When Atari offered Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 in 1981, fans were at best accepting and at worst sorely disappointed. Fortunately, Atari's next attempt, for Atari home computers and the Atari 5200 (both editions use the same code) proved the company actually was capable of doing a decent Pac-Man. While the stretched out maze may take some getting used to, there is little to complain about in this release. Unlike the 2600's heavily stripped edition, this one retains the music, bonus items and personality of the arcade games. Atari was forgiven, at least for another couple of years.
While the intermissions were not included in the original computer cartridge release, they do appear in the 5200 edition, and were also added in for the later computer disk release. Also, the cartridge editions have a subtle, amusing change: The Galaxian bonus item has been replaced with the Atari Fuji!
Since Atari's 8-bit version of Pac-Man is a pretty good port of the arcade game and did not attract nearly as much scorn as the original Atari 2600 release, it also hasn't inspired as many programmers to say, "I can do better." But one programmer did, at least. Based on Atari's 8-bit version of Ms. Pac-Man, TEP392 started with that game's more detailed ghosts and more accurately shaped playfield, then created the original maze and bonus fruits, and also polished the sound effects to make them as close as Atari's hardware could allow. The result is quite good, and even if it isn't a dramatic improvement, it's still an improvement, recommended for any and all fans of Pac-Man and Atari.
Atari's Pac-Man: B+.
TEP392's Pac-Man: A.