The original version of this information is property of http://www.ign.com/, but has been modified.
What do you get when you take the Pokemon license and merge it with Tetris Attack (SNES/GB) game mechanics? Why, you get Pokemon Puzzle League of course. There have been a plethora of games that have rehashed, mimicked, and mocked the original Tetris, but Tetris Attack, also known as Panel de Pon in Japan, was one of the first games to actually bring a fresh approach to stacking colored blocks on top of each other. Pokemon Puzzle League has taken an already great model and put a few coats of wax on it. Puzzle fans, don't let the Pokemon license dissuade you; and, Pokemon fans, don't let the puzzle theme turn you off. You may be pleasantly surprised with this game.
Six gameplay modes in 2-D and 3-D
Fifteen playable Pokemon trainers
Pokemon Characters: Ash, Gary, Koga, and more
Animated FMV cut-scenes
Win badges (Cascade, Earth, Soul) as you progress
EEPROM: Up to save slots, with one permanent guest slot
Record progress, badges won, and more to cartridge
Two-player multiplayer modes
This review cannot begin without reiterating the fact that this game is essentially a polished Tetris Attack with a dominating Pokemon theme. So please bear that in mind. This is not a new game concept, merely a new game. The good news is many people haven't played the original Tetris Attack, so this experience is completely new for them. If you have played Tetris attack on the SNES before, you will be right at home with this. The idea of the game is to move a cursor around the screen, and make three blocks to join, and they disappear. There are other ways to clear the blocks, using chains and combos they seem difficult to perform at first, but you can watch how they are done in training mode. As simple as it sounds, this game will last for a long while, as you have various modes to play they are as follows:
1.MARATHON - In this mode you play on and on, until your stack reaches the top.
2.CHALLENGE - This is one of the best modes, you fight all the Gym leaders from gold and silver, and the elite four, you will collect extra characters for doing various things (e.g. Play in normal or hard and last four minutes and defeat the enemy to obtain Pichu). This gets VERY challenging in hard mode, but you will keep coming back for more.
3.TIME ZONE - Get a high score in a certain amount of time.
4.LINE CLEAR - You play on and on until a line appears, get all your blocks under the line to clear the stage. Again this gets challenging later on.
5.PUZZLE - This mode is one of the best, you have a certain amount of blocks to clear in a certain amount of moves, you will need to think hard to clear the later puzzles. You will use all your skills like chains and combos to clear them.
6.GARBAGE - you must clear the garbage blocks above you that fall down. you play until your stack reaches the top.
The way the game works is this: you line up three blocks of the same color by flipping them on a vertical axis. Sounds simple, right? Wrong, it's easier said than done. While lining up three blocks of the same color is fairly easy, the blocks keep rising and you'll never get past the first few stages unless you master the chain/combo system. To make a combo you have to consecutively line up four or more blocks. Accomplishing this can be a daunting task at first, but before you know it you'll be lining up five-block combos. After you master the combo system you'll need to understand how to form chain combos. Basically you want to create a "chain" of combos by triggering several to fall into place thereafter. See the video below entitled Training Challenge Mode to better understand this process. It is a must to become well accustomed with this to win the game or beat your friends, because after you trigger a combo not only will the blocks temporarily stop rising, but you also drop a line of "garbage" in your opponents field in doing so. Further, the only way to get rid of this line of "garbage" is to form a combo that touches it. Even then the solid line of "garbage" will turn into more blocks after you dissolve it. The only way to win is to play dirty (with garbage, get it?).
By now all the Pokemon fans are screaming, "where does the Pokemon license fit in?" As far as gameplay goes, it really doesn't. The license is clearly an attempt to sell this game, but it's very well incorporated. The whole game revolves around the idea that you (Ash) and your Pokemon (Pikachu, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur) have been selected to participate in an official Puzzle League tournament. Naturally you go dashing off to Pokemon Puzzle League Village to put your skills to the test against some of the best Pokemon trainers out there. The end goal: facing the "Puzzle Master." On the way you must face a bunch of different trainers to earn badges and awards.
