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FGC #234 House of the Dead Overkill

BangThere are two genres that I feel, for better or worse, never made it out of the arcade. There’s the beat ‘em up, which was responsible for sucking down more quarters than a laundromat back in the halcyon days when Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, and The X-Men were popular (What? They’re all still popular? You sure?). That genre, in a way, became the God of War-alike of today, but the simple left-to-right, beat up the same four dudes gameplay seems to be gone forever (or at least a “forever” that excuses the occasional River City Ransom remake). And, similarly, there is the “shooting gallery” game, which seemed to come earlier and last longer than its beat ‘em up contemporaries (I still remember you, Police 911 cabinet), but is currently woefully underrepresented on the home consoles. We might see the occasional Duck Hunt rerelease or crossbow training, but, by and large, the only time you see a decent shooting game is when a system is trying to demo some random peripheral, or, God help us all, during a console launch. Despite being one of those genres that practically defined gaming for some years (see Back to the Future for shooting through the generations), the noble shooting gallery game is now resigned to the ever-shrinking arcade scene and a tech demo or two.

And it’s easy to guess why that happened. There’s something visceral about holding a plastic gun in your hands and capping some ducks/criminals/zombies that is difficult to replicate on the home consoles. It’s fun an’ all to pretend, but you just don’t get that same heft from the Playstation Lollipop as you do when holding a proper Deer Hunter rifle. And then… what’s the point? It’s a point and click adventure. I’m using a mouse right now, and it’s not exactly thrilling to edit this article and click on my more overt mistakes. Ugh, I’m probably goint go give up from the boredom. I… guess I could pretend my typos are encroaching Cobra soldiers, but… meh. “Point and aim” needs that essential gun component to feel right, and, without it, the fun is gone.

So House of the Dead Overkill figured, hey, if we can’t get that authentic arcade gun experience, could we maybe find the fun somewhere else?

Get 'emHouse of the Dead Overkill is a House of the Dead game: your character is fairly anonymous during the gameplay, and “you” are basically a disembodied gun exploring various zombie-infested locales. Some House of the Dead games stick exclusively to the titular house, but other adventures eventually see other locations, like “generic swamp” or “generic building”. But that’s not important! What’s important is that zombies are bearing down on you at all times, and you’ve got to turn those zombies into a fine, bloody mist before they throw a seemingly unlimited number of axes into your face. By and large, this is very simple gameplay, with only the occasional boss to interrupt “keep shooting at everything”. And, for the record, those bosses are still the same “keep shooting at everything”, but now you aim exclusively at the head and a collection of random flying objects. It’s totally worth all your quarters to see the end of that one screeching mutant thingy!

And the challenge in House of the Dead is that, yes, it’s a shooting game. It’s not just about surviving, or gunning down the right zombies to guarantee a potential victim’s escape, or carefully pegging that one powerup on the bookshelf over there; no, it’s about the all-important score, and proving that you’re some kind of zombie sniper savant. What’s your accuracy percentage? How many headshots did you rack up? How long did it take you to complete each mission? It’s all about the score, baby, and if you’re just lumbering through the stages, well then, what’s the point? Gather up the points for that combo meter, and show off your fabulous goregasm tally with trophies of all sizes. Be the best zombie slayer you can be!

Except… well, I can’t be the only person that doesn’t really care about the score. For a number of action games, I’m kind of a “beat it” player, and I’m not in this to get the most achievements or points or whatever. I play videogames to relax, not to practice like a sport. Ugh, sports. Can I just be rewarded for, ya know, playing the game at my skill level?

House of the Dead Overkill answers this with, “Yeah. Sure.”

