Review - Dr Mario & Puzzle League (GBA)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by TheGreat2nd, Sep 10, 2006.

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Sep 10, 2006
  1. TheGreat2nd

    Member TheGreat2nd [No Title]

    Nov 22, 2003
    New York City
    United States

    Dr. Mario / Puzzle League

    Classic Dr. Mario, classic Tetris Attack, in handheld form! What’s not to love? The music. Definitely the music. Please, why Nintendo, why did you butcher such good classics with pure and utter waste? Other than that, it’s your same old Dr. Mario and same old Tetris Attack, their gameplay untouched. It’s fit to a T on the GBA and feels right at home, since they are just simple puzzle games developed many moons ago in the early 90s. Both games are puzzle classics, and many games build upon their gameplay factors, so these are the grandparents of many puzzle games.

    Dr. Mario is definitely your original puzzle game. The original formula is untouched, where you have two color pills and have to clear the viruses by stacking 4 same color pills horizontally or vertically. Once all of the viruses are gone, you advance to the next level. Beyond the original classic version, where the drops get faster, there is also Flash and vs CPU. Flash is a race with the computer to see who can clear the flashing virus first. vs CPU is just like the name suggests, a versus game against the computer. All of the modes feature a variable speed and starting handicap or level. Puzzle League, or Tetris Attack, has many features, all the same concept as the original. Match 3 colors in a row and the blocks disappear, chain the blocks into combos to rack up a higher score and freeze time. Several modes exist in this puzzle game, including Marathon, vs CPU, Timed, Line, Garbage, and Puzzle. They are mostly the same, except for timers, clearing garbage, or certain line numbers, but they all use the same formula, with rows of blocks climbing to the top of your screen. This is exactly like the original Tetris Attack, there are no flaws, and it is the classic gameplay you’ve come to love.

    The graphics are plain, to put it simply. The tiles in Tetris Attack are the same, and the Dr. Mario viruses are the same, and you get more of the same. The menus are bland, but not much is expected in the graphical field for a puzzle game. They look exactly like the original SNES and NES versions, except now in portable form and on a smaller screen. Just in classic Nintendo style, everything is vibrant and colorful, cartoony, and definitely unique.

    The major downfall of this game has to be the music. The music is just awful. Nintendo should have just kept the original music from the original games, because the remixed versions are off pitch, and while similar to the original tunes, are no where near the same quality. They aren’t better in any way, they’re in fact much worse. In Dr. Mario, there is the classic Fever and Chill, but they sound horrible as remixes. They should have left an option to play the original music. The sound effects in Dr. Mario are decent though, for they are exactly the same sound effects ripped from the Dr Mario 64 version. Tetris Attack remixes are not as good as the original, but they aren’t abnormally bad. They are acceptable for a handheld, but it definitely could have been better (Nintendo, stop remixing your music!). No more voice tracks though, GBA games can’t hold so much sound effects. In all, just turn off the sound and go listen to some real music while playing this game.

    Lasting Replay
    The lasting replay of this game is, of course, a full ten out of ten. These are two of the original and some of Nintendo’s best puzzle formulas, brought together on one cartridge for the GBA handheld. Aside from the music, which might drive you crazy, these puzzle games can be played for hours on end. Dr. Mario and Tetris Attack are both playable with a friend using a link cable, so that should also provide for some portable fun.

    Dr Mario / Puzzle League is an awesome game, but depending on your view of awesome, it may or may not be worth $30. It’s an excellent port of the two games, besides the music, so if you are a puzzle fanatic, or are looking for a puzzle fix on the road or just on a portable, get this game. The music could be better, but at least the gameplay is still there and lives on in the GBA. Hopefully, Nintendo wises up and starts to port some of their puzzle games to the DS WiFi, seeing how they did with their immense success in Tetris DS WiFi multiplayer. This game could really benefit from a touch screen, especially for Tetris Attack, where the blocks can be intuitively controlled with a stylus. In all, this game is for people who like puzzle games, and maybe even for some casual gamers.


    Gameplay - 9/10
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 4/10
    Lasting Replay - 9/10
    Overall - 8/10 (Not an average)
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