The only sign of Pokemon within the gameplay is found in character selection. You can select one of your three Pokemon to use against your opponent. It really doesn't affect the game, though, other than that your Pokemon make unique sounds and drop different colored garbage rows on your competitor. For instance, if you choose to use Pikachu you drop a solid yellow line of garbage with a lighting bolt symbol on it, if you use Squirtle there is raindrop symbol on it, etc. Other than that they don't actually affect the gameplay. Meaning, if you use Pikachu against Horsea you see no benefit.
The game features the classic 2-D mode, but also a new 3-D mode. The 3-D mode is mostly the same, but it's a circular column so you have to keep rotating it to keep track of everything. It takes a while to get used to because you have to look behind your playing field to make sure the other parts of the cylinder aren't getting too high. On top of playing the game in both 2-D and 3-D, there are six different modes you can play: One-player Stadium, Two-player Stadium, Marathon, Time Zone, Spa Service, and Puzzle University. In One-Player Stadium you face other Pokemon trainers and win badges; all of which is centered around a Pokemon storyline. The Marathon mode is a never-ending stream of blocks where you see how long you can last as the blocks fill in increasingly faster. Time Zone is your basic beat-the-clock-type mode where you need to rack up as many points as you can in the allotted time. The mysterious sounding Pokemon Spa mode uses a "clear line" to indicate the level you must drop all your blocks under to win. In Two-Player Stadium you can face off against your friends (or the CPU if you have none) in versus mode, Time Zone mode, or Pokemon Spa mode.
All in all, the gameplay is awesome because it's based on Tetris Attack-style mechanics, not because of the Pokemon license. All the superb art, neat sound effects, and storyline certainly give it a cool unifying theme.
To save yourself from drooling over multiplayer mayhem, please know this game only supports two players at once. We're not sure why they couldn't manage a four-player mode, but it is the one and only disappointment we have with the multiplayer modes. Otherwise, there is some very intense multiplayer action to be found here. Just like Tetris before it, this game will have your eyes in a frenzy, your stomach in a knot, and your heart thumping endlessly. Because there is so much focus needed to play the game, you must continually tell your friends (especially Peer Schneider) to shut up so you can concentrate. Trash talking is not advised, as you may lose your edge. Just as in One-Player Stadium mode you have three Pokemon to use, so once you lose you won't be able to use that Pokemon anymore. Each player has three Pokemon so it's essentially the "best out of five." Further, because there are some really cool sound bytes in the game we advise choosing the most annoying trainers and Pokemon available.
The folks at NST have done an awesome job incorporating a ton of Pokemon art into the game. There is a whole slew of different stages based on stadiums, all the characters are apparently hand-drawn (or made to look it), and the game even has animated cut-scenes that look just like the cartoon series. Basically, though, the game revolves around a 2-D engine so don't expect any lush 3-D visuals. It is a puzzle game after all. Still though, the graphics that are there are pretty sleek. Definitely some of the better 2-D stuff done on the N64 as a matter of fact. When you win badges you're treated to full award page, and the badges look as though they've been pre-rendered first. There are a lot of subtle touches to keep the Pokemon feel in the game.
You get your usual stream puzzle-brand music while playing the game. It's a tad bit dynamic so when things get tense the music will change to something more aggressive. The music itself, though, really isn't all that appealing. You're not getting any high-quality techno tracks here, only the usual mix of Nintendo 64 MIDI music, based on, you guessed it, Pokemon. But, the game has a good amount of different songs that it doesn't get horribly redundant. The sound appeal really shines through in the effects area. There is a great multitude of voice bytes and sound effects to keep you happy, and, often times even prompt a laugh. As well, a few of the characters may strike fear into your opponents heart when you rack up a six-line combo and the crowd goes wild as their Pokemon roars.
Pokemon Puzzle League Walkthrough
The original version of this walkthrough is property of DizzyBum (David Zielinski - firstname.lastname@example.org), but has been edited.