SCENE MISSING

House of the Dead Overkill eschews the tone of the previous House of the Dead games to be… funny. As ever with humor, it’s objective, and the game straight-up lampshades this during the finale (when it’s noted that this adventure has more hyper, toxic masculinity than a friggin’ Trump rally), but the majority of HoD:O is built to be, at least, amusing. G and Isaac Washington are hard-traveling heroes that can’t get along to save their lives (well, sorta), and their diametrically opposed hijinks fuel the adventure. Then there’s a villain that appears to be a version of Burt Reynolds that is unusually obsessed with Chinese food, a hooker with a heart of gold (and a motorcycle), and the fiendish mastermind that has an Oedipus complex that is literally suicidal. And the bosses, the crown of each level, are a delightful mix of grotesque and goofy, so right about when Kuato shows up to menace the protagonists at the circus, you won’t bat an eye. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I gunned down that woman from The Ring, too.

HA HAAnd, while I’d love to say that I played this game to improve my wiimote firearm abilities, this “funny” plot is absolutely the only reason I played past the first level. From the eponymous House of the Dead to a nightmare hospital to a hell carnival, this game grabbed me right from the get-go. It’s not about the score, it’s not about the shooting, it’s about seeing what crazy thing comes next, and what ridiculous, possibly exploitative creature is going to cap the next stage. Giant malevolent mantis? Yes! Bulbous, pulsating swamp creature? Why not! And then it’s all capped off with the mother of all monsters that literally births mutants for your rail gunning pleasure. It’s an appropriate ending for an outrageous game.

And here’s the moral for other videogames: learn from House of the Dead Overkill. Yes, humor is objective, and, yes, the “exploitation flick” motif of the game isn’t for everybody, but when you’re dealing with a genre that is already very limited in popularity, why not give people another reason to play your game? High score is fun, but how about something for us nerds that can ream thousands of words out of some space robot plot? Give your audience more, not less, and suddenly your generic shooter is something some nerd on the internet is fawning over almost a decade later.

Videogames can be more than their genre, and it only makes those games better.

FGC #234 House of the Dead Overkill

  • System: Nintendo Wii initially, and then eventually Playstation 3 (via the Move), and iphone/android (via your finger). Also, there’s the Windows version for…
  • Port-o-Call: Typing of the Dead returns! A “typing” version of House of the Dead Overkill exists for Windows platforms, so if you’re not so much for the aiming, go for the keyboard. Also, apparently the mobile version of this game was extremely limited and withdrawn from mobile stores due to massive suckage.
  • Number of players: The other reason to play a shooting game is to have fun with your friends, so two players. On the other hand, I can name like six other local multiplayer uses for my Wii.
  • YowchLevel Up: My one major complaint about this game is the whole upgrade system/extra guns. Conceptually, I like the idea of upgrading, and, practically, I enjoy purchasing the rail gun and basically turning the difficulty off… but isn’t that a problem? It seems like your firearm options are either way too overpowered or “will get you killed during every reload” weak. And I want to say the later stages are not balanced for the standard pistol at all. In other words, despite how much I love bringing an AK to a shambling fight, I’d rather the whole game be built around one kind of gun with set parameters, and not continually being Goldilocked into too hot or too cold.
  • Favorite stage: It made murder clowns a persistent problem, so I’m going to say that the third stage, Carny, gets my vote. It also has the best zombie set pieces, with a football field, (literal) shooting gallery, arcade (with After Burner!), and a ride through a funhouse. Which reminds me…
  • Skeleton Corner: This is one of the few games that earns the “skeletons” tag, but does not feature skeletons that are actively attacking the player. They’re just… hanging around. NOTE: I am aware that most people/monsters/zombies have skeletons, but that doesn’t count.
  • They’re not Zombies: Oh, right, they’re mutants. Thank you, G.
  • Dang bonesDid you know? Varla Guns and Candi Stryper, a new character, are both available as playable characters in their own adventure on the Playstation 3 version. They fight mutant zombie strippers and a lady minotaur named Meat Katie. On a side note, I’m not completely certain there can be a lady minotaur. Cowotaur?
  • Would I play again: I just might, particularly considering I’m not certain what I’m going to do with my (backwards compatible) WiiU in a few months. Might be fun to play through all the “good” Wii/WiiU games before they get locked away in the “oldies” bin.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Metroid Zero Mission for the Gameboy Advance. Good pick, ROB! Always happy to play a Metroid game. And this one has unexplained stripping! Please look forward to it!

