it had been a few years since i’d played dr. mario on NES. the next entry in the series was the version on GB which was released just a couple of months after its older brother. when i’d played the NES version i’d been somewhat bored by how limited the combo system was compared to classics like puzzle league, but this time around i spent more time trying to make more-involved combos, in part because you get a familiar little bonus riff if you clear a certain number of pieces at once.
the combo system has turned out to be much more interesting than i’d originally thought, and i was more struck by the considerations of matching both horizontally and vertically than the first time around, although this rendition of the game itself didn’t grab me enough for me to want to invest a whole lot of time mastering the ins and outs of it. the presentation is perfectly fine for a game boy game, in terms of the graphics and sound, but the number of options is quite minimal, pretty much just your basic solo and vs. modes. i beat level 20 on the medium difficulty, but the higher levels of the high difficulty setting were incredibly cheap. i didn’t mention this in my previous post on the NES version, but as with that game at these levels the viruses are stacked so high that it really feels like it’s just a matter of luck whether or not you’ll be able to get the stack down to a point where you can actually just play the game instead of scrambling blindly. i don’t doubt that there are some dr. mario masters out there who can pwn even this level of difficulty, but for the average player it just feels unfair.
not much more to add. the game is a good portable version of the original NES classic, but with a host of modern alternatives this is a game that can be skipped over except by the most OCD of nintendo fans (like me) or those who have the nostalgia factor to contend with.
GB dr. mario makes its case for these links:
– as with the NES version there are little cut-scenes after levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 on high mode. instead of the viruses sitting in a tree and watching objects fly by, in this case they’re underwater and watching objects swim by. if you’re curious, here’s a video of the first three cut-scenes (the objects are a fish, crab, and flying fish) and a video of the final ending, which has an entertaining surprise twist
– review of 3DS VC release at nintendolife.com
– really trippy commercial from the 80’s
– entry at wikipedia
– apparently there was an operation-like board game