Windows Wastelands: 3D Frog/Maze/Munch/Ms. Munch Man

Gather around, children, it’s story time. I’ve spent the last few articles mocking other people’s childhoods, it’s time I got around to mine. Back in that age of dinosaurs and volcanoes, when the world was young, I was a child. And not always the smartest child, to be totally honest. Much like any other child, I made some particularly… interesting choices when it comes to buying games.

Wait, you're telling me that this ten dollar game I bought at Target might not be very good?

Wait, you’re telling me that this ten dollar game I bought at Target might not be very good?

As a young child of the 90’s with an internet connection, I was big on the internet. Especially shareware, demos, you name it. And a lot of these demos came from a site for a company called Egames. Or maybe eGames. I don’t really know, nor do I care. It turns out, surprisingly, that eGaMeS is actually still around, unlike a lot of these sorts of companies of the 90’s. They’ve ended up in the hell that is casual gaming, with hidden object games as far as the eye can see, yes, but they’re still around.

At least, gaming can finally fulfill my greatest fantasy of being a manager of a Dairy Queen.

At last, gaming can finally fulfill my greatest fantasy of being a manager of a Dairy Queen.

But before EGames was a cheap, third-rate outfit plopping out games by the dozen, they… well, they were exactly the same. They just put up different games. Most of these, if not all, came from other developers and were published under their names. I don’t remember all of these actually having the logos of the original developers, so I can’t be sure if something shady was going on or not. Wouldn’t surprise me, though. Today however, we’re here to discuss one particular game. Or two. Or three. Maybe more, but it doesn’t matter in the long run. You’ll see.

Only one of these facts on this box is not a lie. Can you find it? (I guess it IS technically Family Friendly...)

Only one of these facts on this box is not a lie. Can you find it? (I guess it IS technically Family Friendly…)

You may recognize this game from the cover, you may not. Maybe you’ll recognize this.

Oh, come on, that's not even SUBTLE.

Oh, come on, that’s not even SUBTLE.

Or this. According to Wikipedia, apparently Hasbro, who had the copyright to Pac-Man at the time, politely asked eGAMES to please stop making a mockery out of their beloved classic. So we got this out of that:

Oh, come on, you couldn't even use 'toadally'? You AMATEURS.

Oh, come on, you couldn’t even use ‘toadally’? You AMATEURS.

So, what’s the difference with all of these games? Not much, really, if at all. This is Maze Man:

It may be party time, but this game is far, far from excellent.

It may be party time, but this game is far, far from excellent.

Pardon the window around the screen, by the way. Screencapping this game was a bitch. This is Frog Man:

"Namco will NEVER catch us NOW, guys!"

“Namco will NEVER catch us NOW, guys!”

I swear the only thing they did was paint Maze Man green and graft these weird, chunky looking leg things to him. I mean, clearly it’s an entirely different game now, right? I suppose it’s possible that every version has some exclusive levels, but I think that’d be giving them too much credit. So, back to Maze Man.

Trust me, "Fantasy Land" isn't anywhere as exciting as you'd hope.

Trust me, “Fantasy Land” isn’t anywhere as exciting as you’d hope.

So, it’s basically Pac-Man in 3D. Well, in that kinda sorta fake 3D that Doom uses. Everything’s basically sprites, and you’re force to moved along these little paths. Honestly, the whole 3D thing makes the game harder to see, than anything. The game’s tilted at just the right angle you can barely see anything at the back of the screen, which could include pellets, or the ghosts trying to kill you. It does allow for some new level gimmicks, though, like rising platforms. That’s about all the excitement you’re going to get from this game.

Other than that, if you’ve played Pac-Man, and I KNOW you’ve played Pac-Man, you know everything there is to know. Grab all the crap off the screen, don’t get killed by ghosts. Not ‘ghost monsters’, straight up ghosts. They rise from the grave to claim your yellow, unoriginal soul. Don’t you worry, though, because you can grab one of the power pellets, in which case it apparently becomes “party time”. And the game plays a sound like a guy biting a potato chip whenever you eat a ghost.

…Do… do these ghosts have bones? Are they living creatures? Is there something you’re not telling us, Maze Man? Look at him and his dead eyed stare. I think these ghosts have a reason for coming to claim him.

You can't see it over those ghost heads, but there's a gravestone behind them. Ah, Christmas cheer.

You can’t see it over those ghost heads, but there’s a gravestone behind them. Ah, Christmas cheer.

The ghosts here aren’t as smart as the ones in Pac-Man, so they generally go around doing their own thing. Not only that, but you can jump right over them, providing you’re not on one of those green blotches. Those are glue, apparently. How… Maze Man… actually jumps, isn’t really explained. So what happens if you’re stupid enough to actually get hit by a ghost? Something wacky, right?

As Maze Man dies, so does your innocence.

As Maze Man dies, so does your innocence.

He slams into the screen and screams at you. Lovely.

Here's Maze Man when he's not screaming in your facing with his dying screams of agony. Also, toys!

Here’s Maze Man when he’s not screaming in your face with his dying screams of agony. Also, toys!

The game pretty much stays the same with every level. Sure, the scenery changes, but that’s about it. Not even the fact they add in new stuff, like squares that instantly kill you if you so much as touch them, makes the game any more exciting. If you really, REALLY like Pac-Man, you could probably find this game or the demo for cheap, but… really, do you have to play this version out of the couple of thousand out there?

Well, there IS one reason you could go for this game: Some of the music’s nice in that Amiga .MOD sort of way.

Oh, one last fun fact for you. The developer of this game was a little company known as Webfoot. Want to know what they got up to, after moving on from Maze Man?

Good night.

Good night.

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4 thoughts on “Windows Wastelands: 3D Frog/Maze/Munch/Ms. Munch Man

  1. I know this may sound like I’m going a bit overboard here, but I myself grew up with and loved the 3D Maze/Munch-Man series. I was wondering where you obtained 3D Munch Man II, as it has entirely different levels from 3D Maze-Man.

    • Gah, sorry it took me so long to get to your comment! Anyway… I think the version I had growing up was 3D Frog Man, although I might have played a demo of one of the Munch Man games, too. I actually didn’t know that the “sequel” had different levels, I had the idea it was an entirely different game.

  2. You might be interested to know that that the guy who did the music for 3D Maze Man (Ariel Gross) went on to do some work on the Saints Row series (2 and 3) and particular. The guy does good work, if you ask me.

    • Seriously? I honestly didn’t know that. I guess Webfoot got enough respect doing the DBZ games that weren’t terrible that somebody must have noticed him. I can’t see any of the ‘style’ in SR in Maze’s Man’s music, though, but I guess that’s to be expected.

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