FGC #201 Mega Man Zero 4

Here is the complete history of one reploid named Zero.

Our story begins back in the olden days of 20XX, when one Dr. Thomas Light worked together with Dr. Albert Wily. The two had been friends for many years, and, while Light was always considered the greater scientist, Wily possessed more of what is colloquially referred to as “drive”. This drove Wily to, upon the completion of Light’s initial eight numbers, steal the living hell out of the most dangerous robots this world had ever seen. Fireman may have been built for waste disposal, but any creature with flamethrowers for hands and a head does possess significant destructive potential. In response, Dr. Light modified the super cleaning robot, Rock, into Megaman, the little metal boy with a heart full of righteousness and an arm full of bullets. Megaman went on to totally crush Wily’s Robot Rebellion and demolish that hastily assembled Skull Fortress.

From that point on, the roguish Wily did everything he could to defeat Megaman. He built his own robots. He framed other robots. He hired Russian labor. He invented the worst board game ever. Soccer happened. Through it all, Megaman triumphed, and Wily was barely capable of achieving even fleeting victories. Couple this with severe budgetary issues (building a colossal fortress shaped like a robot’s helmet sounds like a great idea on paper…) and it’s a wonder Wily ever found the time to engineer his greatest creation.

GET IT!?As ever, Light and Wily worked in parallel. When Wily weaponized Gutsman, Light developed Megaman. When Gutsman became a tank, Megaman gained a hoverboard. Wily threw a giant cat into the mix, so Megaman got a dog. Angry robot birds to fight angry robot birds, and companion mecha armor to fling robot dog punches about. Years after their rivalry started lowering Monsteropolis property values, Light and Wily had transferred their enmity to their most prominent creations: Megaman, still defending Dr. Light, and Bass, the very similar robot designed by Dr. Wily.

But neither scientist was satisfied. And this rivalry would lead to the end of mankind.

Light was proud of Megaman, but his creation was not a true artificial intelligence. “It” was programmed to be good and noble and true, but the problem was that it was literally built that way. Megaman, for all his victories, was still just a robot, and could never be the real “son” Thomas had always desired. With this in mind, Light began work on the X project, a mechanical biped capable of more than simple computed thought, something more than a robot, something that would one day be known as a reploid.

Dr. Wily had much the same thought at the same time, but he was more focused on a bot that could double jump. Oh, and a virus that would infect that blasted Megaman if he ever defeated the beast. That would show ‘em.

Both scientists succeed in their endeavors, but, unfortunately, did not live to see it. Light sealed his newly created Megaman X in a capsule so it could run diagnostics confirming “he” would not go crazy and kill everybody upon awakening (Light watched a few too many Matrix movies during the project). Wily sealed Zero in a similar time capsule. It is not known exactly why the traditionally impatient Wily would do such a thing, but there is some record of a mishap involving a jealous Bass and, to quote a discovered recording, “that beautiful girl hair”. Whatever the case, both proto-reploids were sent forward in time to an age when the Wily Wars were long forgotten. And those that ignore history…

ScaryMegaman X was discovered by one Dr. Cain. Dr. Cain, unfortunately, was a complete idiot. Like, seriously, the guy couldn’t find his butt with both hands on a good day, and, on a bad day, he decided to arbitrarily clone a mysterious robot he found in a capsule. And from there, he decided modifications to the design would be a good idea, and created perfectly invisible chameleons made of spikes and octopuses equipped with all the missiles on Earth. Though he did make one adorable penguin, and that was pretty alright. Cain decided to call the reproductions of X “reploids”, and then he knocked off to the pub to have a pint and tell the guys about his great idea for a horsey that could punch fireballs.