PLAYING THE GAME
This is the basic premise of the game. The actual idea may vary depending on the game mode and field mode you're currently playing.
You are given a large field full of colorful blocks decorated with official Gym badges and other various symbols. Armed with a two-panel-wide cursor, your task is to swap those blocks around in order to clear them from the field. How, you ask? All you have to do is line up at least three of the same type of block either horizontally or vertically, and they're gone.
Place the cursor over the two blocks you wish to switch, then press either the A or B buttons to swap 'em. You can also switch blocks with empty space, which can help to flatten the stack if it's getting too high.
You'll see seven different types of blocks in this game:
- Water Blocks
- Fire Blocks
- Leaf Blocks
- Heart Blocks
- Circle Blocks
- Diamond Blocks (only when you crank up the difficulty level)
- Poke Ball Blocks (only in Versus Mode; we'll get to that later)
You earn 10 points for each block that you make go poof, and bonus points for every combo or chain that you create. COMBOS are created by matching four or more blocks at once. When a match-up results in more match-ups, that's a CHAIN; these are harder to explain without pictures, sadly. The idea is that when blocks clear, gravity kicks in and the blocks above will fall. Should those blocks end up matching and clearing when they land, that triggers a Chain bonus. Get it? Got it? Good. So I don't have to resort to bad ASCII art to explain it, then.
SKILL CHAINS should also be mentioned... These are a specific set of chains that you create whilst blocks are clearing off the field. You can set blocks to clear after they fall from previous clears, thus creating more and more chains. These take lots of practice to perfect, so don't expect to become a master overnight (unless you've retained your Tetris Attack skills, in which case I say huzzah, brother!)
Then there's TIME LAG CHAINS, which are actually multiple chains occurring within a very short span of time. The most common cause of this is simply blocks falling at the same time, but travelling different distances to land and clear. They will all be counted in a single sequence of chains.
In certain game modes, you can also select between playing on a 2-D 6x12 field, or a 3-D cylindrical field 12 rows high. Get used to both, so you'll never get bored, and so you'll be ready for any challenge.
Now, I'll get specific and explain the three major categories of game play.
In 1P Mode, it's you against your sanity. The name of the game here is survival. As time goes on, extra rows of blocks will slowly rise from the bottom of the stack. If ever the stack of blocks should touch the very top of the field, your game is over. Expert strategists can forcibly add rows to the stack by pressing the L and R buttons on the controller. Just don't overdo it.
As you continue playing, the SPEED LEVEL of the rising blocks will gradu-ally increase. The speed level can range anywhere from 1 to 99. If you make a COMBO or a CHAIN, the stack of blocks will freeze in horror for a few seconds as Jigglypuff appears to hum a tune. Plug your ears and clear those blocks!
When the blocks get less than a row away from touching the top, any columns in danger will alert you by rapidly pulsing up and down. This indicates you are in DANGER. When in danger, make a COMBO or CHAIN to freeze the rising blocks for about double the normal stop time. Take this time to clear as many blocks as possible, in order to save yourself from having to start all over again. You wouldn't enjoy that.
Versus Mode includes any game involving a two-player split-screen. The object is to keep your stack from touching the top before your opponent's does. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Oh, far from it, my friend. In this game mode, creating COMBOS and CHAINS will automatically rain down colorful bricks down onto your opponent.
These bricks are collectively called GARBAGE BLOCKS. They cannot be moved with the cursor, and will sit there impeding your forward progress unless you do something about them...
Versus Mode is pretty in-depth, so I've broken it into four manageable chunks for all of you.
Creating COMBOS will rain small garbage blocks of varying sizes upon your opponent.
When making combos in the 2D or 3D fields...
...the size of the garbage block(s) can be calculated by taking the number of blocks cleared in the combo and subtracting 1. So, a 5-block combo will send over a block of garbage that is 4 units long.
...you will send over multiple garbage blocks IF the resulting block would otherwise not fit in one row of the field. The calculation remains the same, and the block is simply broken up to fit in the field. (This should only apply to 2D mode.)
