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Advanced Players Guide by virgilkx

Updated: 11/13/00

Tetris Attack Advanced Guide
By VirgilKX (E-mail: DukeVirgil@aol.com)
11/13/00

I made this guide because I have been playing for years, and I feel that this 
particular game never gets old.  I'm as much addicted to it, as I was when I 
first rented it.  Finally, I've come to grips with my obsession, and have made 
an advanced guide.  Before you read on, know that this is not a beginner's 
guide.  This is in no way a reference guide on how to play the game for the 
first time; it's more of a guide for those that have passed the beginner's 
level, but have trouble winning many rounds.  

Remember that Tetris Attack is a very, very easy game to pick up on.  Within 
the first half-hour to an hour of game play, you can easily start up a match 
with the knowledge of what to do.  Here's the list of skills and modes that 
will be covered (take note that when I talk about attacking and garbage 
blocks, I'm talking about Vs. Mode.  As such, most of the stuff listed here IS 
about Vs. Mode.):

1.) Speed.  Beginners will probably search the panels, and very slowly put the 
pieces together.  However, this guide can't teach you to improve your speed 
very well – It's the experience that really teaches you to increase your 
speed.

2.) Skill.  Sure, you can put 3 pieces together fairly easily, but it's those 
chains and combos that will net you the big score.  Combos are relatively easy 
to make – Combos are the killers.  Speed goes in play with combos more than 
chains.

3.) Psychological mind-frame.  There are several sub-categories that fall into 
this.  Basically, this is a list of what you should and shouldn't do in the 
game.  I'll list several tips that'll prevent you from doing the ones listed 
in the 'shouldn't' category. 

4.) Stage Clear.  This is where you clear blocks, in an attempt to clear all 
of the blocks below the placed line.  I'll go over some general tips on what 
you should do to succeed, as well as a few other things.

5.) Other things you should or might want to know about Vs. Mode.

6.) Records and challenges.  Me showing off my skills and what you may 
consider doing if you get bored with the regular flow of the game.

7.) Conclusion.

On to the long and extensive guide!

Section 1. Speed
============================================================================

To increase your speed, is also basically to increase your skill.  The way to 
increase your speed is to play more and more games of increasing speed.  You 
could do a Vs. Mode game to test this, but it's probably better to try a Time 
Trial or Endless mode.  Of course, I'd rather recommend Endless mode, because 
Time Trial focuses more on score.  So, go to Endless mode, and choose a low 
speed.  That way, you can get a feel for the game you're in, and you should be 
able to weave into increasing speeds easily enough.  

There will come a point though, where you will notice the speed increasing to 
a point where it may be just a tad difficult to keep that stack down.  Keep 
calm, and do what you can to keep up the pace.  Should you lose, remember the 
speed at which you lost.  Start at a speed lower than the one you lost at the 
next time you do an Endless, and repeat the process.  This won't automatically 
make you a speed demon, but you should find that you might be a little faster 
while playing.  

Section 2. Skill

Time to work on your skill.  There's one sure way of that, and that's to play 
Vs. Mode.  However, there are a few things you have to improve overall in 
order to get better.  First off, as you play, think ahead.  As you put the 
pieces together, think of your next move.  Your mind should always be racing 
with what to do next.  Now, don't panic about that.  I don't mean you should 
rush through the game, because that'll only make you worse.  Just, think 
carefully as you move along.  Don't wait for the moves you just did to end, 
and then think about what to do next.  If you're constantly thinking, you can 
capitalize on the pieces, and create those monster chains.  

If you can get the above concept into your head, that'll be a big part of 
increasing your skill early on.  Next, you should be focusing on the actual 
pieces you put together.  You really should go for chains all around, but if 
not that, always, ALWAYS go for combos.  Simple 4, 5 or 6 combos can make a 
difference, especially if you follow them up with a chain.  The only time you 
should make a simple 3 piece combo, (which remember, nets you no garbage 
blocks on the other opponent, and earns you less points in Time Trial than a 
4+ combo) is when you need to get rid of a garbage stack quickly, or garbage 
bars stockpiled upon you.  At the very LEAST, a 4-piece combo gets you a 
garbage bar with the width of 3 blocks.  

