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The New Tetris

Rated E for Everyone


Nintendo 64 (N64)




H2O Entertainment


August 1999

ROM Size:

96 megabits


One to Four Simultaneous






Controller Pak



> Final Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0


Typically, Tetris updates and sequels have opted to take untraveled paths. All seemed to stray from the original game's roots. Some Tetris games added different ways to clear lines, whereas other Tetris games honestly had little to do with Tetris other than the name. Nintendo's The New Tetris, not to be confused with Hasbro Interactive's The Next Tetris for PC and PlayStation, reverses this trend.

Gameplay & Control

The New Tetris is classic Tetris at its finest. It's the same Tetris you first played in the late 1980s. That means there are still only seven shapes. That means you play on a two-dimensional field. That means there's nothing new that drastically affects the core Tetris gameplay. The "new" in The New Tetris, however, means there are some small—but great—changes.


For instance, now you can hold a piece. There's a randomly selected piece in a top-left corner box when you start. Pressing the L button will switch the held piece with the one currently coming down the screen. It's a great feature. Another new addition is the spin move. Have you ever had a piece you wanted to fit in a gap when it was blocked by another piece? Now you can do that by rotating the piece into the gap before it settles into place. Additionally, multi-squares and mono-squares can be formed. A silver multi-square, which nets five lines for every line you clear, is a 4x4 square composed of different shapes. A gold mono-square, which nets 10 lines for every line you clear, is a 4x4 square formed with four like pieces. Finally, the best is saved for last: The New Tetris comes equipped with a four-player mode.


Four choices are available at the title screen: One Player, Multi Player, Wonders, and Options. The One Player game mode lets you choose among Marathon, Sprint, and Ultra. There's also a choice between playing against a computer opponent or not. The goal in Marathon is to get as many lines as you can and to play as long as possible. In Sprint, you have three minutes to collect as many lines as possible. With Ultra, you see how quickly you can get 150 lines.


The Multi Player game mode, which is the heart and soul of The New Tetris, lets you play any of the aforementioned one-player styles with a twist: garbage. Garbage can be dumped onto an opponent when you clear two or more regular lines or one-plus bonus line. You can turn off garbage if desired (only recommended for two-player games), or you can choose between Hot Potato and Directed. In Hot Potato, all garbage is sent to the player who has the "potato." The "potato" is randomly passed to someone when the person who has it clears one or more lines. Directed garbage means you can choose whom will incur your wrath. This mode is where things get interesting.


For all your hard work, collecting lines will build 3D polygon representations of the Seven Wonders of the World. The total number of lines that go toward this is accumulated in all game modes. The Wonders option enables you to see how many more lines you need to collect to finish the current Wonder. