Wakka wakka wakka wakka wakka. WAKKA. Okay, I've got it out of my system: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, then. For a start, no it's not just Pac-Man. The hungry little three-quarters of a pie-chart is up to his same old tricks - wolfing down stuff like fruit, keys and enemy ghosts - but in some very fancy new clothes. Just two years after the first Championship Edition, Namco Bandai has once again intelligently built upon - and suitably drop-kicked into 2010 - one of the most famous arcade games of all time.
From the outset, Championship Edition DX is a beefier package than 2007's effort. The number of selectable stages has been increased from two to eight, and a whole bevy of visual styles - hearkening back to Pac-Man's various looks over the years - are included for an extra whack of aesthetic sparkle.
But the most discernable difference is that Pac-Man isn't always immediately chased by Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. Instead, the sallow pill-popper catches most of the ghostly quartet's extended family napping, waking them up when he drifts past. Masses of ghosts now line up behind Pac-Man like a Post Office queue during lunch hour. The trick, of course, is that biting down on a power pellet and flip-reversing the situation gives Pac-Man ample opportunity to guzzle up dozens of foes in quick succession; as with the original Championship Edition, chaining together enemy consumption in one 'powered-up' phase boosts the score to a max of 3200 per nibble.
Furthering some of the concepts conceived in Championship Edition, the general idea (in Score Attack mode, at least) is to stay powerful for as long as possible - though power pellets are now mostly stored inside enemy ghosts, and are therefore only obtainable when you're already juiced up. Served up in five and ten minute varieties, gameplay flip-flops between two sides of the maze, and eating a piece of fruit on one half replenishes another field of pellets (and ghosts) on the other. The goal, then, is to juggle the back-and-forth between both chunks of the map while simultaneously trying to pop the nearest ghost for more power before you run out of steam.
Another challenge comes from the juddering increases in pace, with the action speeding up depending on how well you're doing at any given time. The game does an excellent job of placing each new power-up just out of reach, often forcing you to rethink strategies and cautiously hover your thumb over the reset button, considering another foolish attempt at a perfect run.
Other modes include a standard bevy of Time Trials, where fruit-to-fruit manoeuvring is more important than chowing down on ghosts. These trials also manage to do a good job of teaching you the tricks and rhythms of each particular maze, whereas Ghost Combo scores you on how many enemies you can devour in one lengthy powered-up streak. The tricks you'll learn in both modes will encourage you to go back into Score Attack for another attempt at your personal best.