Following the note about garbage blocks, you should know a few things about 
them.  Get rid of them before they stockpile.  Okay, that puny garbage block 
alone won't do too much damage.  But as your opponent lays more and more down 
upon you, you'll find room to be scarce, and the dreaded You Lose approaches 
you more easily.  So really, you should get rid of a garbage block when you 
see it.  Letting it go will mean that you'll probably let another go, so that 
when your opponent lays a huge garbage block down on you, you'll be taken by 
surprise, and then be forced to devote your attention to getting rid of that 
garbage block.

This holds especially true for the gray garbage blocks.  As soon as you see 
one drop down on your stack, get rid of it immediately.  If you don't, you 
could fall prey to a rather large garbage block, and you'll be powerless to 
wipe it out unless you get rid of the gray garbage block first.

Start off strong.  That is, raise the stack high in the beginning of the 
match, and then make your attacks at the very bottom, preferably going 
horizontally, in the case of chains and combos.  Make your next move 
accordingly, and so on.  This is how you can make your big chains, and thus, 
the big garbage blocks, which are the keys to ending the game 30 seconds and 
under.  However, I only recommend this after you've gained more skill and 
speed.  If you're not fast or good enough to pull this off effectively, you 
could find yourself losing to a wimpy garbage block attack, or have the speed 
of the stack sell you out.  Of course, even if you are good at the game, you 
could still lose big by pulling this off... Vary your strategy accordingly.

Capitalize, capitalize, and capitalize.  After making an attack, follow it up!  
Your opponent will most likely be busy trying to get rid of the garbage block, 
and while he's doing that, you're getting another attack out.

Finish quickly.  The longer you dwindle around in a Vs. Mode game, you'll find 
the speed pick up more and more.  Then again, if you can handle the speed, you 
could try playing a waiting game.  That is, keep your stack low, and make a 
few choice attacks.  I don't recommend this, because it takes the heat off the 
opponent, who could then just make a grand attack.

Practice on Endless mode.  Use the in game tutorials to help you through 
getting chains easier.  Remember, as long as you can think one step ahead, 
you'll be on top of the game.

Section 3. Psychological tricks

Instead of tips on improving your game, this helps get your mind set so that 
you can win easier.

-DON'T look at the other player's screen.  Believe it or not, this hurts you 
more than it helps.  (Obviously, in sure-fire win games, like in easy mode, it 
doesn't matter but you really shouldn't get into the habit of it anyway.) 
There are a few instances where you'd be tempted to do this.  Right after 
laying a big attack is a big one in which you'll want to nudge your head over 
to look at the other guy's screen.  By doing this, you can psyche yourself out 
with such self-questions as: "That sucks... he got rid of the whole garbage 
block..." and "Is this going to be the end of him?" Both of these leave 
yourself open for retaliation, and leave you unfocused.  After performing a 
big attack, NEVER let your guard down.  You'll find plenty of instances where 
the match is supposedly over, but it's not.  Keep up the flurry of attacks, 
and don't pay attention to your opponent.

-If you're playing a friend, try to figure out his/her weakness.  If you're 
good at maintaining speed, and he/she's not, convince him you'll kick up the 
speed to Level 10 if he/she will.  Do the opposite if you can beat him/her in 
a straight game, but can't handle the speed.

-Do not freeze when the speed gets too fast.  In Hard/Very Hard difficulty 
mode, there will be times where the speed will increase to levels where it may 
be hard for you to keep up the pace.  Remain calm though.  It's hard not to 
scramble when you see that stack rising so fast, but you have to keep calm or 
else you'll lose.  Go for ANY combo at this point.  3 or 4 preferably.  While 
the combo is taking place, immediately perform another combo, or if possible, 
create a chain off of the combo.  Just keep making combos until you can get 
off a good enough combo or chain, so that it puts the stack down.

-Try not to let the other opponent's attack grunts freak you out.  Yeah, 
hearing 5 of the Raven's "Caw" sounds may give you a bit of a shock, because 
you know that's when a big garbage block or two is heading your way.  Don't 
let it distract you, continue with your attacks and such, but be ready to 
neutralize the garbage block when it comes.

-If you find yourself getting distracted anyway by the noises, turn the volume 
all the way down, and put on some music.  Sometimes, that can help to keep 
your attention focused completely on the game.

Section 4. Stage Clear

Again, clear blocks until you can finish below the line.  Getting the 
following points imbedded into your mind will help your chances of succeeding 
though:

Go for the goal.  All you have to do is get that stack down!  You get no 
special points for getting chains/combos, although getting big chains will 
reduce that stack faster.  However, you don't have to be good at getting 
chains or combos, save for the last few stages and one special exception.