Unfortunately, Cain’s sloppiness led to cataclysmic consequences. X had undergone a century of diagnostics to guarantee his heart was in the right place. Cain hastily copy ‘n pasted that code into a number of modified units, and found that the untested dittos had about a 20% chance of becoming instantly homicidal. Rather than halt production, Cain decided the best answer was more reploids (dude was all in on this project, it was either this or live with his mom), and, to answer the murderous “maverick” reploids, the Maverick Hunters were created, with Sigma, a reploid designed to never go maverick, at the helm. For the record, Cain didn’t implement that “immune to being maverick” code in every reploid because, as stated earlier, Cain was an idiot.

WeeeeSigma had a pretty good run as head Maverick Hunter, but eventually happened upon a long sealed cave that housed a certain red reploid. Yes, Dr. Wily’s long lost final creation had finally awakened, and, when Sigma attempted to subdue the rampaging Zero, the hero of humanity became infected with the Zero Virus meant for Megaman. Whoops! From that point on, Sigma started wearing clown makeup and commanding his trusted Maverick Hunters to hunt humans for sport. It was right about that point that it was a really good idea to grab a vacation home on some secluded island somewhere, as highway repair was about to fall far off to the wayside.

Mega Man X, who had previously been sitting out this whole war while reading a book on arm cannon philosophy, decided to wade into the fray to stop Sigma. It was on this adventure that he met Zero, now rehabilitated and working for the (human friendly) Maverick Hunters. Zero was far more experienced in the ways of combat than X, so it was only natural when, toward the end of X’s journey, Zero gloriously and suicidally exploded in an effort to destroy some ride armor that usually can only withstand like eight hits. Zero was blown into exactly three pieces, and X soldiered on to separate Sigma into many, many more pieces. Zero, Wily’s greatest creation, died saving Light’s legacy. There was poetry in the final, friendly end of an eternal rivalry.

But it didn’t last.

Wily’s Zero Virus had mutated in Sigma to become the Sigma Virus. So Sigma lived on past his destruction, and gained the ability to transfer his sentience through cyberspace, thus becoming more malware than man. Zero survived, too, after a fashion. Yes, Zero was trisected, but X was able to retrieve those pieces, and Dr. Cain was able to successfully weld those pieces together with superglue. Ultimately, it was Wily’s superior engineering that allowed his creation to breathe again. Yes, it only took a hundred or so robots, but Wily did finally realize that “extra lives” was the source of his constant failures.

He'll be back laterSo X and Zero defeated Sigma time and time again, fighting side by side, and only occasionally pausing to fight each other. Zero died again, came back, picked up a lightsaber, and killed Boba Fett a whole bunch. X quietly wondered what he was fighting for (Zero had a tendency to scream it), and dreamed of a day when Sigma was finally defeated, and all could live in harmony. Took about a century to get to that point.

Sigma’s defeat came from the most unlikely of sources: an elf. A “cyber elf” is a small, module-like piece of sentient programming that is capable of rewriting or overwriting code. Considering Sigma had essentially become code, the lead Mother Elf finally able to wipe Sigma off the face of the Earth. Yay! Now it was just a matter of eliminating the last remaining mavericks, and all would be well. Oh, my bad, I mean, everything would be Weil. Dr. Weil decided that the Maverick Wars weren’t ending fast enough, so why not kick Zero out of his (apparently immortal) body, drop the Mother Elf in there, and use her new invincible body and mind to overwrite and control every reploid on Earth. That would put an end to Mavericks/free will, right? That should make everything fine!

Zero and X weren’t into this plan. Zero got a new, slightly sexier body, and fought with X on the frontlines against his old body (now dubbed Omega). This led to a four year conflict where, somehow, 90% of all reploids and 60% of all humans died. Also, six cats were seriously inconvenienced. In the end, Zero and X defeated Omega before it could combine with Mother Elf, and Scary dudeWeil was transformed into a cyborg that was doomed to forever wander the mostly ruined Earth. Zero decided that, after centuries of fighting, he’d knock off and take a nap for a few years, and X was left with cleanup duty.

