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Proto:Ms. Pac-Man (SNES)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Ms. Pac-Man (SNES).

At least two copies of a Ms. Pac-Man prototype dated June 18th were sold on eBay in March 2018. The seller claims to have acquired them from Atari Games when they closed down their Milpitas, California headquarters in 2003.

Download.png Download Ms. Pac-Man (6/18 Prototype)
File: Ms. Pac-Man (6-18 Prototype).zip (809 kb) (info)

Title Screen

The first obvious difference in this build is that there are no Digital Eclipse or Williams Entertainment logos displayed on startup.

The second obvious difference is, well...

Genesis version Prototype Final
Mspacmangen title.png Mspac-proto-title.png Mspacmansnes title.png

Given that the SNES version of the game was ported from the Genesis version, the title screen appears to have been mostly converted directly from that version, including similar (very unreadable) copyright text mentioning Innerprise Software and Tengen. The entire screen, except for the logo, also uses the same 16-color palette as Ms. Pac-Man's body, resulting in some bizarre coloring on everything else. The final version uses a different screen mode to display a 256-color title screen.

Most interestingly, this early version sports a completely different-looking Ms. Pac-Man, one which is somewhat reminiscent of the less cartoonish design featured in the original arcade version's cabinet. The reason for this different design, as it turns out, is due to this prototype seemingly being based on an unreleased prototype of the Genesis version, as confirmed by the identical early copyright text. Judging by the holes in the logo around her head, she appears to have been hastily pasted in without the logo graphics being fixed up afterward, not that it really matters, as fortunately the developers ended up updating her design, so that it matched the one used in the Genesis version.

Part of the title screen graphics also overwrite most of both players' sprites in VRAM, which are not reloaded until the attract loop starts, so starting a new game directly from the title screen without letting the attract demo play will result in glitched graphics.

Attract Mode

Prototype Final
Mspac-proto-cast.png Mspac-final-cast.png

The screen which introduces the cast of characters has some odd background tiles that use the wrong graphics and/or palette. (The ROM dump's checksum matches the one that is hand-written on the prototype EPROM, indicating that this is just caused by some sloppiness on the developer's part, rather than a damaged ROM). The names of the characters are also shown in all white, rather than matching colors like in the final.

A bug is also present where, during the attract demo, the ghosts will begin moving through the walls after some time has passed. This does not seem to occur during actual gameplay.

Prototype Final
Mspac-proto-credits.png Mspac-final-credits.png
Mspac-final-credits2.png

The credits only take up one screen instead of two, featuring no reference to Williams Entertainment and the placeholder name "Joe Q. Blow" in place of any actual testers.

In-Game Differences

Prototype Final
Mspac-proto-ingame.png Mspac-final-ingame.png

The bar at the top of the screen showing the level type, difficulty, and Pac Booster status is not present in this version. The "READY !" text shown at the beginning of the round is colored white instead of yellow.

Various gameplay bugs are also present:

  • At least one level ("Strange" level 4) cannot be cleared even after collecting all pellets. (This may or may not depend on whether you're playing a 1-player or 2-player game.)
  • Cutscenes starting from level 10 do not actually play; you must press Start to continue playing. There's also no ending yet; the game will lock up on a black screen after the last level is finished.
  • During a 2-player game, if Ms. Pac-Man collects a power pellet, Pac-Man's sprites disappear. Likewise, if Pac-Man collects one, Ms. Pac-Man's sprites will begin to only ever face upward or to the left, regardless of which direction she's moving in.
  • During a 2-player game, if one player runs out of lives, the next round will start with "GAME OVER" and "READY !" displayed at the same time, overlapping each other.

Other Differences / Bugs

  • Pressing Select advances you to the next level. This cheat was apparently programmed in rather carelessly, as it can be done when the game is paused (though it won't actually take effect until the game is unpaused) and also works in the gameplay demos.
  • Pressing the Reset button will cause brief glitches and may even lock up the game, due to the game clearing memory in a loop without actually initializing the index register first.
(Source: Original TCRF research)
(Source: Kiddo (ingame bugs))