Creating CHAINS tends to drop longer and thicker blocks on your opponent. The actual nature of these blocks will change, depending on which field you are playing in, 2D or 3D.
When making chains in the 2D field...
...the height of a chain block is calculated by taking the value of the chain and subtracting 1. So, a 6x chain will make a garbage block 5 rows high.
...the block's thickness can go no higher than 12 rows.
When making chains in the 3D field...
...a 2x chain block will wrap 1/3 of the way around the cylinder.
...a 3x chain block will wrap 2/3 of the way around the cylinder.
...a 4x chain block will wrap all the way around the cylinder.
...any chain blocks higher than 4x will wrap all the way around the cylinder, and their height in rows is calculated by taking the value of the chain and subtracting 3. So, a 7x chain will make a garbage block 4 rows high.
...the block's thickness can go no higher than 10 rows.
To remove a garbage block from your field, all you have to do is clear any set of blocks that is subsequently touching the garbage. Your character will exclaim something goofy; the garbage block will then transform into regular blocks, which can be used to turn the tables on your opponent. Note that any garbage blocks of the same color touching each other will also be transformed...
From time to time, you'll notice special POKe BALL BLOCKS rising in your stack. If you match up three or more of these, you will send a special METAL GARBAGE BLOCK to your opponent. These blocks function in the same way as the usual colorful garbage blocks... However, these metal blocks must be cleared separately from the usual colorful garbage blocks! It doesn't matter if they're touching; garbage blocks with opposing colors will NOT clear each other. This can lead to some deadly strategy: try dumping some colored blocks onto your opponent, followed by a metal block, then another stack of colored blocks. This effectively triples your attack's effectiveness; your opponent now has to slug their way through three sets of garbage blocks instead of simply clearing one gigantic set.
Be aware that the game gives you a bit of a TIME BUFFER when your stack of blocks and garbage extends past the top of your field. You'll have about an extra second to clear more blocks and save your sorry butt. You can see this happen when the pulsing blocks suddenly stop pulsing... right before you lose. This effect is crucial to your survival -- it lets you fight back right to the bitter end, even if you still have 20 rows of garbage sitting on top of you.
Take note that this is only applicable for Versus Mode; it's instant death in 1P Mode.
Unique to Puzzle University and its Puzzle Editor mode. This mode gives you pre-set sequences of panels and a set number of moves which you can make with them. Your mission (should you choose to accept) is to clear all the panels from the field using the number of moves allowed. Obviously, the Puzzle Editor lets you create your own puzzles, but try to be nice and make them solvable, okay?
No scoring is involved, and there are no extra rows of panels rising from the bottom. What you see is what you get.
You'll see a whole plethora of characters from the Pokemon anime in this game. In 1P Stadium, you play as Ash going up against all the other characters you see here. You can choose any of these characters to battle with in the 2P Stadium.
Each character has their own unique set of Pokemon, so don't be afraid to pick and choose. They also have unique voice clips, which can be either really cool or really annoying, depending on your character preference.
(Note that when you create a CHAIN, your current Pokemon will squeal with delight. Needless to say, this can work to your advantage if your current Pokemon's voice is horribly distracting, like with Sabrina's Abra.)
The last four characters (with a * after their names) are SECRET
CHARACTERS. To unlock them, you'll need a special code (and a spare N64 controller)... Check the 2P Stadium section for details.
As for the final character on the list, you may only play a special two-player battle using Ash and this character if you have the secret code.
- ASH KETCHUM -
Prof. Oak invited Ash to compete in the Puzzle League tournament. You play as Ash in the 1P Stadium brackets, attempting to crawl your way to the top of a giant pile of AI.
Pokemon: Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle
Select character: "I'm Ash, from Pallet Town!"
"I'm ready to go!"
"Let's do it!"
Clear garbage : "I'm gonna win!"
Make combo : "Way to go!"
Win battle : "Yippee!"
"My Pokemon rule!"
"I'm a Pokemon Master!"
Win match : "Hahaha, can't beat me!"
