For a very long time I was certain that the monsters in Ms Pac-Man weren’t the same ghost-like creatures as the original game but instead weird spindly-armed and big-headed vaguely ET-looking dudes to the extent that when I actually got around to playing Ms Pac-Man for the what was the first time in many many years I was surprised to find that Blinky et al looked the same as they did in the original game. So where did the spindly pac-persuers come from? Did I eat lots of ’80s cheese and have an ’80s bad dream? Don’t be (’80s) ridiculous: I was confusing Ms Pac-Man with my memories of this here BBC Micro game: Snapper
As you may have guessed, Snapper was the Acorn machine’s, ahem, “inspired by” Pac-Man title. I suspect the main reason I confused it with Ms Pac-Man for so long was that the player character, whilst looking nothing like either Pac-Man or his other half, looks decidedly like a female (or, I suppose, effeminate) grapefruit in a wide-brimmed hat. Actually, given all I’ve said let’s just imagine that it’s a male grapefruit with the elegance and dress-sense of Quentin Crisp. I rather like that idea.
Other than a few changes in the graphics department, this is basically your standard Pac-Man clone complete with collectable fruit and a scoring system that gives more points for each monster chomped. Given the theme I’ve decided to apply perhaps the monsters are goons chasing our poor floppy-hat wearing hero around for being a “jessie”? Who knows.
I like Pac-Man and I like Snapper. The Beeb’s chunky graphics and bright palette suit this game well and it’s fast and fun to play. I have a few issues, such as the scores for fruits and chomped monsters not being displayed in the playfield like they are in Pac-Man and the “personalities” of the different monsters seemingly not being there but hey ho, if you had a BBC Micro you had a jolly good game of Pac-Man to play, just not officially. Now, when’s “Snapper” going to move to New York and have Sting write a song about him?