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  • Gaidenis a useful word. It refers to a side-story, which may or may not be included

  • in the official continuity of a work. Youve certainly heard of Ninja Gaiden, and you might

  • be familiar with Shining Force Gaiden for the Game Gear, or Zelda Gaiden, which would

  • eventually become known as Majora’s Mask. In many cases, it can mark a significant departure

  • from established mechanics, as Fire Emblem Gaiden did back on the Famicom, creating branching

  • class promotions, establishing level-based magic, and relaxing weapon durability issues.

  • And then there’s the whole nonsense about Barkley: Shut Up and Jam Gaiden, for which

  • I’ll refer you to Eric’s review on this very channel. But enough about serious games.


  • Tetris Battle Gaiden strips away all of the seriesRussian influence and strives to

  • make it as cute as humanly possible. Cossack dancers? NOPE. Weve got princesses! And

  • rabbits. And Best-of-three competitions. That’s pretty much the entire scene here. Rather

  • than having time-unlimited challenges or puzzles, the goal in this outing is to defeat a series

  • of opponents in succession, hence theBattlepart of the name. You want personal challenges?

  • Go play Tetris Worlds. This is for people who want their Tetris with a side of Ruthless.

  • To that end, each character in TBG (not to be confused with TMBG) has several different

  • levels of magic, which can be gathered by clearing lines with crystals and deployed

  • using the Up button.

  • Since the up button is occupied with magic, there’s no flash-drop in this game like

  • in more recent Tetris releases. Also, you can’t just spin a piece forever to stall

  • for time, a practice that has rustled the jimmies of more than a few puzzle-game purists.

  • But put that aside. The real appeal of the game is having a Tetris competition with a

  • significantly more developed feel of interaction with your opponent. There are a number of

  • strategic advantages to be gained through use of Magic, be they impairing your opponent’s

  • ability to get down off a big stack, or buying yourself some time, or merely using the casting

  • to eliminate either an inconvenient piece youve just been handed or a potential strike

  • from your foe. Also, both players feed off of the sameincoming piecesdisplay

  • in the middle of the screen, with the topmost tetromino going to whoever placed one most

  • recently. This can sometimes inform your play, whether you want to hang back and avoid speed-dropping

  • your current block so your opponent gets stuck with that bothersome z-looking piece, or if

  • there’s a straight line up next and you want to throw your current piece any old place

  • so you can grab it and clear a Tetris. Theyre fairly small changes, all told, but the differences

  • they bring to the game itself have much larger ramifications.

  • Here in the states, we never really saw anything like this. Our falling-block-puzzle games

  • were more focused on the single-player aspect, like classic Tetris or Columns, rather than

  • more head-to-head-centric challenges like Puyo Puyo (AKA Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean

  • Machine) or later offerings like Meteos. There’s certainly a place for both styles in any collection,

  • so if youve got an import-capable SNES, it’s worth it to track down a copy of Tetris

  • Battle Gaiden. Because nothing says Tetris like a pumpkin-headed ghost fighting a witch

  • doctor. Without any Russian influence whatsoever. Charles Barkley approves of this message.

Gaidenis a useful word. It refers to a side-story, which may or may not be included

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