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Ms. Pac-Man (Arcade)

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Title Screen

Ms. Pac-Man

Developers: Midway Manufacturing, General Computer Corporation
Publishers: Midway Manufacturing, Namco
Platform: Arcade (Namco Pac-Man)
Released in US: January 13, 1982


DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.


Originally developed by General Computer Corporation as an enhancement kit for Pac-Man called Crazy Otto, Ms. Pac-Man's huge success eventually made it an official part of the franchise (most notably the 1982-83 Pac-Man cartoon). Contrary to popular belief, Namco cleared Ms. Pac-Man for release and contributed to the character's design.

The game itself is an improvement over Pac-Man with changing maze layouts, new cutscenes, new sounds and music, and the bonus items bouncing around the maze. The orange ghost was also renamed from Clyde to Sue, which went to a fifth (purple) ghost for the aforementioned cartoon and subsequent games.

(Source: Ars Technica)

Unused Graphics

Pacman-dots.png

In the game's graphics data, there are three types of dots: the regular ones, the Power Pellets, and an unused medium-sized type in between. The medium dots appear in the code of Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, and Ms. Pac-Man, but go unused in all three games. However, they were eventually incorporated into Jr. Pac-Man (when a bonus item runs over a regular dot).

A division of Vanilla Corp

The logo for General Computer Corporation is present among the graphics, probably a leftover from the game's days as Crazy Otto.

Ms-pacman-unknown-gfx.png

An unknown graphic that seems to be partially cut off.

Pacman-key.png

A leftover key graphic from Pac-Man, a "fruit" that is not present in Ms. Pac-Man.

Easter Egg

Who could tell?

As Ms. Pac-Man runs on top of the Pac-Man ROM, the Easter egg from the original game is still present and functions in the same way: enter Service Mode, then quickly toggle it off and on. A video alignment grid will appear on the screen. Hold P1 START and P2 START and toggle Service Mode off and on again. If you've done it right, the grid will stay on-screen. Now, using the joystick, press Up x 4, Left x 4, Right x 4, Down x 4.

If you've done it right, "MADE BY NAMCO" will appear on the screen in red Power Pellets.

(Source: The Pac-Man Dossier)

Development Leftovers

Original Ms. Pac-Man hardware consisted of a daughtercard containing encrypted ROMs that plugged into the Z80 socket on a standard Midway Pac-Man logic board. Those encrypted ROMs would decrypt and apply a patch in real time to the original Pac-Man ROMs (still present on the logic board), but decrypted romsets (commonly used on bootleg hardware) are pre-patched, essentially doing away with the daughtercard and the "real time patch" method. Poking around in the decrypted/patched 6J ROM (pacman.6J in the encrypted "mspacman" romset, BOOT4 in the decrypted "mspacmab" romset) yields a couple traces of Ms. Pac-Man's development.

Located at ($8C6) to ($8D2):

SUPER@PAC;MAN

Super Pac-Man was an in-development title for Ms. Pac-Man, as explained by programmer Steve Golson during GDC 2016. This title predated Ms. Pac-Man but succeeded Crazy Otto. One year later, Namco would create and release their own Pac-Man sequel with this title (see: Super Pac-Man) (In the game's text map, the @ symbol is used for spaces, and semicolons are used for hyphens.)

(Source: Classic Game Postmortem: Ms. Pac-Man)

Located at ($D5A) to ($D60):

MAD@DOG

The name of the red monster in Crazy Otto.

Located at ($D79) to ($D7E):

KILLER

The name of the pink monster in Crazy Otto.

Located at ($E51) to ($E56):

OTTOMEN

Text used for the service mode of Crazy Otto, where the operator can set the number of lives the player is given (listed as "PAC-MEN" in Pac-Man and "MS PAC-MEN" in Ms. Pac-Man).

Developer Message

Loaded at the end of ROM memory (0x97D0 to 0x97FF), a small message from programmer Steve Golson can be read:

GENERAL COMPUTER
  CORPORATION   
Hello, Nakamura!

Masaya Nakamura is the founder of Namco. Jr. Pac-Man also has this message, as GCC also developed that and reused Ms. Pac-Man's assets.

(Source: Mamedev)