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 Post subject: Review: Arcade Archives Tetris The Grand Master (PS4|5 - NS)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 10:09 pm 

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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
The Arcade Archives library doesn't stop when it's about surprising their fans.
Today's review is one of those unexpected releases, 'cos we're gonna check Tetris: The Grand Master by Arika.

The Russian Mind Game is the latest incursion on the Arcade Archives lineup.
For Pro's Only.

Well, most of you probably know Arika as the creators of the Street Fighter EX series and ESPGaluda, but they also made a Tetris game, or should I say a series of them. These are the Grand Master series, where everything you knew from the NES Tetris goes off the window 'cos this game will definitely push your limits in this game.
The "Russian Mind Game" (formerly Soviet Mind Game) has already met the arcade scenery with great results, from the traditional game released by Sega in 1988, to Jaleco's Tetris Plus series, where the game added bomb items and Darius-like branched paths, Arika decided to take Tetris to a whole new level, yet returning to the classic gameplay we all know and love, by adding techniques like "hopping" from a "staircase" of Tetriminos and even adjust the piece on the last fractions of a second before it stays put. One of the things you'll probably remember is that you needed to clear a certain number of lines to clear a level. Forget that rule here, each block that lands is a level, 1 of 999 and the objecive is to reach the ultimate rank of Grand Master and the game will grant you that final rank judging your technique and speed, which will require almost lightning fast decisions, making this the Tetris for experts.

Three new features that improve an old block game.

While most people know the ins and outs of Tetris like clearing 4 lines is making Tetris and being able to rotate the Tetriminos either left or right with the respective buttons, The Grand Master introduced three new systems to both improve the gameplay and rate the player's skills. The most important feature is the Grade Recognition System, created by Bullet-Proof Software (Yoshi's Cookie) is another novelty for this game. What it does is to rank your performance based on how fast and precise your gameplay is, technique basically means more than "How many Tetris you've made through your gameplay" along with score requirements like almost 160,000-180,000 points to reach the Grand Master level. Those 19 levels mentioned are 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, S1~S9 and finally Grand Master, also, the required score for the Grand Master rank also varies according to your skills.

Go Big or Go Extinct.

Unlike most games that feature the mode select screen after pressing start, this game requires you to do a cheat code to access them. The first one is the 20G Mode which is selecting by pressing Down 8 times, C, B and A (X, Circle and Square) on the Press Start screen. A message on the bottom right saying "20G MODE" will confirm the code activation. What is the 20G Mode? This mode increases the speed based on 20 times the normal gravity, making things way more harder, since you have basically half of a second to place the Tetriminos on the desired place and position, making it the ultimate challenge for the real Grand Masters of Tetris.
The second mode is the Big Block Mode (back then, the blocks were simply called blocks instead of Tetriminos). To enter this mode press left four times, down, C, B and A on the Start screen, on the bottom right it will appear "BIG MODE". This mode makes another twist and turn on the gameplay by throwing large twice-the-size Tetriminos. While making Tetris in this mode is much easier, it is also easier to screw up and lose very easily. If you left a 1 regular block wide space, then consider your game screwed already. That's how thin the room for error is on this mode and imagine how insane and impossible will turn out to be to stay on the game as the game climbs the speed. There's other additional modes like Reverse Mode and Monochrome Mode which have their own respective codes.

Got the Gold Trophy? Well done, you know how to take a stand on this game.

Since this game is meant for veterans and expert players, this game will be a challenge if you've picked it for a quick trophy boost, since the each rank increases the speed beyond what you've remember from the PC or the NES versions of Tetris or even tougher if you're playing the 20G Mode.
While graphic and sound departments are not the main strengths of a game based on simplicity like Tetris, the guys at Arika addressed those aspects with the use of digitized like CG imagery which is mostly based on the human organism as we have blood cells, blood vessels, viruses, the human brain and a fetus (any similarities with Blazing Star are purely coincidentional and unintentional). There's a few non-human illustrations like minerals and greenish snowflakes. I don't know if the brain and the fetus are a methaphor to something, but it breaks with the traditional Russian folk and art from the first entries and the anime elements of Jaleco's Tetris Plus games. The music also breaks the traditional Soviet/Russian popular tunes like Korobeiniki (or "Korobushka") and classic the "Menuet" from Bach's "French Suite No.3 on B minor" ("Theme C" in Gameboy's Tetris) in favor of a catching eletronic-trance tune that will follow you until you finish the game.


Certified "Official Product" by Alexey Pajitnov.

- This game is the first entry on the Arcade Archives series on several major aspects.
-- First Arika title on the series.
-- First Arcade Archives title based on a license.
-- First Arcade Archives title that has a hashtag on the disclaimer slapped on the screenshot, in this case #tgm_series.
-- First 32-Bit arcade game in the Arcade Archives while the rest were 16-Bit and older.

- On the promotional trailer the phrase "Licensed to The Tetris Company" wrongly appears as "icensed".
- For some reason, Tetris developer Vadim Gerasimov is not mentioned in the disclaimer since he also worked with Pajitnov.
- While the disclaimer at the start up says "Tetris © 1985", the in-game copyright screen says 1987.
- The 20G Mode was inspired by the fan made game Shimizu Tetris which created that mode.
- This game used the Sony ZN hardware, which was a PlayStation-based board.
- This is the lone entry on the TGM series, last arcade game, and penultimate overall title
(being Tetris 64 the last) that had an original logo before the Roger Dean Tetris logo was introduced on 1998 with Magical Tetris Challenge.
- Speaking of Tetris logos, the one used on the start up is the "35th Anniversary" design, first introduced on Tetris M1ND BEND3R.
- The term "Tetriminos" became the blocks name since 2001's game Tetris Worlds.
- It was until Tetris: The Grand Master 3 Terror Instinct when the TGM series named the blocks as Tetriminos.
- For legal reasons, Capcom was not mentioned in this port except for the game's closing credits. Hamster removed all mentions to Capcom and QSound in attract mode as a result.
- If the legal problem didn't happened, this would also be Capcom's first entry in the Arcade Archives.

Got S1 Rank, which is good enough for a casual gamer.

If you're looking for a great challenge from a basic game, then this is your trial of fire. Tetris: The Grand Master is the puzzle for experts and hardcore fans of the classic PC puzzle game.

This release in the Arcade Archives series means a lot of things for the compilation, starting off with the use of licensed things which was something that Hamster had been dodging all this time. ¿Could this mean we could later see games based on licenses?, If that's so this would bring us plenty of TV/Movie-based classics.

-Rambo III

Data East (G-Mode)
-The Real Ghostbusters (Meikyuu Hunter G)
-Captain America and The Avengers

-G.I. Joe
-The Simpsons

Could the use of licensed titles bring these games someday? I know that The Simpsons has been heavily requested on Twitter. Yeah, this sounds like distant dreams, and maybe quite implausible to have Taito, G-Mode and Konami talking with entertainment giants like comic publishers, a lot of movie studios and a toymaker. But having Tetris: The Grand Master in the Arcade Archives collection and Banpresto's Mazinger Z being announced for 2023 definitely opens the possibility.
Can't wait for Arcade Archives: Captain America and The Avengers or Arcade Archives: The Simpsons on our consoles in the forseeable future.

We will see her again in modern consoles?

Also, it might be possible to see City Connection (formerly Jaleco) re-releasing both Tetris Plus games. If Hamster got the Tetris license from Alexey Pajitnov/The Tetris Company, I'm sure they'll be exploiting it very well. After the upcoming release of Pac-Mania on December 8th, who knows what to expect on these last Thursdays of 2022 and the whole next year.

A positive result on today's scale.
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