Review by Psycho Penguin
"Now introducing the winner for the "Video Game That Didn't Need To Be Made"..."
The original Tetris, as we all know by now, is a true classic video game that became a staple in households across the world. Many people have played the game, even those totally oblivious to the world of video games. It helped sell tons of Game Boys back in the day, and is overall one of, if not the, most popular video game (if you can call it that) ever made. I still remember my parents and grandparents hunched around the computer taking turns at Tetris all weekend when we were snowed away in upstate New York a few years ago. Tetris was also rated as the #1 game of all time by EGM. Its list of accolades is quite extensive and very few games will ever be able to top it.
There was, of course, a problem. The game didn't have a sequel! Nintendo thankfully solved this ''problem'' by gracing us with a game that SO did not need to be made, Tetris 2. I'm a big fan of Nintendo and have been ever since I was a kid, but give me a break. Tetris is fine, you don't need to screw with the formula to make a quick buck. Nintendo decided to do this, though, and the results could have been totally disastrous. Fortunately, they didn't lose their minds too much, but they tried way too hard to make changes to a formula that was perfected already. Tetris is the hardest game to make a sequel for, and they tried as hard as they could, but it just didn't work out the way they intended.
The original Tetris formula was duplicated quite well in this one, as you still get a variety of blocks. The object in the original was to line up a row of blocks so they matched. If you could fit the blocks in the correct places, you could then proceed to match up 2 or 3 lines for bonus points. Getting a Tetris was the hardest thing to do, as you needed to line up 4 rows of blocks, and finish it off with the rare but useful vertical skinny block. It was quite a novel idea, but I guess gamers clammered for more, because the formula got a new twist in this one: now you have to clear bombs out of the way.
Basically, each game will start with bombs placed randomly in the field, and the object is to simply match up a block to the left and to the right of it that are the same color. It is quite confusing, and if you think of it more like Dr. Mario and less like Tetris, you should be okay. Each block is now a different shape and color, and you should match the blocks with the color of the bombs. The shapes are also oddly shaped, as sometimes you get an oddly shaped one that has pieces sticking out of its side. Knowing how to handle each type of block is the key to success, but it takes some time to get used to, especially for Tetris veterans. You no longer have to worry about lining up blocks in order to get bonus points, and therefore a lot of the fun was taken away.
The problem here is simply that this game no longer feels like Tetris. If I wanted to play a game like this, Dr. Mario is suitable, since it's much more fun than this game. The appeal of the original Tetris was to use your brain to match up lines. Not so in this one, as this classic formula has been replaced by a Dr. Mario-like gameplay scheme. It's fine at first, but you will soon start to get sick of exploding bombs and matching up the same color in the same line. It's not what Tetris is all about, and I was quite disappointed. This game no longer requires brain power, and instead is just a cheap gimmicky subsitute. I hope the creator of this game sued. Unless he died, then I hope he didn't, because that would be kind of freaky.
It's not all bad, though. The game features all of the original Tetris modes, like different challenge levels and music selections. So, if you get tired of hearing one song, you can just move on to the next. Plus, the new 2-player mode is just awesome and can prove to be quite addictive. It's now split screen, and rushing to beat your friend out to clear bombs can prove to be quite addictive and fun. You'll definitely get bragging rights, especially if the speed of the blocks is turned up really high. Sadly, Tetris Attack is still a better choice for multiplayer action, so this game doesn't even win out on its strongest merit of all.
Another problem to point out is that Tetris 2 features some of the worst controls imaginable for a Tetris game. For a game that requires such a degree of patience and precision, the controls sure are loose. The blocks will move to the left and right quite quickly, and sometimes you will lose track of exactly where they are going. It's bad enough on the normal game speed, but once you get to the higher game speeds, you can forget about dealing with anything resembling good control. Plus, when the blocks start to split into two, you have to control both blocks with the same control pad. I'm sure it was done just to increase challenge, but it's hard enough to control one, much less two. Sort of like women, but I'm saving that for the book.
You know how in some months there's this really hot Playboy model and some months there's this really ugly Playboy model? Well, I ask this question to anyone besides the reviewers that don't like women in that way... damn, 80 percent of you are eliminated. Well, to the rest of you, I ask, do you know what I am talking about? It's sort of how I feel about Tetris 2. Tetris was a good looking game, with all the right areas taken care of properly. Tetris 2 looks quite hideous, sort of like play doh strapped to a donkey's back. In comparison, Tetris 2 is Serena Williams, and Tetris is Triple H in 1990. Or Triple H today, he's still ugly as hell.
I think I should actually describe why the game (OMG PUN CUZ TRIPLE H IS THE GAME) is so ugly. Well, he's got that annoying nose thing... alright, I'll stop now. The backgrounds during gameplay are some of the most hideous things I have ever seen. They're a light orangish shade which can prove to be quite distracting. If there's three colors that game backgrounds shouldn't be, light orange is one of them, especially for a game like Tetris 2. Plus, the backgrounds are kind of dumb, I mean, a bunch of birds flying? What the hell does this have to do with anything? Plus, the new blocks look dumb, and the title screen is one of the most horrible things I have ever seen. I am completely disgusted with the way this game looks.
I am equally disgusted with the way the game sounds. You get to choose the song you want to hear before you actually start the stages, which is always nice, but there's one problem. All the music sucks royal ass. The original Tetris had perfect sounding music, because it sounded russian, and this music does not. The music wouldn't even fit in any game, especially a game like Tetris. Some of the songs seem more suited for an action game, and one or two seem ripped from a saturday morning special. Plus, the variety isn't exactly there, because they're all upbeat and kiddy songs. Where's the dark melody or somber beat? I can't get too excited all the time, give me something to work with here. The sound effects are alright, but don't expect much besides the average puzzle game sound effects. Bleh.
The game has about as much replay value as knife fighting with Lorena Bobbit. There's not really many new modes to choose from, and the gameplay itself is extremely crappy. It's pretty much a mix of Tetris and Dr. Mario, done about as poorly as possible. I didn't like the mixture at all, and I don't think a lot of other people did either. The game is not as fun as Dr. Mario. The only thing that saves this game from being total crap is the multiplayer mode, and that's done better in Tetris Attack, so this game really does have as little replay value as possible for a video game. I was quite disappointed and stunned, because the original Tetris had so much replay value. However, why play a cheap mix of the two games when you can just play the two games?
The challenge level of the game is certainly not going to help the replay value out in any way, shape, or form. Haha, I said shape, which is interesting because one of the new ''features'' that makes this game so challenging are the new shapes. Some shapes are shaped weirdly, and when they land on a block, the piece that is hanging off the side will fall over, and sometimes these blocks will float as two separate blocks in midair, so you'd have to control both at the same time. The game is already challenging enough without this feature, especially on the higher challenge levels (the blocks go SUPER fast!), but with this feature the game is simply hellishly challenging.
There is no reason for me to condone playing Tetris 2 at all. This game was a horribly failed attempt at making a Tetris sequel. I wish someone would have pointed out to Nintendo back then the simple logic that Tetris doesn't need a sequel. Tetris Attack is a fine game because it completely changes the formula around and doesn't claim to be the same game as Tetris. This game was a cheap attempt by Nintendo to make some money, and it shows. The game is simply a blend of Tetris and Dr. Mario without being as fun as either. I recommend picking up Dr. Mario instead of this one, because they're the same game, only Dr. Mario is a LOT more fun.
Pretend it's a NBA finals game and ignore it, please.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/04/03, Updated 07/04/03
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