When Tetris was released, it became a big hit. I guess
Nintendo decided to carry over that successful
formula in a game featuring another successful
character: Mario. This was the first of the
Mario-puzle games, and it seems to have started the
trend very well, having also been ported over to the
Game Boy and a Super NES 2-in-1 pak.
There's a story in the manual about how three types
of viruses are spreading out of control, and Dr.
Mario has invented capsules to counteract the
infention. This doesn't show up in the game, just the
manual, so it can be easily forgotten.
The options screen lets you pick out your level (up to
Level 20), three types of speeds, and two types of
music).The screen layout in each level is the bottle
with all the viruses in the center, as well as Dr.
Mario and a close-up of the three viruses, which come
in red, yellow, and blue. The capsules, which are
two-segmented, come in combinations of red, yellow,
and blue. The object of each level is to clear out
the viruses from the bottle. Dr. Mario constantly
tosses in capsules, and you must control them and
line up the colors with the germs (i.e. line up a red
segment with a red germ). You need to match up four
of the same colored objects (capsules and/or viruses)
in a horizontal or vertical formation for it to
disappear. Wilh luck, you cac maneuver capsules to
cause chain-reactions (clearing out multiple lines at
once). Clear out all the bugs, and you can proceed to
the next level. With each passing level, the viruses
will increase in number. However, keep making
mismatches and the capsules will keep piling up. If
bottle fills up to the top, it's game over.
This game also marks the origin of the two-player
versus mode. The screen shows two sets of bottles,
each with viruses. The object is to be the first one
to clear your bottle. If one player makes a
chain-reaction, random pieces will fall on the other
player's bottle, sometimes where they don't want it.
A player also wins if the other bottle overfills.
Three wins out of five is the object here.
The graphics, like Tetris, aren't too advanced. Dr.
Mario and the viruses have great animations, you
always see the same thing throughout the game, and it
hardly changes. The sound is alright, with two types
of music, but soon recycles too much. The controls
are alright, the exact same layout at Tetris (one
button rotates one way, the other the other way).
This game also has good challenge. As I said, you get
to choose your starting level, and the viruses
multiply the farther you get in the game. Plus you
get to choose your speed.
If you like Tetris, then you'll like Dr. Mario. This
game may not have super graphics and sounds, but the
main part is that it's just fun, wheter alone of with
a friend, and it tries not to be too similar to
Tetris (unlike other games) while taking it farther.