LGR – CD-Man – DOS PC Game Review

September 27, 2019

[LGR Theme plays] [fizz, sip] Aahhh… [typing] I could watch that screen all day, it looks so good. Yes, this is CD-Man one of the all-time PC gaming classics. To me, at least. This is one of those games that found itself all over the bulletin board services back in the day, since it was free to distribute and was only about 150K. It seems like everyone I knew had
this game in some form or another. It’s created in 1989 by Creative Dimensions, which consisted of two Swedish
guys and some ambition. And probably some computers. As you can tell from the spinning, spherical heads, this is a Pac-Man-inspired arcade game. You can see from the menu there
aren’t many options to choose from. Just one player with different speeds and a turn-based two-player game. It is exactly what you would expect and nothing more. The arrow keys move your
Pac-Man man around the maze, gobbling up dots and avoiding
the creatures chasing you, which are different in each level. And, of course, you have the obligatory power
pellets in the corners to eat your enemies, doorways which allow you to move
from one side of the maze to the other, and fruit which appears for extra points. It’s Pac-Man, plain and simple, and the only real additions are the keys, which unlock gates and new areas of the maze, and the lovely graphics and animation. Honestly, I still can’t believe this uses EGA graphics. It uses the higher-res 640×350
16-color graphics mode of EGA and looks spectacular, especially on an actual CRT monitor. The controls are spot-on and are exactly how you would expect them to be with the ability to anticipate corners with the arrow keys before it’s time to make the turn. There’s no sound except for some bleeps
from the PC speaker here and there, but it’s more than made up for with
the cool animations and all the detail. The death animation is particularly great on each level with the spiders apparently stabbing you with a dagger. And the sharks, of course, eating you alive, leaving a nice pool of blood. And that smirk from Creative
Dimensions Man himself is always fun. What a snarky little dude. The only downside, from this version at least, is that there are only two and a half levels. I say “and a half” because the third level is incomplete, and only loops you around back
to the first once you complete it. This was the version I played as a kid, and I actually never realized that
it was the pre-release version from 1989. Kind of a public beta, I suppose, complete with god mode available for testing purposes by pressing F1. The final three levels were to come
out in a later revision of the game, with some people referring to it as version 1.5 but I can’t find this version. Now I’ve seen some versions called 1.5 and it looks the same as the pre-release one. I can’t find this fabled 1.5 with all the levels. All I could find is version 2.0 from 1992. This was the paid-for, full-release game that I only finally discovered in high school. I assume it was only available from the authors. It comes with an entirely different main character, the Snoofer, or as I like to call him, the “Namco, Please Don’t Sue Me!” I don’t know the whole story why they changed the guy from the lovable, yellow CD-Man character. but I assume it has something to do with infringement or something lame like that. The game is almost exactly the same otherwise, other than that you now have
some copy protection in place, the somewhat violent death
animations have been removed, as well as the blood from the shark level, the power pellets are now little fireballs, each level only has to be played twice
instead of three times to progress, and of course, there are now five total levels, including Deep Space, Cities of the World, and Dark Ages. I’m still quite partial to the first two levels, but that’s probably just nostalgia kicking in. There’s also a new dual two-player mode where you have two Snoofers on-screen at once. It’s a fun novelty to try out, but it’s nothing spectacular. You’re pretty much just both trying
to survive and gain the highest score. CD-Man is very much worth checking out if you’re looking for some simple and
great-looking Pac-Man fun for DOS on the PC. It’s a definite improvement on those
simple Pac-Man clones for DOS like PC-Man and Queen of Hearts. And even though the layouts on some
of the screens can be rather odd, the controls are just so spot-on that I really don’t have too much to complain about. And even though I don’t like the
Snoofer character from CD-Man 2.0, I’d still recommend it as the ultimate version to play. At least until I can find that fabled version 1.5.

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