X wound up ruling what was left of the planet’s population admirably for a while, but, when faced with the Mother Elf still causing mischief for the population, he decided to sacrifice his body to seal the Elf for a solid couple of years. X lived on as a disembodied consciousness, though, and four Guardians who all embodied some random part of his personality. Fairy Leviathan, for instance, was born of the part of X that was a lady fish. But the universe abhors a vacuum, and, with only “segments” of X to keep the world happy, a young prodigy decided to be the second idiot in history to make a duplicate of X and hope for the best. It went about as well as the first time.

Copy X became, with very little exaggeration, Robot Hitler. Ciel, his creator (who also happened to be nine), regretted her decision, and founded a resistance movement consisting of reploids and humans. By the time she was the ripe old age of twelve, Ciel found Zero’s newish, sleeping body, and awakened him to fight once again. Zero finally fulfilled his destiny when, after fighting through four lesser versions of X, he finally got to slice Copy X in twain. Thus a Wily bot had finally and completely defeated the last Light number, and all was well.

Do not touchWhoops, did it again. All is Weil, as it turns out that sentencing a dangerous lunatic to become an immortal, unkillable monster man is not the best idea. Weil resurfaced shortly after Zero quit and then rejoined the resistance, and tormented the red reploid with vague hints that Zero was in the wrong body. Zero apparently didn’t have much a memory at this point (can’t blame him, death is tough on the brains), and fought Weil to discover the truth of Omega and the Elf Wars and why Fairy Leviathan keeps hitting on him. Finally, after every last aspect of X is sacrificed, Zero discovers the truth, and learns that he wasn’t really attached to his old body, anyway. Zero destroys Omega… but Weil still takes over the last vestige of humanity, Neo Arcadia. Win some, lose some.

Weil, it turns out, was really, really insane (like, more insane than usual), so he decided to destroy the planet. Like, literally, with a space laser. Dude belongs in a Final Fantasy universe. Regardless, Zero is called upon to save the world yet again, and, in his final mission, destroys Weil once and for all as the Ragnarok Orbiting Death Laser crashes to Earth.

Sorry?And, thus Zero’s story ends while being burned up in reentry. The rivalry between Wily and Light that started over construction robots ended with the near destruction of the very planet itself and literal centuries of war. In time, humanity as we know it would give way to reploid/human hybrids, and the very concept of saving without a monkey companion would become a long forgotten memory. Zero died as he lived: fighting some random lunatic over the fate of the universe, and Wily’s dreams died with him.

… And then some damn kids started wearing Zero like a suit because that idiot with the ponytail couldn’t leave well enough alone. But that’s a story for another day.

FGC #201 Mega Man Zero 4

  • System: Gameboy Advance for the original, DS for part of the Mega Man Zero Collection, and WiiU if you feel like playing a GBA game on the TV.
  • Number of players: Zero. Wait. I mean one.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: It’s a Mega Man Zero game, the end. I’m sure I’ll have more time to examine what that exactly means in the other three Zero games, but, in short, it’s a difficult, “close range” Mega Man game. This seems to be the easiest of the Zero titles, primarily thanks to how the elves (well, elf) and ranking work. Though, an “easy” Mega Man Zero game is still pretty damn difficult.
  • RAWR?Favorite Einherjar Eight Warrior (seriously, that’s what they call the Robot Masters): Mino Magnus is a minotaur… wait… most reploids are half animal hybrids, is he still a minotaur, or just a bull/man reploid? No matter, what’s important is that he’s got a crazy axe and magnet powers. This guy gets my vote because he’s the archetypal “big guy” maverick, but he has the ability to magnetically separate and reassemble himself, so he isn’t just the typical “stand and slash” giant. Also, he’s dumb as a post.
  • Made it through a whole Mega Man Zero article without mentioning Mighty No. 9? Well… kinda.
  • What’s in a name? Mega Man somehow survived, in one way or another, through Mega Man Zero 3. He also makes a return as part of the X biometal in Mega Man ZX. But Mega Man X is completely absent from this adventure, so, despite the title, there is no Mega Man in this game. Technically.
  • Did you know: Albert Wily was named after Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein had an ancestor named Jakob Weil. … Well, I thought that was neat.
  • Would I play again: Of the Mega Man Zero games, this one might be the easiest to pick up and play. All the same, I’d rather be playing a straight up Mega Man game, so the odds are good, but not great.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Plok for the SNES! Guess it’s a good week for action heroes that gradually get disassembled! Please look forward to it!

