Tetris on PC, how ironic it seems that the man in charge of Gameboy reviews would get asked to review the very game that keeps Mario himself shaking in his boots.
Ahhh, tetris, good old tetris, you can't go wrong with tetris. Infact can you actually do anything with it at all? Well normally I would say no. So why the hell have Hasbro decided to release yet another tetris style game? Well actually this one is damn funky, with just enough individuality in it to make it worth a second look. Why?! I hear you all cry. Well, when can you remember a tetris game actually using your 3D Graphics card?....
Just incase you have spent the last 10 or more years under a rock, on the moon, with your fingers in your ears, whilst not ever in that time playing tetris, here are the basics of the game. First you have different shaped blocks. One at a time these blocks drop down from the top of the screen. With these blocks you have to make full horizontal rows and when you have done this the lines disappear the more lines you make the more points you make. If you don't make full horizontal lines, i.e. there are gaps in the lines, they will eventually fill up the screen and you will lose. Infact this is just about the whole game, in all of its glory. Starting to feel like you wish had never read this review? Well one thing in Tetris's favour, it's more addictive then Lemmings and Caffeine put together.
Of course The Next Tetris is still essentially tetris, don't go expecting anything too revolutionary here. But by being tetris it is still the good old game we have all come to know and love.
Upon loading the game you get the usual start ups, I'm not much for the start-ups so I usually press escape and get into the game. But just incase you do, there is a load of different shaped blocks all rushing through a canyon, this would have been made a bit better if you saw Indy Jones crapping his pants and making a run for it just before, but you can't have everything!
The main menu yields five different game play options: one player, two player, marathon, practice mode, and classic tetris.
As Classic mode is the original tetris, and I have decided to talk about this mode first. This is a one player mode. The game starts with an empty board, blocks continuously appear at the top of the screen, slow at first but as the game progresses they appear at an increasing rate. The aim is simple, complete as many full rows as you can to gain points, and as you would expect as each row is completed it disappears and the rows above it drop down to fill the gap. The game ends when the board is full and the blocks don't have room to appear on the board. You may think well how can one player be any different then? Well I guess you have just been on your Gameboy for too long.
One player, and the name suggests is a single player game. When you select this mode you are expected to create a player for yourself. This is needed to be done because when you progress through one player mode your rank increases, and also you can reload your player and keep you rank. The reasons for this will become clear when you want to player against another player, (see below). One player mode involves the player completing three boards to advance to the next level. This works differently to the classics tetris game as it isn't continuous play on the same board. In this mode each board has a certain number of blocks which make up a set amount of partially filled horizontal lines and are situated at the bottom of the board. The object of this game is to fill these lines with the falling blocks, as in all other tetrises when the line of blocks is full the line disappears, and when all of the original blocks have gone you win that part of the level, simple huh? Well each of these levels has a time limit which is for all three of the boards, for example if the time limit was five minutes you would have five minutes to do all three of the boards, so if you spent 3 minutes completing the first board, you would only have two minutes to do the next two. This makes the game a bit more of a challenge. As you can guess more and more blocks are included as the levels progress.
Two Player mode works on the same idea as the one player game except........well you need two players for a start, and sorry for all you hermits out there but that does involve getting a second person to play with you, yup, there is no ability for the computer to be the second player. So once you've found a second player your ready to go. Each player has his/her own board to play on, and works in the same way that one player works but in this mode the player who removes their blocks first wins, so it is not a race against time but a race against each other. In addition to this, to make the two player games a bit more interesting, the difficulty of a game for each player depends on your rank. The heigher your ranking the more blocks there are at the start, and threfore harder the game. For example, consider a player with a rank of three playing against a player with a rank of five. The player ranked three may start with two partially filled rows, whereas the other player may start with four partially rows.
Marathon mode works along the same lines as classic tetris, but instead of getting points for making full rows, the object of the game is just to play for as long as possible. The longest time is the highest score in a marathon game.
Practice mode has tonnes of possible game options , infact there are so many it would take me ages to go through them all. Basically they all consist of having to complete a level in a certian way and in a certian number of steps. It is a good way to experiment in with the different in game extras this version of tetris has to offer and a good way to (as the mode says) practice.
The music is pretty cool too, there a load of dance type tracks and of course the much needed Russian sounding one just to make you feel at home (that doesn't mean you have to be Russian btw).
Well I've talked a lot about the different modes of the game but not really anything about the graphics. Hasbro have tried to cram in as much 3D style graphics as they could into this game (Although Quake III has nothing to worry about just yet) whilst still keeping it essentially 2D. They seem to pull it off very well in and out of the game, I really liked the look of the blocks in the menu section, and they way they seemed to cling onto the menu barrel before being forced off by the other blocks being poured onto the wobbling and roataing menu.
There are lots of cool little bits that Hasbro have added to this game to make it just that little bit different than the original; the cool menu graphics, the different playing modes, the ability to reply the best tetris moves, the ranking system, and of course all the in game extras such as the ability to spin blocks into places, which they would not normally be able to get into. Overall this is a nice remake of a classic, with enough little visual extras to get you into it, and tetris its self will do the rest.