By: Jared Black
Way back in 1989, Nintendo released a curious
little handheld gaming system known as the Gameboy. At it's time it was the
most advanced handheld in the world, sporting a relatively powerful processor
and a clear black and white display. This little marvel launched with a version
of Tetris, which proved to be the perfect game for a portable system. Fueled
by the success of Tetris, the original Gameboy sold in droves. In fact, it
can be argued that without Tetris Nintendo's little marvel would've never
taken off the way it did. Nine years later, Nintendo finally released the
sequel to the best-selling gaming platform of all-time, and with the launch
of the Game Boy Color Nintendo made sure to accompany it with some great
software, including Tetris DX. Can Tetris do for the Game Boy Color what
the original Tetris did for the original Gameboy?
The way Tetris plays is very simple, yet it is still among the most challenging
games ever devised. Simply put, different shaped blocks fall from the top
of the game board, and its the gamers responsibility to fit all of these
pieces together. When the gamer fits together a full line across the playing
board, that line disappears and the lines above it fall down in its place.
And that's basically it. The gamer simply tries to keep his board from filling
to the top by destroying line after line. However, this is complicated by
the fact that the puzzle pieces fall faster and faster as you clear more
lines. As the board fills up, it just makes the pieces seem to fall even
faster. Combine this with the sometimes maddening music, and you have a game
that can definitely invoke a sense of panic.
This game features a variety of gameplay
options. If you have a link cable, two players can battle it out with separate
Color Game Boys. The game saves information for up to four people, and everytime
you play it keeps track of how many lines you've cleared in every game to
date. Within the one player game there are four different modes: Marathon,
Ultra, 40Lines, and Vs. Com. Marathon is simply just your standard Tetris:
you vs. the blocks. Ultra mode is simply Marathon mode with a time limit.
In 40 Lines mode you're timed, and you must try to clear 40 lines as quickly
as possible. Vs. Com mode is where you play the computer. As you clear lines
those lines are thrown onto the computer's board, and vice versa. Whoever
has their board filled up first loses.
Graphics have never been a big part of Tetris games (which is why the original
was so suited to the Game Boy), and that's the case here as well. Everything
is sharp and clear, and the colors are very vibrant. The colors also change
as you advance through the game, and they have an oddly pleasing effect on
the gamer. Tetris will never be known for having good graphics, but the graphics
here are done about as well as they can ever get in a game like this.
Perhaps the only weak part about this game
is the sound. Limited somewhat by the Game Boy Color itself, the sound is
bland and two of the three songs become annoying very fast (I liked Music
B, but A + C were just annoying to me). There is also little offered in sound
effects, with only blips and blops whenever you clear lines and drop pieces.
Certainly, there is nothing here to detract from the game, but there's nothing
to praise either.
Overall, Tetris DX is a great addition to the Tetris franchise. It stays
true to the classic Tetris gameplay, yet it adds enough variety to the game
to make it fresh and unique. This game comes highly recommended for anyone
who is a Tetris addict, needs a good Color Game Boy game, or who simply enjoys
a good puzzle game.