Dr. Mario Guide (GBA)
by KeeperBvK aka Burkhart von Klitzing
Contact: KeeperBvK@web.de

Dedication: I dedicate this work to my beloved dad who passed away on the  
            07/13/2005.
            I always loved you and I always will. Thank you so much for the  
            time we had.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                               0.1 Legal Stuff
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This Guide may not be posted on any other website other than 
www.gamefaqs.com
www.gamerhelp.com
www.honestgamers.com
www.supercheats.com
without my permission and it may not be used commercially in any possible way.
If you want to post it on another site please contact me via E-Mail or via 
the Message Board.
Do not claim this guide or any part of it to be your creation.
If you find any mistakes (even regarding the language as I'm German) please 
let me know.
Copyright 2007 Burkhart von Klitzing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                             0.2 Version History
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

1.0: Finished on 02/26/2006, 23 KB large
First version and it seems pretty complete to me. ^^

1.01: Finished on 03/16/2006, 23 KB large
Added Daniel Crook's highscore.

1.02: Finished on 03/23/2006, 23 KB large
Added some more highscores from Daniel Crook.

1.03: Finished on 05/13/2006, 23 KB large
Added www.gamerhelp.com.

1.04: Finished on 03/12/2007, 23 KB large
Added www.honestgamers.com.

1.05: Finished on 03/17/2007, 23 KB large
Added www.supercheats.com.

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                                0.3 Contents
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        | Latest Update | Search Key |
------------------------|---------------|------------|
0.1 Legal Stuff         |      1.05     |            |
0.2 Version History     |      1.05     |            |
0.3 Contents            |      1.05     |            |
------------------------|---------------|------------|
1. What is Dr. Mario?   |      1.0      |     AAA    |
2. Controls             |      1.0      |     BBB    |
3. Strategies           |      1.0      |     CCC    |
4. Scoring              |      1.0      |     DDD    |
5. FAQ                  |      1.0      |     EEE    |
6. Highscores           |      1.02     |     FFF    |
------------------------|---------------|------------|
7. Closing Comments     |      1.0      |     GGG    |
8. Experimental         |      1.0      |     HHH    |
------------------------|---------------|------------|

To quickly reach a certain section in this guide, press Ctrl + F and search 
for the specific Search Key.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            1. What is Dr. Mario?                         AAA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In a time when Mario basically was a Jump 'n Run hero with only a few cameo 
appearances in games such as Tennis, Punch-Out, Alleyway, etc. Nintendo both 
created an ingenious puzzle-game and the first real Mario spin-off game, with 
dozens more to come. Dr. Mario puts our beloved Italian plumber in the role 
of a doctor given the objective to eradicate sets of viruses within medical 
glasses. To do this, he lobs pills into the glass, trying to build rows of a 
single colour.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                 2. Controls                              BBB
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    _
  _| |_
 |_   _|  D-Pad: Move pills left or right, or make them fall faster.
   |_|
                
A: Turn a pill 90 degree clock-wise.

B: Turn a pill 90 degree counter-clock-wise.

Start: Pause the game.

Select: Select a Game Mode on the Title Screen

--------------------
Button Combinations:
--------------------

Press L and R at the same time to open up the GBA-exclusive menu.

Press Select, R and L to exit Sleep Mode.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                3. Strategies                             CCC
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
_______________________
General Gameplay Rules:|

You drop down one out of six different pills into the bottle. These pills 
consist of two segments, which can have one out of three colours (red, blue, 
yellow). Your goal is to defeat every single virus that's caught within the 
bottle. These viruses also have either one of the three colours and they can 
be eradicated by creating a line of four elements of the same colour.
___________
Horizontal:|

Since the first levels are infected scarcely, you will probably only try to 
stack pills in a way that they build a vertical tower on a virus, which is 
perfectly fine for the beginning. Later on, though, when you start with lots 
of viruses in the upper rows, you need to rethink. Putting new pills on top 
of viruses will extremely decrease your room for movement, so you should have 
a look for any possibilities to build horizontal lines to kill viruses.
___________
Which one?:|

Which viruses should be your first target?
Usually try to get rid of the top-most enemies first. The later in a match, 
the harder are these viruses to come by and destroying these first, allows 
for an attack against any viruses beneath them, which would otherwise be 
harder to reach.
If possible, concentrate on the viruses near the ends of the bottle with two-
colour pills and wait for uni-colour pills to swiftly wipe out an enemy 
directly in the centre. Otherwise you might end up stacking pills in the 
middle, worsen your mobility.
Another priority ought to be bunches of viruses of the same colour: E.g. when 
two blue viruses lie on top of each other, you only need to line up two blue 
pill segments with them to make them disappear, giving you some more room to 
steer new pills.
___________________
Two-coloured pills:|

Two-coloured pills like a red-blue one should usually be dropped onto two 
viruses, of the corresponding colours, that lie directly next to each other. 
 ______________
| Blue     Red |
| Pill    Pill |
|______________|
 ______  ______
* Blue **  Red *
*Virus **Virus *
*______**______*

If there's no such possibility, you can rely on gravity: When one segment of 
a pill disappears, the other one falls straight down until it hits the ground, 
some virus or another pill segment. So if there's already a column of three 
elements of one colour, this can be used to both clear a stack and put 
together two (or more) additional elements.
 ______
|  Red |
| Pill |
|      |
|      |
| Blue |
| Pill |
|______|
   ||
   ||
 __VV__
| Blue |
| Pill |
|      |
|      |
| Blue |
| Pill |
|______|
 ______           ______
* Blue *   -->   |  Red |
*Virus *         | Pill |
*______*         |______|
 ______           ______
*  Red *         *  Red *
*Virus *         *Virus *
*______*         *______*
___________________
Uni-coloured pills:|

These fellas usually are just what you want to get. They can most often be 
placed in a right spot and they quickly wipe out viruses. The only important 
thing to keep in mind about them is not to waste one of their segments. If 
there's already a row of three, let's say red elements, and you get a 
completely red pill, you should have a look if there's some single red virus 
anywhere else or if there's a need for a red pill segment directly next to 
the red row, instead of building a red five segment row.

 ______                  |
| Blue |                 |
| Pill |                 |
|      |   \         /   |
|      |    \       /    |  ______________
| Blue |     \     /     | | Blue    Blue |
| Pill |      \   /      | | Pill    Pill |
|______|       \ /       | |______________|
   ||           X        |        ||
   ||          / \       |        ||
 __VV__       /   \      |  ______VV
| Blue |     /     \     | | Blue |
| Pill |    /       \    | | Pill |
|      |   /         \   | |      |
|      |                 | |      |
| Blue |                 | | Blue |        -->
| Pill |                 | | Pill |
|______|                 | |______|
 ______                  |  ______                       ______
* Blue *                 | * Blue *                     | Blue |
*Virus *                 | *Virus *                     | Pill |
*______*                 | *______*                     |______|
 ______  ______          |  ______  ______       ______  ______
*  Red ** Blue *         | *  Red ** Blue *     *  Red ** Blue *
*Virus **Virus *         | *Virus **Virus *     *Virus **Virus *
*______**______*         | *______**______*     *______**______*

_____________
Build Combos:|

Stack pills in a way that one pill will eliminate a virus and will make the 
other segments fall right onto another virus, causing it to disappear as well.

 ______________
|Yellow   Blue |
| Pill    Pill |
|______________|
       ||
       ||
 ______VV______
|Yellow   Blue |
| Pill    Pill |
|______________|
 ______________
|Yellow   Blue |
| Pill    Pill |   ________
|______________|   ________  All objects disappear.
 ______
*Yellow*
*Virus *
*______*




         ______
        * Blue *
        *Virus *
        *______*

____________
Move 'em in:|

Sometimes you don't want to drop a pill on top of the upper objects in the 
glass, for example when you get a two-colour pill with no spot left that 
features both colours. This is when you should check if there's some good 
spot for the pill a few layers under the surface.
 ______
*Yellow*
*Virus *
*______*
 ______                  ______  ______
* Blue *                * Blue ** Blue *
*Virus *                *Virus **Virus *
*______*                *______**______*
         ______________
    <---| Blue     Red |
    <---| Pill    Pill |
    <---|______________|
 ______          ______
* Blue *        |Yellow|
*Virus *        | Pill |
*______*        |      |
         ______ |      |
        *  Red *|  Red |
        *Virus *| Pill |
        *______*|______|


You can also make use of this technique to wipe out more viruses at a time, 
than it would be possible without moving pills in from the side.

