Magical Tetris Challenge
In Magical Tetris, the player is pitted against an opponent, which is either the A.I. in Story or Endless Modes or another player in Versus Mode. Players control the standard seven Tetris pieces, race to make lines (and consecutive line clears, called combos), and attack the other player. The attacked player receives a set of "magical" pieces, which range from pentomino pieces to square blocks and even very large (up to 5x5-block sized) pieces. Players can also counter one another by making multiple lines to send the pieces back to their opponent. Because of the pentomino pieces, it is possible for a player to clear five lines at once (called a Pentris) using a 5-block straight piece.
Magical Tetris Challenge
Updown Tetris can be considered as an extension of Classic Tetris; Updown Tetris is available in Story and Versus Modes, whereas Classic Tetris takes up what would be the Endless mode. The magical pieces are absent from this mode, and attacking the other player sends a number of lines to the other player; the lines rise from the bottom as filled lines with a one-block gap in a predetermined column and could be used as further lines to attack the opponent.
The Game Boy Color version is vastly different from the console versions. Magical and Updown Tetris are present in the game, plus new gameplay styles were added. All four characters are playable, alongside Pete, who is unlocked in Quest Mode, which replaces the console version's Story Mode. Due to limitations of the Game Boy's screen, the player can't see the adversary's gameplay and it is represented with a flashing laser on the left side of the screen, which height represents how tall the adversary's tetris pieces are stacked, and like it, reaching the top of the screen calls for a game over. This version also has the special meter, but only for some Tetris variants.
Magical Tetris is the game's signature mode. In this mode, players have a shared next queue from which each player's next queue draws. Making line clears will send various types of "magical pieces" to the opponent. The magical pieces include pentominoes as well as larger pieces.
Clearing a line while the player has magical pieces in their queue will counter some of their magical pieces, causing to turn into square blocks that are sent back to their opponent. These can be re-countered and grow in size up to a maximum of 55.
In Magical Tetris, the player, as either Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy or Pete (Game Boy Color version only), is pitted against an opponent, which is either the A.I. in Story or Endless Modes or another player in Versus Mode. Players control the standard seven Tetris pieces, race to make lines (and consecutive line clears, called combos), and attack the other player. The attacked player receives a set of "magical" pieces, which range from pentomino pieces to square blocks and even very large (up to 5x5-block sized) pieces. Players can also counter one another by making multiple lines to send the pieces back to their opponent. Because of the pentomino pieces, it is possible for a player to clear five lines at once (called a Pentris) using a 5-block straight piece.
Later, Minnie finds that Donald left a piece of the gemstone at her house when he was helping her bake cookies earlier and, after she gets his permission to keep it, asks Mickey to make it into a pendant. After he finishes it, they go to show it to Goofy, when it suddenly gets caught on his windmill. The pendant lands on an abnormally large pumpkin in Goofy's garden, which he allows Minnie to take to make into pumpkin pies. However, when Minnie returns home, Wolf and Weasel come and steal her pendant. She and Mickey chase them down to Pete's hideout and, as with before, beat the villains in Tetris. Like before, Pete steals the magical glow from the gem before giving back Minnie's pendant.
Then Capcom pulled back the curtains to unveil its first Nintendo 64 game and nervous anticipation turned to weighing disappointment, disgust, and in some cases outright anger -- it was a Tetris title! Capcom, the maker of Ghouls and Ghosts and countless other hits had stepped up to the Nintendo 64 challenge and delivered a 2D puzzler. Worst of all, it was a Disney-themed puzzler arcade port. It just didn't seem fair.
Otherwise, Magical Tetris Challenge is very much in the style of traditional Tetris games. Players try to successfully position Tetris pieces in the order to complete horizontal lines at the bottom of their play area. The idea is to keep the pieces from piling up onto one-another and reaching the ceiling. Magical Tetris Challenge includes the standard Tetris mode (called Updown Tetris), which rewards a player who has successfully removed a row (or rows) by adding whatever he/she has removed to the competition's Tetris screen. And in addition, the game employs a new mode called -- think hard now -- Magical Tetris. This mode is nearly the same as standard Tetris, except that it whenever a player successfully removes a row of Tetris pieces or is attacked by another player, a magic meter in their play area corner will rise up a notch. Once the meter tops out, a player's blocks will be removed in one magical burst. The mode makes playing Tetris much easier and seems to be geared towards younger players.
