Review by KeyBlade999
~ Review in Short ~
Gameplay: The original Tetris, and some modes with excellent twists, and excellent multiplayer. Very, very addictive.
Story: There is not any storyline.
Graphics: Simple, and that's all you can get out of this on the GameBoy. Still has that one-color multi-shade thing, though.
Sound and Music: Not needed, but background music always is nice. And it's somewhat varied.
Play Time: You'll be playing this hours on end! Training is endless, Contest takes a long time, as does Fighting mode, and the multiplayer is fun!
Replayability: Very, very high. Tetris is impossible to be the same twice.
Recommendation: You need to get it!
~ Review in Long ~
Tetris is a classic game, redeveloped in astonishing ways with each new entry into the series. Beginning with the classic version on the NES, if my memory is correct, and still making entries onto the Nintendo 3DS, Tetris is a classic and addictive game.
And this? All the more!
I can't say too much on the actual history of the game. I know it started in the 1980s on the NES, and possibly the GameBoy. There have been more than a few entries into the series over the past twenty-plus years: Tetris, Tetris 2, Tetris Attack, Tetris Blast, and Tetris Plus name just a few released by the time the nineties came around.
All of them were designed, or could have been, to play on multiple consoles. After all, you need is a control stick or D-Pad. The base design of the game has always remained the same -- make complete horizontal line -- but some have added in interesting twists. Tetris Blast, for example, required rows to have bombs in them to clear away only some blocks, and Tetris Plus introduces the option of protecting a character from a spiked roof!
In short, Tetris is an extremely malleable game that has withstood the test of time in a way only true games can. Any game can stand for five years, series or otherwise. Only a chosen few can stay around for twenty, thirty, or more years.
Back to the Basics:
If you've ever played any Tetris, you know the basic idea. You need to manipulate blocks to make full rows on the bottom of the screen or, really, anywhere. Preferably the bottom, though.
Of course, the challenge is that you're not moving just single square blocks. Rather, you're moving blocks of different shapes. To name most of them off: an L block, a reflected L block, a four-block line, a two-by-two square, a zig-zaggy one, a reflection of the previous, and a plus sign missing a block on one side.
Seeing the challenge yet? The rows themselves would normally disappear, but, in Tetris Blast, there's the problem of...
Tetris Blast's Rules:
However, Tetris Blast as a whole changes it up a bit.
It abides, for the most part, to the basic rules. Your goal is still to make lines and thereby destroy them. The slight change is in that each row completed must have a bomb in it. When the row is completed, the bomb will destroy itself and only some of the surrounding blocks. That is the challenge, for it takes true strategy to be able to destroy the whole row or even the whole field, as Contest dictates.
"So what?", says the average person. The problem lies in the fact that you may end up making a row with no bombs whatsoever. Well, then, you'll have to complete two or more lines, in most cases, above that "junk row" that won't go away other wise. Remember, one less row to play on greatly jeopardizes your chance of winning anything.
This mode still abides the Tetris Blast rules as we have outlined above.
In this mode, however, you'll begin with a design already placed on the field. Your goal is to, with one hundred blocks or less, completely clear the playing field. It is easier said than done, because some of the most appetizing ways to quickly finish often have a problem in the way.
Also, as you use those one hundred blocks, you'll begin to lose points. Hence, you want to clear the level in as conservative a way as possible. Should you succeed, you'll proceed to the next level where it repeats again with a different initial design.
There are dozens of levels in this mode, across which you're score will be kept track of. But how? After all, there is no save function. Well, though it is less convenient than what is in Tetris Plus, you'll have to keep track of passwords.
Training Mode is pretty simple, as it is simply that: a mode used for training and practice. You'll simply begin with a blank playfield and blocks will drop as usual at a speed you select. You can also select an automatic setting where the speed will simply go up every now and then. It makes nice practice to get adjusted to certain speeds and difficulties.
