The classic game of falling pieces has now received the 64-bit treatment in this adaptation of Alexey Pajitnov's Tetris. For those unfamiliar with the game, it involves manipulating seven differently shaped pieces in an attempt to create horizontal lines within a well. After completing a row, you'll receive points and play resumes until the pieces eventually reach the top of the screen. The New Tetris expands on the original by offering four-player simultaneous action as well as new modes of play.
Solo gamers can enter their names, select one of five difficulty settings or elect to compete against a computer opponent on a vertically split screen. Three options of play are also available to choose from: Marathon, Sprint or Ultra. Marathon is simply a test of endurance that requires you to eliminate lines from the playing field (as in the original version). Sprint mode involves racing against a clock to eliminate as many lines as possible. The game will end after three minutes of play, so you have to move quickly if you want a score worth showing to your friends and family.
Ultra mode removes the time limit found in the Sprint mode, but ups the ante in the number of lines you have to clear -- 150 to be exact. The final game mode involves grabbing up to three other players and testing just how skilled you are in the art of forming lines. The multi-player mode isn't just a straightforward competition, however. There is a garbage element, and no, it doesn't involve taking out the trash. Not quite.
Garbage lines are so named because they can be removed from your screen and into those of your opponents. To send these little tokens of appreciation, you simply need to clear at least two lines at once. The more you clear at one time, the more devastating the "garbage" will be for your opponent(s). This garbage can be directed toward one specific player or to a randomly assigned one in the "Hot Potato" mode.
The New Tetris also offers a few new twists on the classic formula. For starters, you can opt to use a "Hold Piece" instead of the one you are currently dealt with. A random piece will appear in the corner of the playing field and pressing the L button will allow you to swap pieces, if so desired. There's one catch: once you make the switch, you cannot revert back to the original piece. Another new feature involves the strategy of forming squares with four pieces (using all of one type or different combinations of pieces).
Once this is accomplished, the square will turn into a different color (silver or gold) and bonus points will be awarded once the lines forming these squares are cleared. The overall goal in the game is to clear enough lines to unlock seven of the world's Wonders. Each Wonder you unlock will let you play on a new background screen with music appropriate to the theme! Your progress and high scores for each game mode are automatically saved to the cartridge, but the Controller Pak is also supported if you want to use your game information (such as stored lines) on a friend's version. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide