Fliptop Tetris
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5  |  Not Really Something To "Flip" Out Over...
Darryl B. , 5/26/2009 1:14:04 AM

Fliptop Tetris unit - fatmanfliptoptetris.jpg

Here it is, a review for a handheld version of “the most popular game in the world”, I think is the quote that it says in the packaging (and if that’s not it, I’m being too lazy to go and look it up).  After all, what’s not to love about a game where you control puzzle pieces that fall from the sky?

Yep, you try to get puzzle pieces of different sizes and shapes to form a horizontal line, which will cause that line to disappear. Screw up too many times and cause a stack of shapes to make it to the very top of the screen, and it’s game over...eh, you KNOW this game well enough, why bother doing any more explaining as it is? Maybe I should just insert a nude picture of some woman now and just call it a day; sound good?

Ok...well, the game sounds ARE pretty good, it actually gives a decent rendition of one of the original arcade game’s themes. However, I always shut it off anyway within a few minutes, as it tends to get on the nerves. The graphics aren’t much better than the old Microvision handheld’s though (just blocks), but they’re adequate. The control works well, as well as the backlight, as Radica’s (the maker of this game) Big Screen Solitaire light sucked, although that was improved with their Big Screen FreeCell unit, and this one is the best and brightest of those three, plus now there’s a switch included where it can be manually turned on and off as well.

Unfortunately, out of all of the versions of Tetris I have ever played, THE only version of it that I actually like where it’s just one long level that speeds up (until it’s game over time) is the Vectris clone for the Vectrex homebrew on the All Good Things cartridge (but then, creator John Dondzila has made even the simplest games addicting as hell, somehow). This suffers from the same problem, which originally I figured I would give this a 6 (even though I didn’t like it that much), since it’s a perfectly ok game as it is, but then I realized that, with all the tons of Tetris games available on all kinds of varying platforms, Radica! needs to do more than just have a version of this game available to make it different than all the others, which it really doesn’t. It’s too slow (and boring!) for the longest time before it starts speeding up, and being able to swap out a puzzle piece for the next incoming one (in case the next one will fit better somewhere on the screen) isn’t enough of a change to help this version stand out, and neither are the other two bizarre game variations included: one game always ends after 40 lines have been erased (what is the POINT of that variation, by the way? Practice for beginners?), the other one always ends after a certain amount of time. Don’t see the point of either one, really. So I still long for a handheld version of the arcade game, with the endings of levels (what a nice concept!), complete with bonuses, later levels with the puzzle pieces starting off the screen by already being on the playfield to contend with, etc.

Granted, I’m really happy with Radica’s aforementioned Big Screen Solitaire and FreeCell games, and my sister’s kid likes a poker unit of theirs, so that’s three out of four happy games going on there (I can’t give an opinion on the poker one, since I don’t know how to play poker, I hate to admit), so that’s pretty decent. I think Radica’s a good company, especially with them putting the instruction manuals for their games online for download, in case you lose them.

...or you just want to make sure you don’t waste your money on a crappy version of Tetris with their color Tetris model that came out recently (at the time of this writing–well, within the last year anyway), and you download the instructions to find out it’s the same thing: just one long, unending level that speeds up, nothing more, no arcade version of Tetris on that one either. So ha on you on that one, Radica! You won’t get my money again with that one.

Just one thing I don’t get, though: why does the word “WINNER!” scroll across the screen at the end of every game? How does losing a game make you a “winner”? (confused) 5/10

 

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