- GARY OAK -
Ash's rival. Gary just happens to be even more arrogant than Ash, but he can actually back it up more often than not. You'll have two matches with Gary in 1P Stadium. He'll use the evolved forms of his original Pokemon the second time around, but it's a shame you can't do the same in 2P Stadium...
Pokemon: Nidoran (female), Growlithe, Krabby
Nidoqueen, Arcanine, Kingler (only in 1P Stadium)
Select character: "I'm Gary!"
"I'm ready to go!"
"Let's do it!"
Clear garbage : "Keep on tryin'!"
Make combo : "Heh heh heh heh!"
Win battle : "Too good for ya? Heh, I knew it."
Win match : "Heh heh heh heh! Keep on tryin'!"
- BROCK -
Leader of the Pewter City Gym.
Pokemon: Geodude, Vulpix, Zubat
Select character: "I'm Brock!"
"Are you ready?"
Clear garbage : "No problem!"
Make combo : "Yeah!"
Win battle : "Ha ha! We did it!"
Win match : "Yeah! Ha ha ha ha!"
- MISTY -
Leader of the Cerulean City Gym, alongside her three older sisters.
Pokemon: Staryu, Psyduck, Horsea
Select character: "I'm Misty!"
"Are you ready?"
Clear block : "Good battle!"
Make combo : "Yay!"
Win battle : "All right, that's how to do it!"
Win match : "Hahahaha, we did it!"
- LT. SURGE -
Leader of the Vermilion City Gym.
Pokemon: Raichu, Jolteon, Magneton
Select character: "I'm Lt. Surge!"
"Ready when you are!"
Clear garbage : "Playtime's over!"
Make combo : "Aw, poor baby!"
Win battle : "That's the finale, kid!"
Win match : "All right, that's the way!"
- ERIKA -
Leader of the Celadon City Gym.
Pokemon: Tangela, Gloom, Weepinbell
Select character: "I'm Erika!"
"Prepare to battle!"
Clear garbage : "Give up?"
Make combo : "All right!"
Win battle : "Hahahaha, we did it!"
Win match : *laughs* "That's how to do it!"
- KOGA -
Leader of the Fuchsia City Gym.
Pokemon: Venomoth, Voltorb, Golbat
Select character: "I am Koga."
"Your skills need sharpening."
"Do you choose to battle me?"
Clear garbage : "We're not beat yet."
Make combo : "Work harder, young one."
Win battle : "Ha ha ha. You are a worthy challenger."
Win match : "Haha, ha ha ha ha! We did it!"
- SABRINA -
Leader of the Saffron City Gym.
Pokemon: Abra, Hypno, Alakazam
Select character: "I'm Sabrina."
"Play with me?"
"Play with me!"
Clear garbage : "You won't escape."
Make combo : "I told you so."
Win battle : "You're awesome."
Win match : "We did it!" *laughs*
- BLAINE -
Leader of the Cinnabar Island Gym.
Pokemon: Magmar, Arcanine, Charmeleon
Select character: "I'm Blaine!"
"Red-hot and ready!"
"I love a puzzle!"
Clear garbage : "Oh, so close!"
Make combo : "When you're hot, you're hot!"
Win battle : "Ha ha, we did it!"
Win match : "We're burnin' up!"
- TEAM ROCKET -
Prepare for trouble, and make it double! They talk real big, but they always lose the fight.
Pokemon: Arbok, Weezing, Golbat
Select character: "Jessie!" "James!" "Meowth, that's right!"
Jessie and Meowth- "Team Rocket!" James- "Let's go!"
All- "Let's do it!"
Clear garbage : Jessie- *laughs* James- "I'm feeling giddy!"
Make combo : James- *laughs* Jessie- "Prepare for trouble!"
Win battle : All- "We did it!" *they all laugh*
Win match : Jessie- "How do you like that?" James- "Not too bad." ->
- TRACEY -
A Pokemon watcher. He's a dull character, to say the least. He basically replaced Brock as Ash traveled through the Orange Islands.
Pokemon: Marill, Venonat, Scyther
Select character: "I'm Tracey!"