Huh?

FGC #199 Tetris Blast

Blasting offReason Goggle Bob Feels Ashamed #4,631 (not high school-related count): I like Tetris Blast more than Tetris.

It is literally impossible to measure the cultural impact of Tetris. While it’s entirely possible that Bill Clinton never played Super Mario Bros. or George Bush never touched a Final Fantasy in his life, I completely believe that every sitting president since the invention of the Gameboy has played Tetris in one form or another. It was a national phenomenon for what seemed like a decade, established and solidified Nintendo’s grip on the handheld market, and I’m pretty sure it single-handedly extended the USSR’s existence for a solid year or two. The dates match up, people!

On a personal level, Tetris was always the game that established that I might not be a complete weirdo. It was the adults of my extended family that first caught the Tetris bug, and, like settlers infecting indigenous peoples with well-meaning/diseased blankets, my mother and grandfather shortly thereafter succumbed to Tetris-mania. My father and grandmothers seemed oddly resistant to the strain, but, in no time at all, my grandfather had received a Gameboy as a Christmas gift, and my mother, shining bastion of restraint that she forever will be, would often sneak the device back home, only to be returned when the batteries ran dry. I wasn’t allowed to have a Gameboy of my own (as I’ve mentioned before, it was assumed that allowing me to have an “always available” system would lead to becoming some filthy videogame blogger or something), but the mere fact that the maternal side of my family was so dedicated to playing one single game seemed… empowering? I wasn’t alone in my “childish” hobby. Here are a World War II vet and a historian both playing with the same d-pad as yours truly. DOUBLE!Sure, they still didn’t know the secret hiding place of Dungeon 7, but it’s enough that they now understand why I get upset every time I’m asked to give up on a high score for dinnertime. I just got a long piece, I can’t quit now!

Of course, other than that, I didn’t really like Tetris.

To be clear, this is another case where I “like” Tetris, but I’d rather be playing Mega Man. I literally can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t play videogames (this is a lie, I remember the first time I saw Super Mario Bros like most people remember the first time they saw their spouse… er… hmm….), which means that, whether it was because of Nintendo Power ads that convinced me I “need” the latest game, or because I never beat Friday the 13th, I have pretty much always had a backlog. “Would I play again” has always been an important question in my mind, because there’s more out there in the wide world of gaming, and I’m never going to save all those princesses if I spend all day stacking blocks. Tetris is, at its core, a score-based game, and, like its cousins in the sportsball arena, I’d rather be playing something with a clear goal or “plot”. The plot might be completely bonkers, but I get so much more joy out of overanalyzing a vaguely religious space opera than praying for one less square block to fall. Everybody knows that everything about Tetris is random, right? It’s just a waste of time and effort! Soylent Green is made from tetrominoes!

And I say this all as someone who has somehow purchased a copy of Tetris for every system he’s ever owned. Hey, it holds my attention for ten minutes or so.

Dance!But Tetris Blast? Tetris Blast was somehow made for my unique psychological issues.

Tetris Blast came stateside as a (Super) Gameboy game, but it saw more systems and wider release in Japan as Bombliss. You will note that “Bombliss” does not include the title “Tetris”, but, hey, if you’ve got the license to use the name of one of the most well-known videogames in history, may as well slap that thing on everything from explosion simulators to Yoshi block puzzles. Tetris Blast is pretty damn Tetris, though. Your goal is to line up blocks, but, unlike in OG Tetris, lines do not naturally disappear when properly assembled. You must also include at least one “bomb block”, and, if that bomb is in a complete line, then it will explode the nearby blocks. A single line causes an explosion that is a single line’s height (though not necessarily width, so a bomb at the far edge might not eliminate an entire line), but if more than one line is amassed simultaneously, the blast will be larger. Line up four rows and then that single bomb block that would be piddling on a single line completion becomes celebratory fireworks. Couple this with the ability to combine four little bomb blocks into one giant bomb block, and you’ve suddenly gained the ability to blast the entire screen with one well-placed block. Granted, that takes a lot of planning (or luck), but it’s phenomenally satisfying when you pull it off.

