the third installment of the Pac-Man series of arcade games and the second starring Pac-Man himself. It is also the second game to be created by series originator Namco, as Ms. Pac-Man (the second in the series) was originally created without Namco's involvement. Sound and gameplay mechanics were altered radically from the first two entries into the Pac-Man series - instead of eating dots, the player is required to eat keys in order to open doors, which open up sections of the maze that contain what in earlier games were known as "fruits" (foods such
as apples and bananas, or other prizes such as Galaxian flagships), which are now the basic items that must be cleared. Once all the food is eaten, the player advances to the next level, in which the food is worth more points. In earlier levels, keys unlock nearby doors, while as the player progresses through the levels, it is more common for keys to open faraway doors.
In addition to the original power pellet which allows Pac-Man to eat the ghosts, a "Super" pellet was introduced which turns Pac-Man into Super Pac-Man—in this form, he is twice as large, moves much faster and has the ability to eat his way through barriers without unlocking them. In this state, he is invulnerable to the ghosts (which, for unknown reasons, become flat while moving horizontally and thin while moving vertically when Pac-Man is in this state), though he still cannot eat them without the help of the original power-up. This game also adds a speed button, which allows Pac-Man to move faster when in Super mode. Pac-man can enter the ghost house in this state, too, able to eat hiding ghosts.
Based on the Namco Galaga hardware, this is the first of the Pac-Man games to use the Motorola 6809 processor, unlike the earlier Pac-Man games which used the older Z80, and fell into the conversion class of the Namco Galaxian. The new gameplay mechanics were considered by many to be confusing, and too much of a change from the original two games. In particular, when Pac-Man transforms into Super Pac-Man, he was thought by some to be much more difficult to control. Whatever the reason, Super Pac-Man proved to be the least successful game in the original series, being outsold that year by Pac-Man Plus, a slightly updated version of the original game, which, like the aforementioned Ms. Pac-Man, was produced by the American licensee Midway without authorization from developer Namco. Midway also went on to create Jr. Pac-Man, also based on the older Z80 processor, and having the basic sound and feel of the older games with which fans were more familiar. In spite of this, the game's A.I. was celebrated as being one of the best of that era.