"Ready to begin?"
"Let's get going!"
Clear garbage : "Go, go, GO!"
Make combo : "Oh man!"
Win battle : "Ha ha ha, we did it!"
Win match : "That was picture-perfect!"
- RITCHIE* -
The Pokemon trainer that knocked Ash out of the Indigo League championship. He's your first Elite League battle in 1P Stadium.
Pokemon: Sparky (Pikachu), Happy (Butterfree), Zippo (Charmander)
Select character: "I'm Ritchie!"
"Ready to battle?"
"I'm ready, are you?"
Clear garbage : "Don't give up!"
Make combo : "Who's the best?"
Win battle : "Whew! Tough match!"
Win match : "Yes! We did it!"
- GIOVANNI* -
The big, bad boss-man of Team Rocket.
Pokemon: Persian, Sandslash, Nidoking
Select character: "I'm Giovanni."
"You will serve me."
"How good are you?"
Clear garbage : "The world will be mine!"
Make combo : "You're wasting my time!"
Win battle : "Hahahaha, Team Rocket rules!"
Win match : *laughs* "We've done well."
- LORELEI* -
Yep, this is the same Lorelei from the Elite Four. You may know her in the
anime as Prima -- she had a cameo role in one episode. She really likes Water-types and specializes in Ice-types as well.
Pokemon: Cloyster, Poliwhirl, Dewgong
Select character: "I'm Lorelei."
"Are you ready?"
Clear garbage : "Can't win 'em all."
Make combo : "I'm gonna take you down."
Win battle : "Learn from losing." *laughs*
Win match : "Nice battling you." *laughs*
- BRUNO* -
Another member of the Elite Four, he specializes in Fighting-type Pokemon.
He's another one of those "focused" trainers, much like Koga.
Pokemon: Onix, Hitmonchan, Primeape
Select character: "I'm Bruno."
"I'd sensed you'd come."
Clear garbage : "Control your inner nature."
Make combo : "You've had it!"
Win battle : "We won!"
Win match : *laughs* "We did it."
- MEWTWO** -
Pokemon #150, Mewtwo is a genetically enhanced clone of Mew, the incredibly rare 151st Pokemon. If you've ever played someone in a Red/Blue/Yellow link battle, you probably know the frustrating riggedness of Mewtwo in battle. As such, Mewtwo has become the "black sheep" of the Pokemon community, and few will use him in a real team because they continually contest about how cheap he is; anyone who dares to use Mewtwo in a team will usually get flamed right off the bat. Aside from all this, Mewtwo now moonlights as something special in this game...
Pokemon: Clone 1 (Pikachu), Clone 2 (Bulbasaur), Clone 3 (Squirtle)
Select character: "I'm Mewtwo."
"Ready to battle?"
Clear garbage : "I'm going to win."
Create combo : "Fool."
Win battle : "It is my destiny!"
Win match : "?"
NOTE: Only Player 2 may play as Mewtwo, and only by using the secret code
listed way down below.
TRAINING AND OPTIONS
1. Prof. Oak's Lab
New to the game? Feeling rusty? Stop on by Prof. Oak's lab for a quick tutorial on playing Puzzle League. He'll show you the basic controls, teach you about combos and chains, explain the Versus mode, and introduce you to the 3-D Cylinder field. If you already know how to play, there's no need to check this out. But if you're one of those compulsive types that has to see EVERYTHING a game has to offer (myself included), then go for it. It couldn't hurt.
"Hi! What can I do for you?" Instead of healing your Pokemon, Nurse Joy is controlling the options menu in this game.
In the View Demo mode, Tracey will show you some basic and advanced tricks for forming combos and chains of varying difficulties. There's nothing to see here if you're already halfway decent at this game.
Same as View Demo, but Tracey will let you attempt to copy his movements, so you can feel like you did something really cool, all by yourself. Nothing like instant gratification, eh?
This is the slowest "action" puzzle game you will ever experience. No exaggeration. Pick either the 2D or 3D field, and have at it. The game engine's speed is reduced to less than half of your typical Easy mode's.
