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STay Atari! Part 2

November 9, 2008

STay Atari? Luckily for us, some people have.

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A plucky fellow who goes by the name of DMA has treated us to his remake of Data East’s wonderful and very japanese puzzler Magical Drop.

As stacks of ‘drops’ descend from the ceiling, you must pick up and drop individual bubbles, arranging them in such a way that three or more of the same colour are touching in the same column. When this happens, those drops disappear, and all the same colour drops that are touching. After those drops disappear, any resulting groups of three also disappear, resulting in high scoring combos.

Special drops include those that once eliminated, eliminate all those of a similar colour; rocks will turn into drops of the same colour when adjacent to a group being eliminated; bubbles can not be picked up but will pop when you place drops on the same column. Using these special drops to create big combos is the key to achieving big scores.

Each game starts at a very sedate pace, and survival isn’t an issue so you can set up some nice combos and think about what your doing. Later on, the drops descend at a frightening pace and your drop rearranging must be instinctive, almost an a sub-conscious level. The game encourages you to enter that trance-like state normally reserved for the most challenging shmups. Twitch puzzling has finally hit your ST.

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The game also features a two-player mode, where you play simultaneously, and your combos of two or more add rows to your opponents screen, seriously messing up their plans (and probably their undercrackers).

The graphics are very plain, which is a shame. If they had been handled by one of the talented artists still active in the Atari ST scene then this game would be pushing for a perfect 5 score. However, they do not detract from the excellent, addictive gameplay as they are always crystal clear and you will never mistake the drops for one another.

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The game opens with a funky digi/chip tune that really rocks, and the intro screen and game itself are accompanied by similarly high quality tunes. The best music I’ve heard on an Atari ST game for quite some time.

Coded in C using the GODLIB library developed by Reservoir Gods, Manical Drop brings a style of puzzler not yet seen on the ST, and I am eternally grateful to DMA for converting an arcade classic.

Score: stickstickstickstick

You can download it from pouet.net.

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