Perhaps the most unique application I've ever seen in Tetris, here, you'll have to actually defeat an enemy flying about in the level causing havoc to you. Enemies often can do that by creating random blocks, making "junk" horizontal lines. This will get annoying, for the game still abides by the rule of a game over when you fill up the screen with blocks.
To defeat the enemy, you'll have to hit with blocks or bomb explosions to decrease its health to zero. Simply said, it's easier said than done. There are more than a few enemies to contend with as well. However, you'll have to beat them in one sitting, for no passwords or a saving option are given.
This will require two Tetris Blast game cartridges, two GameBoy consoles, and one GameBoy Game Link Cable.
This mode plays much like Contest mode, for you have to empty your screen of blocks to win. Of course, you have to beat another person. So, in essence, the first person to clear the screen or have his opponent fill his own screen with blocks will be the winner. The first person to win a best of five (or effectively win three games) shall be declared the winner.
Of course, in theory, this could go on forever (take that literally or metaphorically). So there's another technique added in: "Rising". The idea is that, for every ten single blocks you get rid of simultaneously, you'll add a "junk" row of blocks to your opponent's playing field. This row can be eliminated, like other "junk" rows, but also can result in counterfire if your opponent tries to destroy the "junk" row, so it'll eventually escalade into some person winning.
Let's get right down to dirt. The graphics are exceedingly simplistic, though, with Tetris, that's how it practically has to be, for all it is is moving blocks, right?
Well, it is also the GameBoy, plagued with the inability to provide complex graphics due to lack of memory or something. Therefore, we often get stuck with games that have one color going through various shades -- Pokemon Red/Blue/Green is the most prime example ever for that. This game also has that problem with varying shades of red.
But, anyways, simplistic games need simplistic graphics at minimum. There's nothing wrong with the graphics here.
SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC: 8/10.
There is not a whole lot of variety sitting in the background music tracks. You'll pretty much choose one of three tracks to play from, as well as a silent track for those who prefer listening to the radio or something. Not exactly the best repertoire I've heard in Tetris, but not the worst music I've ever heard, either.
Sound effects are very minimal. Perhaps the only ones you'll hear are the creaking of a turning block, the thump when one is placed down, and explosions. Of course, you can't get much else out of this game, so, for what it is worth, it's okay.
PLAY TIME: 10/10.
If you like the game, I can safely say you'll clock in dozens and even hundreds of hours on it. Contest Mode in itself can be rather confusing and you'll be playing for a while across dozens of stages to figure out how to finish. Training is always nice for practice or just to see how long you can last at a certain speed.
Fight mode is perhaps the most engrossing of the four modes because you are fighting against something that doesn't like to go down all that easily. And multiplayer, if you can play, will always be nice to play.
This stat has to apply across all of the modes. Training in itself would provide the biggest boost to this, being completely random and endless; it is never the same twice in a row. Of course, the sad part is there's no scoring, but doesn't mean it isn't nice to play.
Contest Mode? Well, you are playing the same levels over and over again. However, as the blocks you lay are randomized, and your skills and playing style can change over time, so I'm sure you can see where that's going.
Fighting also provides a boost much like Contest does, even moreso, perhaps. After all, you are playing the same thing over again. But the enemy never decides to act the same twice, and the very first blocks you get and how you place them will easily determine whether you will win or not.
And Versus Mode is the most controversial one for this section. For, unless you can find two game cartridges, consoles, and a Link Cable yourself, you'll be fairly out of luck. Amazon.com can provide some of each for fairly cheap, so, if you're getting one game, why not get a second for a friend? Then Versus gets use, and, trust me, it is awesome.
THE END. Overall score: 9.5/10.
And so, there you have it. My opinion on Tetris Blast, one of the most interesting twists I've seen put on a simple game. With its simplistic, yet addictive, gameplay, as well as its new twists and the new Fight mode, I would truly recommend that anyone get this game. And perhaps maybe even a second one, so as to be able to compete with a friend!
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Tetris Blast (US, 01/31/96)
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