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Tetris Reviewed by Tom Lenting on . Rating: 64%
Tetris
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
What could one say about Tetris? It's about bricks which magically drop out of the air, and your ultimate goal is to make as many horizontal lines as possible. If you never heard of the game you are probably not human.

The package of Tetris for CD-i promises us that "Tetris becomes a legend in CD-I (sic)." So will Philips be able to turn the classic puzzle game into something "legendary"?

No, of course they don't. Since the CD-i disaster Philips would do better to stick to producing televisions and electric razors instead of producing video games. Though they didn't totally mess Tetris up, Philips made some disputable changes to the original Tetris.

I must admit I like some of the changes. First of all, they managed to create a really relaxing atmosphere. The playground occurs to multiple backdrops of different natural environments of which some have moving elements in them like waterfalls, rivers, the forest or the shore. If you gather enough points you go to a new level with a different backdrop and music. Though none of this is fantastic looking, they make the player feel sort of cozy. However the biggest contribution to the soothing atmosphere is the excellent music (which was done by Jim Andron). If I would have been into yoga this version of Tetris would definitely get me meditating.

But besides adding graphical and excellent audio glitters, Philips made a change to Tetris which isn't an improvement. They changed the classic control system. Remember that pushing down made a block drop faster so you could change it until the last moment? Well, Philips abolished that possibility. Instead they only added the separate button which makes the block fall down at once. There isn't a mid way possible anymore: either you watch the brick fall down slowly or you drop it at once. No mid-air speeding. If you are used to the original Tetris - and who isn't? - it's easy to make mistakes with this different control. Especially when the game gets faster and harder the control becomes annoying. CD-i Tetris is also harder because it isn't possible to change a block at the last moment, because once it hits another brick they will stick together right away! It's also a letdown that cleared off lines disappear with a kind of slow delay and that there is no sound when they do so.

It's still Tetris, which means it's still fun, but the change of control sets this version of the classic game a step back from my favorite versions of the game. In my humble opinion the best versions to get are Tetris Max (Mac/PC shareware) and - still going strong - the original, gadget-free version for the black & white Game Boy.

Overall, Philips didn't make Tetris "legendary" for their infamous CD-i console. They remade Tetris in an excellent style, but they also managed to diminish the gameplay of the classic game, making it less fun and less of a classic. When you think about it, maybe that is an accomplishment which can be labeled "legendary" indeed!
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