WOOOOOTetris Blast shines brightest with its “modes”. There’s two player head-to-head, so, right off the bat, it has a leg up over NES Tetris. Then we have Training, your Mode A, and Contest, Mode B. Contest deserves some major kudos for designing a series of interesting, escalating “puzzles” that teach the basics on early levels (big bomb = good), and slowly ramps up to “this is a weird collection of blocks, but I think you can figure it out”. It’s also features breakdancing Pac-Man rejects every five stages, and I can’t say that’s a bad thing.

But what always seems to hold my attention is Fight. Fight is Tetris Blast, but a small “monster” is skulking around the stage. There are eight different creatures, and each has a different ability, like making your pieces fall faster, or eating your meticulously placed bombs. Your goal is to blast these critters with your bombs until their hit points are exhausted, or you clear the stage of every last block, which I suppose causes the monsters to commit seppuku in failure. These beings are completely “there”, too, which means you can squish them with properly placed blocks, or attempt to “box ‘em in” to curtail their dangerous habits. It’s not unlike playing Tetris, but having a lil’ Mario or koopa troopa scampering around on your growing tower. It’s simultaneously dumb and surprisingly endearing.

And I love it.

DAMMIT!It appears the secret to holding my attention is slapping a pair of googly eyes on a random shape and calling it my enemy. Squidly, Dug Grub, and Creepa are all rivals to my Tetris Blast happiness, and they must be stopped. I must defeat this charmingly named menace by any means necessary, else the previously blissful land of Bombliss will forever fester beneath the rule of B. Boy. God help me, the minute the Tetris world gained a rival faction, I was interested again, and wound up playing this nonsense for hours on end.

Hi, my name is Goggle Bob, and I prefer a cheap knock-off to a timeless classic because it features a monster named Gloop. Thanks for reading my blog.

FGC #199 Tetris Blast

  • System: Gameboy and Super Gameboy. The Super Gameboy factor is the only reason I owned this game when it was current.
  • Number of players: Usually one, but with that link cable? Oh boy, good times ahead!
  • Favorite Monster: Dug Grub seems to inspire the most strategy. He will eat our precious giant bombs, but he only does so from the top, and not that quickly, either. This means you often have the opportunity to squish him before he gobbles up your hard work… but then there will be an errant block on top of your giant bomb, possibly causing more issues down the line. In closing, Tetris Blast is a land of contrasts.
  • New Game Plus: There is a “second round” of even harder monsters after the first group. They can be unlocked by completing the game once, or entering a secret code you found in Nintendo Power. The most significant change for this challenge mode is that clearing all the blocks will not end the level, meaning some jerks, like Squidly, the beast that just chills and refills his own health, will take forever.
  • Number of times I resisted making an “explosive” pun during this article: 1,205.
  • Did you know? Tetris Blast seems to have inspired Super Puzzle Fighter and Lumines in various design decisions. It’s not like Tetris Blast invented the “puzzle game where things explode” genre, but there is certainly some shared DNA there.
  • Would I play again: Probably not, as the Gameboy and its library rarely sees replay in my home outside of an elf’s adventure to wake a fish. That said, if this thing gets a rerelease or redux, I am totally there.

What’s next? Random ROB… Listen to me, robot. This is entry #200 coming up, and I don’t want you to blow it like last time. So pick something good, ROB.

And the winner is… Wayne’s World for Super Nintendo!

Dammit, ROB!

How am I going to get something memorable out of that? Bah, I’m sure I’ll think of something. Please look forward to it!

That's that