 ______                                 ______
*Yellow*                               *Yellow*
*Virus *                               *Virus *
*______*                               *______*
 ______          ______  ______                         ______  ______
* Blue *        * Blue ** Blue *                       * Blue ** Blue *
*Virus *        *Virus **Virus *                       *Virus **Virus *
*______*        *______**______*                       *______**______*
         ______ 
        | Blue |
        | Pill |
    <---|      |
    <---|      |
    <---| Blue |                 -->
        | Pill |
        |______|
 ______________
| Blue     Red |
| Pill    Pill |
|______________|
 ______________                                 ______
| Blue     Red |                               |  Red |
| Pill    Pill |                               | Pill |
|______________|                               |______|
 ______          ______                         ______  ______
* Blue *        |Yellow|                       |  Red ||Yellow|
*Virus *        | Pill |                       | Pill || Pill |
*______*        |      |                       |______||      |
         ______ |      |                        ______ |      |
        *  Red *|  Red |                       *  Red *|  Red |
        *Virus *| Pill |                       *Virus *| Pill |
        *______*|______|                       *______*|______|


____________________________
Turn 'em in the right place:|

Sometimes a pill would perfectly fit in some deep spot, but it cannot be 
dropped there either directly or by moving it sideward. Fortunately there 
might be a slightly different possibility: You can move a pill through narrow 
paths and turn it on the way to make it reach tight places. The ASCII example 
I provide is pretty extreme to show you what this technique is capable of, 
but I hope you get the point anyway.


                         ______
                        | Red  |
                        | Pill |
                        |      |
                        | Blue |
                        | Pill |
 ______                 |______| ______
*Yellow*                   ||   |Yellow|
*Virus *                   ||   | Pill |
*______*                   ||   |      |
 ______  ______  ______    ||   |      |
*Yellow** Blue ** Blue *   ||   |Yellow|
*Virus **Virus **Virus *   ||   | Pill |
*______**______**______*   ||   |______|
 ______          ______    ||    ______
*  Red *        *Yellow*   ||   *Yellow*
*Virus *        *Virus *   ||   *Virus *
*______*        *______*   ||   *______*
                           ||
              ____________ ||
          Spin____________Spin
           ||
 ______    ||    ______  ______
* Blue *   ||   * Blue ** Blue *
*Virus *   ||   *Virus **Virus *
*______*   ||   *______**______*
 ______  __VV__
*  Red **  Red *
*Virus **Virus *
*______**______*

__________________
Use the upper end:|

One might think that putting a vertical pill onto an object in the second to 
highest line is impossible, but it isn't. In fact it can be very useful, as 
the upper segment of the pill will disappear, so you only need to get a pill 
with one good element and its other side doesn't matter.
                   ____________
                    |        |
 ___________________|        |____________________
|                 ______________                  |
|                |Yellow    Red |                 |
|                | Pill    Pill |<-- spin this    |
|                |______________|    pill         |
|                 __VV__        counter-clock-wise|
|                |Yellow|                         |
|                | Pill |                         |
|                |      |                         |
|                |      |                         |
|                |Yellow|                         |
|                | Pill |                         |
|                |______|                         |
|                 ______                          |
|                *Yellow*                         |
|                *Virus *                         |
|                *______*                         |

                        |
                        |
                        V

                   ____________
                    |        |
 ___________________|        |____________________
|                 ______                          |
|                |Yellow|                         |
|                | Pill |                         |
|                |______|                         |
|                 ______                          |
|                |Yellow|                         |
|                | Pill |                         |
|                |      |                         |
|                |      |                         |
|                |Yellow|                         |
|                | Pill |                         |
|                |______|                         |
|                 ______                          |
|                *Yellow*                         |
|                *Virus *                         |
|                *______*                         |

                        |
                        |
                        V

                   ____________
                    |        |
 ___________________|        |____________________
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |
|                                                 |

______________
They speed up:|

Although the speed display on the screen always shows either low, medium or 
high (depending on what you chose), the speed of the pills increases a bit 
every 10 pills that are dropped into the glass. This means that later in the 
game it becomes impossible to stack upon high viruses far to the left or to 
the right. If you don't think you can wipe out one of these early on, ignore 
them and work your way down the other rows.
__________
Junk yard:|

