourself :)
|You have now...
it to level 21 and you're about to enter the desert..the long and hot trip towards your
high score. Nothing will change anymore, only the Ninth Key Pattern to come....for as long
as you can stand the heat :)
|The Ninth Key Pattern
Ninth Key Pattern: Valid for levels 21 until 255. The Pac-Man slows down and the ghosts
hardly twitch when you eat a power pill.Make a mistake and you're history. Learn to
execute the pattern consistently and you can go on for as long as your concentration lets
Click here for alternative endings to this pattern
A: Follow the pattern with tight cornering and eat
the first key at point A
B: If you got stuck ever so slightly or cornered
imprecisely you'll know here. Inky will be right onto you and there's no escape. Plus it's
still very early in the level. Most likely you won't be able to recover from this. This is
why it's so important to get the beginning of the level right in Ninth Key Patterns!
C: If you made it past B, which you should, race
towards C with Inky on your tail. At point C Clyde will shave your head as you turn up,
don't let it put you off and continue to pursue the pattern. For the next few turns Pinky
and Blinky will be hard on your tail, you'll just make it into the tunnel.
D: Out of the
tunnel and towards point D by which time you will have all the ghosts on your tail again.
Corner cleanly, eat the second fruit and go until you reach point E.
stop!. The ghosts are going right to left on top of the ghost house led by Blinky. Wait
until the exact moment Blinkey turns downwards. The timing here is crucial! At this exact
moment whack your joystick downwards and continue on the pattern. You should finish safely
now, unless your timing was slightly off at point D. Then Pinkey will come to challenge
you at point F. In this case take the tunnel and the alternative route to finish the
pattern which is depicted in the last image. This is a bit more stressful but leads to
success 99% of the time (actually it only ever failed me once and I'm still not sure why
|You have now...
the game. Only lack of concentration or patience can stop you from reaching millions. I
usually play till the Ninth Key Pattern, go through it a few times to prove to myself that
I can still do it and after 45 mins or so I had enough Pac-Man fun for one session. But if
you hang in there and make it through level 256, you'll be rewarded with this:
The Infamous Split Screen
|The Easter Egg
Easter egg can be found in the Puck Man, Pac-Man Midway and Ms. Pac-Man Bootleg versions:
Make sure your start buttons
don't mask each other. I changed mine to ctrl and alt.
Press f2 and go to the test screen.
Hold start 1 and start 2 and tap F2 twice real
fast. You should see a grid.
Repeat 2 only faster :) If it boots you were
too slow, start over. If you're not sure it worked do it again.
Press up 4
times, left 4, right 4, down 4. If it's still a grid repeat 4. If it still
doesn't work go back to 3.
If successful you will get