The exception is this.  After you've beaten 3 full stages, not the rounds, but 
STAGES, you'll meet with Bowser.  This fight will be different than in Vs. 
Mode.  First off, you start off at a speed of 45.  And you'll not really fight 
Bowser in Vs. Mode format.  Instead, you'll have to bring his HP bar (on the 
left) to 0.  The only way you do this is by making combos and chains.  Chains 
cause a lot more damage – Go for them.  

This fight serves as a training tool.  If you lose, you simply move on.  If 
you win, you'll stand an excellent chance at winning this game, but you won't 
get anything extra special.  I'll give you tips on how to beat Bowser a bit 
later on...

First though, you'll have to get past the next three stages.  Getting past the 
first 3 is easy enough.  The 4th is rather easy too, but the latter part of 5 
and most of 6 can be challenging.  If you've noticed, the last few rounds of 
each stage start you off with a high stack.  5 and 6 do the same, except 
you've got the speed to contend with.  

Obviously, you'll have to be quick, and pump out those chains and combos 
really fast.  It's very hard to pull off though, as you may imagine.  You're 
prone to panic with the speed, and even if you don't, the stack will most 
likely murder you if you're not fast enough.

So, with all the negative feedback I gave you, what are you supposed to do?  
Be quick.  Keep trying, and when you lose, try some more.  Write down the 
password of the round you're at, and keep coming back to it.  Go right for 
those combos and chains.  It's not so bad if you can pull off one 4-piece 
combo, and then work from there.  

After all 6 have been destroyed, you're at the real fight with Bowser.  If you 
beat him the first time; then all you have to do is beat him a 2nd time – He's 
exactly the same as the first time. 

Realizing that you have to make combos and chains to beat him, go right for 
'em.  Again, chains cause more damage.  BUT... there should be a different way 
for you to approach this.  Think of this as Endless mode.  You have no one 
attacking you, and you have all the time in the world to complete your task.  
Just go for reducing that stack.  The higher it is, the more likely you're 
going to choke.  Thinking that this is just another ordinary round might help 
prep you better.  As always, not looking at the HP bar would definitely help.  
Don't bother to see how much damage your combo or chain caused just continue 
as normal.  

Remember, if you can't beat him, keep trying or just save the password and 
come back another day.  Using the tips in this guide, I'm sure you can beat 
him within a few tries, or maybe more.

Section 5. Other Vs. Mode tidbits

You won't get the skill and speed tips here mainly; this is for your own 
curiosity.  Also, I'll go over some Bowser tips.

First off, the Extra Hard mode.  You probably found out about this mode if you 
beat the Hard mode.  If not, realize that you can get the Extra Hard mode by 
holding L and up on the directional pad, then press start or A while the 
cursor is over Hard on the selection screen.

This difficulty is unlike anything you've faced so far.  Not only is the 
difficulty of your opponents strengthened, the speed gets progressively faster 
in matches, too.  If you can beat Hard mode without losing a match straight 
through, then you're probably ready to tackle Extra Hard.

You'll notice that very early on even, such opponents as Lakitu and Bumpty 
have some skill.  As I said before, the speed can get dangerously high, too.  
Playing a long game is suicide.  Take each and every opponent you face 
seriously – Slacking will most definitely cost you.  Take the fight to the 
finish in the beginning, and go for those huge skill chains.  If anything, 
keep the heat on your enemy.  You'll have a better chance at surviving, seeing 
as how he/she/it won't be able to perform big attacks if it's concentrating on 
removing a huge garbage block.  

Most of the lower level opponents fight at the same difficulty.  I'd estimate 
that at around Lunge Fish or Gargantua, the difficulty kicks it up a notch.  
You'll notice a big difference when you've reached Raphel.  And once you've 
reached the last 4 Big bosses, you'll DEFINITELY notice a step up in 
challenge.  Koopa is the toughest you've faced, and not just because he's 
higher than the rest, it's because his skill is much more competitive than the 
rest.  Naval is a few notches higher than Koopa, and Kamek is much tougher.  
He'll go right for the high skill chains, so that means without a big attack 
to counter it, you're in for a much tougher fight.