Blocks will disappear and fall VERY slowly, and the stack will rise so slowly you might not even need to pause it that much. The speed level will
NEVER break 1. so don't worry about suddenly losing your Stop and having the stack shoot up to the ceiling.
If you're bored, try out the 3-D Super Easy mode and see how long a chain you can make. My record currently stands at 28x, but maybe you could do better? (Well, maybe not. That chain cleared all but a few blocks from a FULL cylinder. Maybe if you didn't get any combos, you could extend it?)
MODES OF PLAY
The basic mode of play. Keep on clearing panels until the stack finally hits the top or you collapse from exhaustion. The object is to get as high a score as possible. Make combos and chains to freeze the stack for a few seconds time; you'll NEED to do this once the speed level gets high enough.
You can play the Marathon in either 2D or 3D mode.
Marathon with a time limit. You have two minutes to rack up as many points as humanly possible. Get lots of huge combos and long chains for the highest scores.
Like Marathon, this can be played in both 2D and 3D modes.
Once again, it's time for you to prepare for trouble and make it double. Team Rocket has set a trap and it's up to you to beat them... by clearing panels from your field. I know, the premise is a little odd, but you get to see tons of neat-o backgrounds featuring the various disguises that Team Rocket wears! (Seriously, the artwork in this game is pretty goofy, but at least you don't have to see Ash make his trademark "Duhhh..." face.)
This mode is divided into stages. To clear each stage, you must eliminate all the panels above the Clear Line, which will eventually appear as you advance the stack. Once there are no more panels above the Clear Line, you move on to the next stage. Your objective, surprisingly enough, is to clear all the stages.
There are six stages divided into five levels each.
Here, the premise is not speed, but strategy. You are given a set pattern of panels, and a set number of moves you can make with them. Your goal is to eliminate all the panels on the screen using the amount of moves you are given. If you duff a puzzle, don't worry; you can always replay it. The puzzles get harder and harder as you progress through the stages, so be prepared for some guaranteed frustration.
Puzzle University is divided into three separate classes. Finish all the puzzles in a class to earn a diploma and move on to the next class.
30 regular puzzles
30 regular puzzles
10 3-D puzzles
10 action puzzles
30 regular puzzles
10 3-D puzzles
10 action puzzles
This is a VERY useful tool for learning how to create odd-shaped combos and multiple chains, so don't just take it for granted; why do you think it's called the Puzzle "University"? There is also a second set of puzzles you can challenge after finishing all three classes...
Puzzle solutions coming soon.
Prepare to realize your mortality. In the Stadium, you'll go up against multiple CPU opponents in the wild and crazy Versus Mode. Unfortunately, you're forced to play through the whole thing as Ash. Oh well, gotta take the bad with the good, I guess. You can play on EASY, NORMAL or HARD modes. To unlock the super-secret VERY HARD and SUPER HARD modes, look down for the code.
Here are the opponent sequences for each difficulty level:
-EASY: 11 Stages-
Gary, Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Erika, Koga, Sabrina, Blaine, Tracey,
Team Rocket, Giovanni.
-NORMAL: 14 Stages-
EASY stages, followed by Ritchie, Lorelei, and Bruno.
-HARD: 15 Stages-
NORMAL stages, followed by a rematch with Gary.
-VERY HARD: 16 Stages-
HARD stages, followed by a special battle with Mewtwo.
-SUPER HARD: 16 Stages-
Same as VERY HARD.
Notice that the AI has been vastly improved from previous Panel de Pon spin-offs. The CPU opponents will now clear garbage and line up panels underneath to form "garbage chains," which is quite a nasty technique to know for Versus Mode. So be warned.
Your best strategy would be to dump a massive load of combo garbage intermingled with some chain garbage of medium to large thickness. If possible, throw in some metal garbage blocks to really screw them over.
The only way you can possibly clench a premature victory in this game is to fill an opponent's screen with so much garbage that they can no longer clear anything.