This is probably the most important strategy in Dr. Mario. First of all you 
better try to clear the up-most layers of viruses completely, but then try to 
reach the bottom of the glass at some point. Once you've done so you can 
deposit any pills there you don't need, without blocking any important areas. 
One row as a junk area is a nice start, but then again four or even five rows 
are way better. When you've increased your junk area that far you can even 
strategically drop down ineffective pills of any colour combination in a way 
that they don't build up to high towers, but instead disappear by building a 
blue row, a yellow row and a red row.
_________________
Keep one of each:|

Noah's said to have kept two of each, but you should do fine with one of each. 
Try to keep a good place for every kind of pills. One-colour pills usually 
don't mean much hassle, but try to think ahead in clearing off viruses and 
pills to leave a good spot for blue-red, yellow-red and blue-yellow pills. 
Once you've created a junk area, though, this technique loses its importance.

____________________
Coming from beneath:|

In later levels it can easily happen that you stack some pills on a high 
virus, rendering it impossible to defeat it from above. When there also is no 
chance of eradicating it by building horizontal pill lines, don't bother 
about it. Just concentrate on other areas in the bottle and once you've taken 
care of everything except for said virus and all those viruses beneath it, 
start killing the lowest viruses via horizontal pill rows. Work your way up 
until you've reached the pesky trouble maker and let him have at it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                 4. Scoring                               DDD
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The only way of getting points in Dr. Mario is to kill viruses, whereas 
making pill segments disappear is worth no points, as well as dropping pills 
down quickly. The higher the speed setting and the more viruses you wipe out 
with a single pill (it doesn't matter whether the viruses are destroyed at 
the same moment or shortly after one another in a combo) the more points you 
are awarded.

--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
# of viruses killed | points on | points on    | points on  |
with a single pill  | low speed | medium speed | high speed |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
         1          |    100    |      200     |     300    |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
         2          |    200    |      400     |     600    |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
         3          |    400    |      800     |   1,200    |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
         4          |    800    |    1,600     |   2,400    |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
         5          |  1,600    |    3,200     |   4,800    |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|
         6          |  3,200    |    6,400     |   9,600    |
--------------------|-----------|--------------|------------|

You do not only get the amount of points listed for the amount of viruses you 
kill, but in addition every number above it, as well. Since I just realized 
I'm not too good in explaining, I better give you an example of what I mean:

When destroying three viruses on low speed with a single pill you get 
400 + 200 + 100 points, making for a total of 700 points.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                   5. FAQ                                 EEE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- Is there anything to be seen in this game besides the one-player high score 
hunting and the two-player mode?
- Yes, but nothing spectacular: Beating level 5, 10, 15 or 20 on medium or 
high speed (or level 20 on low speed) triggers a special congratulation 
screen and a neat, yet short, cutscene.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                6. Highscores                             FFF
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Low    Speed:
   KeeperBvK: 137,000 points


Medium Speed:
Daniel Crook: 626,000 points
   KeeperBvK: 222,200 points


High   Speed: 
Daniel Crook: 1,090,800 points
   KeeperBvK:   253,200 points

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                             7. Closing Comments                          GGG
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nowadays Dr. Mario feels slower than other puzzle games and it has way less 
content, as it lacks e.g. a puzzle mode or a vs. CPU mode, but it's still 
worthwhile for a few hours of solid fun in single player and it can be a 
blast in two player. Furthermore if you like the original you should go and 
get Dr. Mario 64 which picks up the great gameplay and combines it with four 
player multiplayer frenzy and a fantastic story mode. If you are looking for 
another NES puzzler, though, look for Wario's Woods, which boasts an 
extremely motivating single player experience.

I'd appreciate any comments, questions, high scores, critics or whatsoever, 
so please mail me at KeeperBvK@web.de if you have anything to tell me (even 
misspellings and stuff).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                               8. Experimental                            HHH
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In some other guides I've seen the author implement the following and I 
thought "Why not give it a try for your own guides?":

If you really like this guide and you think it helped you or entertained you 
a bit or whatsoever and you feel like rewarding me not only by writing a nice 
e-mail, feel free to send some money to my paypal account at:

LH_Zerberus@web.de

Of course I don't want to make somebody send me money who doesn't really want 
to (even if I could, I wouldn't ;) ), but (also of course) I'd appreciate any 
contribution.

Thank you very much for reading this guide and hopefully some more of my 
stuff on gamefaqs.