Monday, October 10, 2011

Game of the week: Dr. Mario for the arcade

With the popularity of Tetris in the mid- and late 1980s, every video game company in the world suddenly seemed to be putting out their own puzzle games. Nintendo came up with Dr. Mario, which initially grew popular on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the GameBoy, and still later on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

What few gamers seem to remember, however, is that there actually was an arcade version of Dr. Mario, sometimes called Vs. Dr. Mario. The "Vs." was added to a number of Nintendo games, both in the arcade and for home consoles, that could be played head-to-head, player against player on the same screen.

Dr. Mario was never one of the major arcade titles, though it did garner success in the console market. But however one played Dr. Mario, it was an intensive but fun game.

The object of the game was to destroy viruses. How the player did this was by dropping colored pills onto the colored viruses. The colors had to match in a row of four for the virus to be killed. The colors were red, yellow and blue. So for each screen there would be so many yellow and red and blue viruses, and the player had to line up the colored pills to kill the viruses.

Sounds a little crazy, and it was at faster levels. As things sped up, it became more and more difficult to get the right colors on the pills to match up with the appropriately colored viruses. Remember Tetris at those really fast levels, with the blocks plummeting from above seemingly as fast as bullets? That's how fast Dr. Mario seemed at times.

Dr. MarioAfter the player killed all the viruses on the screen, he or she moved on to the next screen where there would be ever more viruses to kill. Believe me, the difficulty level rose fairly quickly.

If you are a hardcore arcade buff who likes to find the more obscure titles, keep an eye open for Dr. Mario. I think you'll find a game you might enjoy.

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