TAKE NOTE that if you lose to Mewtwo, you must defeat Stage 15 (rematch with Gary) before you can challenge Mewtwo again.
One final note: You can only play in 2D mode, due to the restrictions put on the AI in 3D mode. (Check the manual; it says that the AI level will always be the same in 3D mode. So, what would be the point of having progressing levels if they never get harder?)
After reading that above section, you could probably deduce what this is.
Instead of going up against a vast array of CPU opponents, you now get to fight against another human being to see just which one of you rocks harder.
The same rules apply: trounce your opponent enough times to win the match.
In 2P Stadium, you can choose to battle it out in a duel in one of three familiar modes: 2P Versus, Time Zone, or Spa Service.
- In 2P Versus, whoever hits the top first loses the match. This is the only mode that lets you attack your opponent. There is no handicap, though in all three modes you can still set the difficulty level for both players.
- In Time Zone, you both get 2 minutes to rack up as many points as you can. The higher score wins. If your stack hits the top, you lose. If you wish, you can add points to a side with the handicap feature.
- In Spa Service, the first one to clear all the blocks above the clear line is the victor. Again, hitting the top is an instant KO for you. The handicap lets you set the clear line higher or lower than normal.
What's great about this game mode is you get to customize the battles to your liking. You can pick from a truckload of characters from the Pokemon anime, and use their Pokemon to battle. And, yes, you can play in both 2D and 3D mode.
MARATHON: Increase Max Speed
You receive this code after scoring very high on Marathon mode and winning an Endurance Medal.
On the Puzzle League title screen, hold down Z and pres B, A, L, L on the controller. Now whenever you play Marathon, the speed will increase all the way to 99 instead of capping at 50.
In this game, a speed of 99 is BLAZINGLY fast, so be prepared to call out
1P STADIUM: Very Hard Mode
You will get this code after finishing the Hard mode.
On the 1P Stadium difficulty select screen, hold Z and tap L-L-A-B on the controller. You can now select the Very Hard difficulty.
Do NOT attempt this UNLESS you can clear Hard mode without difficulty. Otherwise, you WILL get your head handed to you on a plate. I'm serious. Without the proper training, you will be yanking out locks of hair for hours on end. You will lie awake at night, wondering how the CPU could possibly be so cheap. You will be at your wit's end. You WILL go insane.
...Don't give me that look!! If you think you're so special, go ahead and TRY IT. Just don't come crying to me when you break your controller in a fit of rage.
1P STADIUM: Super Hard Mode
You will get this code after finishing the Very Hard mode.
On the 1P Stadium difficulty select screen, hold Z and tap R-L-A-B on the controller. You can now select the Super Hard difficulty.
You thought Very Hard mode was evil? Wait until you get a load of this. Satan himself obviously laid his ugly hand on the AI for Super Hard mode. Even for veterans, it takes twenty-something continues to clear this mode. My best advice is to attack with as large a chain as you possibly can as soon as a match starts. Most of the time, you can beat your opponent in under half a minute; otherwise, prepare for a long and arduous match.
2P STADIUM: Access Secret Characters
To play as any of the aforementioned characters in the 2P Stadium, you'll need two controllers, and either a friend or some VERY flexible joints.
Hold down the Z button on both controllers, then press the L and R buttons on both controllers at the same time. If your timing is right, you'll be permanently allowed to access the secret characters.
2P STADIUM: Play Mewtwo Stage
If you actually manage to finish Super Hard mode in 1P Stadium, you will receive this code. Fortunately, the game is nice and also calls you a Puzzle Master. I guess that's to replace the self-esteem you lost after getting horribly thrashed multiple times.
On the 2P character select screen, hold down the Z button and enter the following on the controller: B, Up, L, B, A, Start, A, Up, R. (Notice how it spells out BULBASAUR. Nifty.) You'll be whisked away to the Mewtwo stage, with player 1 controlling Ash and player 2 controlling Mewtwo.
Now, this is awesome. Mewtwo just plain rocks as a character. Philip Bartlett had better be getting paid some MAJOR royalty fees for this.