And then there's Bowser.  On Hard mode, he's fairly challenging, but on Extra 
mode, he's the hardest boss in the entire game, obviously.  He's extremely 
fast, and his high skill level means you should expect the worst.  By the 
worst, I mean as high as 12 consecutive chains.  The only way to beat him is 
to attack hard and fast.  You'll want to defeat him in under a minute, and if 
it lasts past 2 minutes, you can be ensured a very fast and very painful 
'death'.  As always, go for the goal!  Pay no attention to what he does in the 
beginning, go right for the same amount of skill chains.  However, after 
you're done, and he's launched a big attack, be ready to get rid of the 
garbage block quickly.  Use blocks that drop down from it for consecutive 
chains.  

In fact, you can totally humiliate him by creating a semi-big attack in the 
beginning of the match, since he raises his stack to the near top.  It's 
tricky, but you could defeat Bowser in less than 30 seconds!

What about rewards?  You care about seeing a good ending... right?  Well, two 
factors go into the quality of the ending you receive.  Any friends lost 
during the game (if you lost to one of the big 4, they'll be gone for good... 
You can also lose them during the first 8 too.  Course that means you'll have 
to be playing as them right?  Well, read on further.), and if Yoshi himself 
lost at all during the game.  The friends you have left when Bowser is beaten 
speak during Yoshi and Little Yoshi's conversation.  They have no interaction 
with Yoshi and Little Yoshi directly; they just add comments in.  However, 
losing as Yoshi during the game means you'll see a lesser ending.  Sure, the 
credits and all are displayed, but the conversation that follows after 
Bowser's defeat leaves you with an empty feeling.  In order to receive the 
best ending possible, just don't lose at ALL during the game.  

Oh, and you were probably wondering what I meant by playing as one of the 8 
friends during the first 8 fights?  It's quite simple, actually.  After a 
match ends with any of the first 7 (You can choose to play as any of the 8 
after Raphel, so...), hold down X and Y, then press Start, continuing to hold 
down X and Y.  The screen will pop back up, and you'll be able to select 
anyone you have freed thus far.  Take note that unless you do this trick 
again, you'll be playing as that character for the rest of the first 8 fights.  
And, if you lose as that character, you'll lose that character for good, and 
you'll revert back to Yoshi.

You CAN play as any one of the big 4 during a 2 player Vs. Mode game!  Simply 
hold down L and R on both controllers at the character selection screen, try 
to press them both at the same time.

Section 6. Records and Challenges

I've had a few challenges that I'm quite proud of, but I've also got a few 
obstacles to overcome as well.  My most recent challenge beaten, was the Extra 
Hard one.  I finally beat the mode by going through the game, without losing 
once and without using the Continue or Password feature.

Oh yeah, my highest time on Endless was about an hour and 15 minutes... the 
speed was at the highest I believe, and the only reason it stopped there, was 
because I was getting bored, and my score was pretty friggin' high.  Yeah, I 
got the best ending for Endless.  I was pretty proud.

I was also feeling confident when I blazed through Stage Clear, not losing or 
continuing once, and even winning the special in between stages match with 
Bowser.

Time Trial?  Haha, no, I don't think we need to talk about that. : P

My best time for any match on Vs. Mode, was 20 seconds.  It could be a little 
less, but not much.  I know it's not anymore than 20 seconds.  Maybe in the 
next version, I'll put up times of every single character on Extra Hard mode.  
I think it would be pretty fun to do.

Yeah, I'd also like to give credit to JTIceFire@aol.com and GryWolf316@aol.com 
for being my in real life guinea pigs in this game.  I've played them more 
times than I can count, and I've gotten most of my kicks out of beating them.  
Still, kick the speed for me up to 10, and lower it for the other guy to 1, 
and I'll most likely choke.  Shh.

I suppose that's it for records, for now.  As for you, try the outrageous 
stuff.  Do all of the modes without any continuing or password usage.  Go for 
the best scores and times.  Better yet, you could send in your best scores and 
times.  If I believe you (Haha) and if they're high enough, I'll post them up 
here.  Anything goes.

Section 7. Conclusion 
============================================================================

It was my friend's idea to give credit for him and my other friend for me 
bragging about beating them.  Other than that, this FAQ is all me.  You don't 
have to ask me to use it – To be quite honest, I'm tired of all the questions.  
Just e-mail me, and tell me where you used it for, so I could take a look, 
mainly for my own curiosity.

If you use this FAQ for any monetary purpose, I'll find out, and when I do, 
you're in trouble.  Seriously, just don't do it.  GameFAQs protects all 
writings on its server.  Again, just tell me where you put it.  Thank you for 
reading this, and I hope it helped you achieved your level of obsession, just 
like me.  

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