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Emulation accuracy of Ms. Pac-Man on iCade 60-in-1 PCB & Namco Museum?


Skippy B. Coyote
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Hey there everyone. :)

I'm writing this post because there's been something bugging me for the last month or so ever since I got my 60-in-1 multicade setup, and that's the difficulty level of Ms. Pac-Man. Every review I've read on the iCade PCB says that Ms. Pac-Man is emulated flawlessly perfect, and it certainly looks and sounds perfect to me, but I feel like the difficulty level is way harder than I'm used to when playing Ms. Pac-Man on the Namco Museum ports for the PS1 and Game Boy Advance.

 

Both Namco Museum ports are supposed to be, from everything I've read at least, perfect ports of the original arcade version of Ms. Pac-Man with the difficulty dip switch set to Easy. They play really well and seem identical to the Ms. Pac-Man game that I've played so many times on the official Ms. Pac Man / Galaga 20th Anniversary Reunion machine at a local pizza shop. But when I play Ms. Pac-Man at home on my iCade 60-in-1 multicade I swear it seems like the ghost AI gets way smarter and the ghosts start moving much faster than usual beginning on level 3. I've never heard anyone else mention this though, so I'm really wondering if it's just playing Ms. Pac-Man on the larger 17" vertical monitor compared to the smaller screens of the Game Boy Advance or the 20" Trinitron CRT TV that my wife's PlayStation is hooked up to making it seem like the ghosts are moving faster and using smarter tactics when they're really not.

 

So, what I'm wondering is if anyone else has noticed any difference in difficulty level between the iCade 60-in-1 board version of Ms. Pac-Man and the official Ms. Pac-Man PCBs or any of the officially licensed home console ports? It might be all in my head, but I swear the iCade version feels way harder than this game is supposed to be. :ponder:

Edited by Jin
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Me neither, but maybe Jin has the game set to 'hard' or defaults that way unless you change it? Almost all the games have virtual dipswitch settings and difficulty is one of them on Ms. Pac.

 

I don't recall a difficulty level on Ms. Pac. The only thing I changed was I made the first instance of Ms. Pac turbo speed and the second instance normal speed.

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I don't recall a difficulty level on Ms. Pac. The only thing I changed was I made the first instance of Ms. Pac turbo speed and the second instance normal speed.

The 60 in 1's have a separate Turbo version of 4 of the Pac-Man games in the menu, so kind of strange the speed up option is also in the dipswitch settings. Here's a link to the manual that shows difficulty settings...

 

http://sitngoholdempoker.typepad.com/.a/6a00e00992ac098833014e89944254970d-pi

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Me neither, but maybe Jin has the game set to 'hard' or defaults that way unless you change it? Almost all the games have virtual dipswitch settings and difficulty is one of them on Ms. Pac.

Changing the dip switch settings on the 60-in-1 board is as simple as powering it on while holding down the Test button, then using the Test and Service buttons to cycle through the menus until you find the game you want to change. From there you use the joystick and first fire button to change settings and the Player 1 Start button to save any changes you've made.

 

I've triple checked the dip switch settings for Ms. Pac-Man and it's definitely set to Easy, so who knows. Maybe I am just imagining it or maybe the Namco Museum ports that I'm used to are actually a little easier than the original arcade version.

Edited by Jin
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The original Ms. Pac-Man definitely had difficulty settings. It has to do with how long the ghosts/monsters/whatever stay blue, primarily. There's a bit of an explanation inside one of my blog entries:

https://pacmaniax.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/so-how-long-are-the-ghosts-blue-anyway/

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The original Ms. Pac-Man definitely had difficulty settings. It has to do with how long the ghosts/monsters/whatever stay blue, primarily. There's a bit of an explanation inside one of my blog entries:

https://pacmaniax.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/so-how-long-are-the-ghosts-blue-anyway/

Thank you very much for that link to your blog post Dauber! That was exactly what I needed to confirm that the difficulty settings on my 60-in-1 PCB were working correctly and that any difference I was perceiving in the ghosts' movement speed and tactics was just due to going from playing Ms. Pac-Man on the small screen of the Game Boy Advance SP to a full 17" vertical monitor. It turns out that playing on the larger screen was making it appear that the ghosts were moving faster even though they really weren't. And playing on a smaller screen just let me take the whole maze in and track/anticipate the ghosts' movements more easily. :lol:

 

I still can't score half as well on my arcade cabinet as I can on the Game Boy Advance, even though the game plays exactly the same on both, but at least now I know why. :)

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  • 3 years later...

I'm resurrecting this topic because I can, and because I'm hitting something with the iCade I can't quite figure out. I don't know if it is that or maybe Namco did something to their 20th/25th anniversary MsPac/Galaga combo machine (or if I hit a golden moment 2 weeks ago.)

 

Long story short I was at this fun center, they had the machine, and I got up to wave 21 and never went for any big bug bonus (color ribbon or something was fubar as one color was out so it shifted the others into pinks, blacks, etc.) Anyway I got 185K in that game, a best in the last 20 years I'd think. I have the iCade I got last January in a cocktail I had to put a 19" LCD into (Dell PC screen, so it's not input lag like a TV panel gets.) I'm getting my ass handed to me, and whoever this jerk LEE is with his 77000 #1 high score I can't top, best so far is 70 and 75K. I just don't feel I'm responding as well, or maybe the thing isn't shooting as it should, or maybe it is, and emulators including the one in that modern 2in1 cab are easier. I don't think a fun center with a card swipe would put that cabinet on easy mode, but I'm confused.

 

I'm trying to research it through google now and if I can find something before I get a response that's fine, I'll add it, but if someone has a clue I'd love to know. It just feels to me that any game I play on there I feel like I do worse on than if I went and dug up MAME or some other emulated (Namco Museum, etc) copy of whatever the game may be.

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