In Magical Tetris, clearing two or more lines at the same time sends a magical attack to the opponent, which puts a non-standard magical piece into their queue. Magical pieces consists of more than four blocks and are thus harder to place, but can theoretically clear more lines at once. Magical attacks can be countered by clearing lines while the piece is in the queue. This sends the piece back to the opponent, changing it to a 2x2 square piece. Countered pieces can again be countered, growing in size with each counter to a maximum of 5x5. Overflow to an already full queue turns existing pieces into ones marked with an exclamation mark. These can't be countered and are massive in size and come in pyramid or diamond shapes. A clock counts the time during Magical Tetris - each minute of game time raises the game level, up to a maximum of 4, with higher levels resulting in more magical pieces added to the opponent's queue per cleared line.
Both modes include another gameplay element: the magical gauge is filled by clearing single lines or through attacks made by the opponent. Filling the meter clears the entire playing field above a certain threshold and simplifies the block structure below it. The meter is then cleared and the threshold rises, requiring more moves to fill it a second time. The threshold can only be lowered by clearing all blocks off the field.
Overall, I would recommend this game. It is Tetris, after all, and the Magical Tetris is something every Tetris fan should at least experience once. I found myself coming back for game after game of it just for the added challenge. One more odd decision, there is multiplayer, but it only supports 2 players, thereby missing out on a great opportunity to be able to play as all 4 of the playable Disney characters in multiplayer. While this was a fun Tetris experience, it left me wondering what might have been if this game had not left so much potential on the table.
A Dog Named "Dog": The weasel character is named Weasel.
And Now You Must Marry Me: Pete's goal is to force Minnie to marry him, going as far as to hypnotize her.
Animate Inanimate Object: The objects used as the Tetris boards in each stage are alive. They have faces that change expression throughout the fight. Mickey's Tetris boards are boilers.
Donald's boards are barrels.
Goofy's boards are windmills.
Minnie's boards are ovens.
Big Bad Wolf and Pete's boards are grandfather clocks.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Pete is known to change jobs and outfits depending on the story. In this game, he's referred to as Sir Pete. He wears a tuxedo and top hat, and he lives in a mansion. Still doesn't stop him from being the main villain, though.
The Bad Guy Wins: Donald, Goofy, and Minnie's stories all end with them giving Pete something he needs for his Evil Plan. Only in Mickey's ending does Pete actually lose.
Big Bad: Pete has an evil plan to force Minnie to marry him. He's also the Final Boss of each story path.
Damsel in Distress: Minnie is hypnotized and kidnapped by Pete, who intends to marry her.
Dolled-Up Installment: It's Tetris with the cast of Mickey Mouse. Subverted in that it's an original game in the series rather than a reskin of an existing game.
The Dragon: Played with. On one hand, Weasel refers to himself as "Pete's right-hand man" in Mickey's route. On the other hand, Big Bad Wolf is the Penultimate Boss to Pete, and he shares Pete's sharp fashion sense while Weasel dresses like a thug.
Evil Laugh: Pete's intro animation at the start of a match has him do a deep, bellowing laugh. However, since the game has no voice acting, you don't hear it, you only see it.
Final Boss: Pete is the last opponent in each story path.
Freaky Electronic Music: The Leitmotif for Pete and his gang is a discordant hip-hop tune.
Home Stage: Almost every character has their own stage: Mickey has the factory.
Donald has the harbor.
Goofy has the farm.
Minnie has the kitchen.
Big Bad Wolf and Pete share the mansion.
Averted with Weasel. He has no stage of his own; instead, he challenges the player on the player character's home stage.
In Name Only: The Game Boy Color version has a completely different plot from the console versions.
Mineral MacGuffin: A magical gemstone that fell to Earth from space plays a big role in the story. Pete's evil plan depends on getting the stone and its power.
Nightmarish Factory: Averted. Mickey, the hero, works at a factory, and it's not a particularly scary place. The factory boilers, which are alive, look friendly enough.
Penultimate Boss: Big Bad Wolf is the second-to-last boss in each story route, always coming just before his superior, Pete.
Phlebotinum Overload: In Mickey's ending, Pete tries to draw more and more power out of the magical stone. It ends up creating a portal that sucks him in, transporting him to who knows where.
Rogues' Gallery Transplant: The Big Bad Wolf was originally the enemy of The Three Little Pigs, but here, he's going up against Mickey Mouse and his friends. The pigs don't make an appearance.
Unsportsmanlike Gloating: When Donald wins a match, he points and laughs in a very exaggerated, mocking way.
Working-Class Hero: The good guys all have lower-class jobs, except for Minnie, who seems to be a stay-at-home woman. Mickey works at a factory, Donald works at a harbor, and Goofy runs a farm. This is in contrast with the villainous Pete, who is a rich man.
Wicked Weasel: One of Pete's henchmen is a weasel simply named Weasel.