Heart Attack Man: First-Person Pac-Man Is Horrifying

By Nathan Grayson on February 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Well, it's definitely scarier than Slender, anyway.

I’m sure FPS-Man isn’t the first game to attempt Namco’s venerable pellet-munching classic in first-person, but I’m still willing to wager that it’s still the first of its kind. In a ghost-dodging twist, this is Pac-Man re-imagined as some kind of bowel-clenchingly atmospheric horror game. And you know what? It kinda works. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to it (yet), but what’s here is oppressively claustrophobic in all the best ways. An endless hallway of ghastly howls and neon whispers. I do, however, have some borderline sacrilegious news for you: no wakkas.

On its most basic level, FPS-Man is still Pac-Man. Navigate a maze, flee from ghosts, consume EVERYTHING in some kind of hedonistic blood festival/metaphor for rampant drug usage/videogame. Honestly, first-person for first-person’s sake wouldn’t really change much of that simple formula – aside from horrifically limiting your field of view and making it easier for ghosts to corner you.

But FPS-Man is about striking fear into even the steeliest of hearts with barely mobile googly eyed ghosts, and on that front, it manages to at least shock – if not turn undergarments into urine-stained ruins. Basically, the bizarre juxtaposition of visuals and impressively spooky sounds make it well worth the cost of entry (erm, nothing).

Its creator’s been actively updating since day-one, too, so this appears to be only the beginning. Which is good, because ghost AI – among other things – is still basically non-existent. Honestly, though, I’m not expecting some genre-transcending opus here. FPS-Man’s an unexpected yet extremely fitting take on two of gaming’s oldest ideas. And let’s be real: the basic concept behind Pac-Man? Kind of terrifying on its own. Before, we were just playing as the insatiable sentient hockey puck. Now, though, we actually know how he feels.

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37 Comments »

  1. Michael Hoss says:

    The first one was prbly this Unreal Engine project… Bomberman Zero? Ah! Bomberman: Act Zero. That one. Horrible game :D

    However: FACE HULK!

  2. fuggles says:

    Or Wolfenstein 3D, in a dim and distant past where ceilings were but a dream

  3. Caiman says:

    So, 3D Monster Maze reimagined as Pac-Man. Sounds pretty scary to me.

  4. Gap Gen says:

    It’s a first-person game. *You’re* supposed to shout WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA as you play.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ah, the old “silent protagonist as a blank slate for the player to project onto” approach.

      So you’re telling me the ghosts aren’t going to be romanceable?

      • Gap Gen says:

        Well, if they’re following the Half-Life route, the sequel will have Ms. Pacman follow you around and gently flirt with you as you stare wordlessly at her, or else ignore her completely and jump on tables.

    • sinister agent says:

      This demands a LAN party video. A whole room of WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA with the occasional EEEOOOWEEOOWEEOO death noise.

  5. yhalothar says:

    It’s certainly not the first – I remember sinking a lot of time into Cyberman on the Amiga. Its atmosphere was certainly unique as well ;)

    • thecat17 says:

      NAME: SYNTAX ERROR
      Also called stupid
      It is not very
      bad because his
      cowardly. If there
      is any other
      in the zone, it
      prefers to avoid
      the contact with you.

  6. Fetthesten says:

    The first horror-based first-person reimagining of Pac-Man? Nuh-uh. I distinctly remember playing something fitting that description almost perfectly (the only difference is that I seem to recall it being turn-based) as a kid, aaaand it turns out I was thinking of 3-Demon, a DOS game from 1983.

    • acheron says:

      I was going to say, why did no one mention 3-Demon? How young are you people?

      The giant teeth eating your screen when a ghost/monster caught you in 3-Demon freaked me right out. I’d call it atmospheric horror.

  7. JohnP says:

    Argh, stupid not-inverted y-axis on mouse. *cannot play*

    • Mrs Columbo says:

      I’m with you on that. I don’t know whether it was growing up playing simulators or whatever, but a non-inverted ‘y’ axis is an abomination to me. Tons of otherwise splendid-looking games like this are put out of my reach by the lack of an invert option.

    • LionsPhil says:

      But…but…there’s no vertical gameplay!

      • Mrs Columbo says:

        Now, now Phil. You’re being mischievous, aren’t you? The game has free-look, so unless one fixes their mouse running between metal horizontal rails there is always some vertical movement, particularly when being chased in a panic by scary things.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Try turning your mouse upside-down. Of course, that would invert the x-axis as well, but you can’t win ‘em all.

    • MiKHEILL says:

      Press esc for menu. Click “invert mouse”. Shower me in praise.

  8. phlebas says:

    Those staring eyes!

  9. Zarunil says:

    Crap, that is scary. Can you imagine being placed in a maze in real-life and chased by these creatures?

  10. Tei says:

    If you think about it, a lot of arcade games don’t really have a end condition, or are designed for the player to get there.

    The original Pac-Man breaks if you manage to get to the 256 level.

    Its like the movie Cube, if the movie Cube “film” where designed to break in the part the protagonist escape… or in moder terms… like if the film movie file is corrupt beyond that part of the movie (so you can’t never watch the protagonist escaping).

    Missile Command. Same theory apply: your civilization will always collapse under a pile of radioactive ruins, theres not way for your stations to save all cities, just how long you will last until the last one of your cities are nuked.

  11. EvilMachineDad says:

    Oculus Rift anyone? you might wanna be sitting on the toilet playing this then… come to think of it.. I might just want to sit on the toilet for ALL my VR’ing! im a genius!

  12. Sardonic says:

    So basically this is cp_pacman_wtf from TF2 then.

  13. Adam Dawes says:

    TIP: Walk diagonally for turbo speed. :-) (And in the game.)

  14. misterfranck says:

    I had the same idea one or two months ago, and then found out that I was not the first (it’s impossible to be the first to anything on the Internet anyway… ^^ )

    But I still made a mod adapting PacMan to Legend of Grimrock, which fits good for that type of gameplay.

  15. Bobtree says:

    The screenshot made me think of Faceball 2000 on the SNES.

  16. Casimir's Blake says:

    I’m pleased to see something first person that isn’t a dumb, linear man-shooter for a change.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Unless you’re chained up in some hellish prison somewhere where you’re forced to play first-person games 24/7, and FPS-Man is a brief breath of fresh air before you return to the drudgery of experiencing every product ever in the FPS genre, bearing the sins of the industry upon yourself so as to spare the rest of us your suffering,

      …please try and rein in the snark a little bit.

  17. nemryn says:

    You don’t even really need fancy AI, the original ghost-targeting algorithms are pretty good already. Maybe it’s just a matter of implementation?

  18. luckystriker says:

    It’s fun, but it’s way too slow.

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