Magical Tetris Challenge

It's magical. It's challenging. It could only be Tragical Tetris Challenge?

Disney Corporate Headquarters: Crisis Meeting

First Executive: Damn, we've got a problem! Thanks to government cutbacks the cost of cryogenics has just gone up!

Second Executive: So?

First: So I've just had the cryo lab on the phone and if we don't find about $10 million immediately, Walt's head is gonna be thawed out and sent back! SECOND: Oh yeah, Disney's frozen head. Sorry, kind of forgot about it...

First: Everyone's tried to forget about it! I mean, it's just embarrassing! And the last thing I want is to open my mail one morning to find someone's FedExed me a defrosting severed head!

Second: Right, so we need cash, fast. How about we open another amusement park somewhere?

First: No, no, no. Remember what happened with EuroDisney... er, I mean Disneyland Paris.

Second: Okay... um... got it! We'll release a videogame!

First: But won't that cost a lot to develop?

Second: Nah, we'll just get Capcom to take a game that's already successful and stick a few Disney characters in it. Like, I don't know... Tetris?

First: Tetris! No one's going to pay huge wedges of cash for a game like that. It's been around for years!

Second: Ah, no, because you see this is the cunning bit. We put a small meter at one side of the screen, add a few different shaped blocks and call it Magical Tetris Challenge.

First: Hmm... Magical... Tetris... Challenge... Brilliant! Let's do it!

Heads You lose?

And that's how it happened. Probably. Well we'd like to think so.

Magical Tetris Challenge is - rather obviously - another Tetris clone, albeit with a few small innovations. One difference is that rather than playing solo, you play split-screen against an opponent - just like the original Game Boy link-up mode. Capcom has also attempted to add something to the basic gameplay. There's the magic meter, for example. This fills up every time you clear a single line and when it reaches the top it wipes out all the blocks above the level of the meter, thus giving you a few seconds of breathing space.

The biggest innovation is the inclusion of some new shapes for the blocks ranging from small to so-big-it's-ridiculous! When playing in Magical Tetris mode, if you get more than one line at a time, 'magical' energy is sent to your opponent's screen and causes one of these annoying new blocks to appear.

In addition to Magical Tetris mode, there is also an Updown Tetris mode (which is two-player Tetris without the new blocks) and also Endless Tetris mode, which is normal Tetris with no opponents.

Taking The Mickey?

This is a fair attempt at a variation on Tetris with bright, colourful graphics. Judging by the dialogue in Story mode (which is, frankly, excruciating) this game must be aimed at a fairly young age group and in truth it won't hold older audiences' attention very long. Once you've got over the surprise of the differently shaped and sized new blocks, the Magical Tetris mode becomes fairly boring and even frustrating as larger and larger blocks get dumped on your screen. About the only thing to really recommend this game is the two-player head-to-head mode, but as there's a four-player version of Tetris due for release later this year, you'd be far better off waiting for that.

To be fair, this is the first version of 2-D Tetris on the N64, which must count for something, but then perhaps the reason that it's never come out on the N64 is that it isn't needed.

Don't misunderstand us, Tetris is an excellent game, but to pay 60 quid for it - which could also buy you a Game Boy Pocket with the original (and best) version of Tetris and still leave enough cash left over for about a five year supply of batteries - well, there's just no contest!

2nd rating opinion

So for this, we've been denied N64 Street Fighter and Resident Evil? The hell? Yes, Tetris is still an addictive game, but it's hardly something people were crying out for. The new, oddly-shaped blocks also screw with the classic gameplay. Sacrilege!

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