Review by Crim

"Tremendous Puzzle Action"

If you need a change after endless hours of tetris clones Magical Drop III might just be the answer! The basic premise is simple, your character (represented by a joker at the bottom of the screen) can hold as many crystals of one color as he wants, which you pull down from an assortment at the top of the screen (think lines of colored gems). Line up three or more of the same color and they burst, during a very short period of time after they pop if you line up three or more again you form a chain reaction. Simple premise, very good game. Choose from one of 12+ characters with distinct drop patterns (The sequence in which gems ''fall'' into the game) and play one of three modes. The first mode is simply survival, break as many gems as you can before being completely overwhelmed and crushed as they fall on top of you. The second mode is VS for head to head play, or person VS computer, which in my opinion is where this game really shines. Watching two good magical drop players competing can be a frightening experience, and finally Adventure Mode which is a mix of survival and VS modes.

The bottom line is that this game is just fun to play, I have heard that the English Neo Geo MVS system is missing out on some of the features only available on Japanese language systems, like a ''hard mode'' apparently the English speaking world can't handle difficult settings. Also certain animations and japanese cut scenes in Adventure mode aren't available. This is extremely unfortunate, and as such I recommend playing the Japanese version if you see it. Despite its apparently limitations though, the English version is excellent, because in the end it all comes down to gameplay, and its simple premise makes for a really fun puzzle game.

Graphics - 8

The graphics are excellent, lots of cute anime style girls (moon for instance ;) and nice large sprites. Very entertaining, and extremely well done. The game looks really good on a large arcade monitor or big screen tv. The character animation is also sometimes quite fun to look at, and the little in game cut scenes are nice, if a little simplistic in the english version.

Sound - 7

The music gets really repetetive and I would definetely have liked to see more variety, but it is still very well done. The sound effects for the characters and puzzle actions work very well, and honestly when your playing someone in VS mode your going to be too consumed by the frantic action to care one way or the other.

Gameplay - 9

Excellent gameplay! Its just fun. The game really shines in VS mode, which gets harder the longer you go unbeaten and challenges you to find secret characters by beating stages as fast as you can. The adventure mode is sometimes fustrating but still fun, and the survival mode though fun doesn't hold my interest like the classic bust-a-move, or one of my personal favorites Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.

Overall - 8

If you like puzzle games you definetely have to at least give this one a try, it can be quite addicting! Its very affordable as a Neo Geo MVS game, and I think it has been ported to a variety of platforms. If you do get into it check out the faqs theres alot more to the game logic then first meets the eye! Like most puzzle games you will be coming back for more!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/19/00, Updated 07/19/00

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