Candied, crushed sago't gulaman
by Tom Davies
[Every Tuesday, we… tues a free browser game that you can play in five minutes.]
FPS Man is a first-person reimagining of Pac-Man. Instead of the whimsical beeps’nboop music and the strategic top-down dodgem-ghosties game, the player is instead given the opportunity to see things through the eyes of the Pac-Man himself.
And everything he sees is horrifying.
Aesthetically, FPS Man retains the original game’s visual style. Sure, it took its liberties with the mesh floor and the Tron-esque wall designs, but the tight hallways, the point dots, and the ghosts all retain their original design.
God, those ghosts.
As a top-down game, the implacable advance of Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde is the game’s prime conflict, a source of consistent frustration and annoyance. They’re gonna getcha! But at least they’re adorable at it. In the pixelized world, these ghosts are your cutest adversaries, like color-coded Caspers.
But given a third dimension and they are demons straight out of hell.
The new synth soundtrack manages to induce mad spooks, further heightening the stress. Pop a power pill and dissonant guitar riffs pound into your earholes, tinging your fighting chance with a splash of needless ultraviolence as you chase down your fears.
What if Pac-Man really is a survival horror game? Post-traumatic stress disorder wrapped up in 8-bit package of frivolity? Change the perspective and strip away the chiptune and what do you have left? A claustrophobic tale of addiction and nightmares never-ending.