Released in the summer of 1999, Pac-Man for the Neogeo Pocket Color recreates the arcade experience by offering players two modes of play: full screen, and scroll. Since the screen aspect ratio is rather different from the original arcade game, the full screen mode crunches the play field to fit the smaller screen of the NGPC whereas the Scroll mode is a much more restricted viewing angle but more truer to the arcade. Both modes have a compromise and players cannot even save their high scores.
Bundled with the game and tucked in a little plastic baggie just below the cartridge, buyers of the complete version can take advantage of the Four-Way CrossRing. This little doohickey is totally unnecessary and really cool. It proves Namco tried to go the extra mile to provide something a little special to this forgotten handheld version.
The CrossRing is a tiny red ring that tucks into the analog housing. It essentially makes the wonderfully clicky analog stick almost into a d-pad as it locks movement to the four main directions: up, down, left, and right. This is perfect for Pac-Man as movement only occurs in these four directions.
There is nothing wrong with the default analog stick control when it comes to Pac-Man. Actually, it is totally 100% playable without this silicone plastic ring and there are no complaints. However, if you have access to it, I would say, YES, play it with this ring attachment if given the option. It just feels a little more solid and creates more confident movements.
In my video embedded in this article, I demonstrate how this circle attaches to the console and how it is used. I also display the included instructions for the CrossRing, both in the official instruction manual and in the extra included paper insert.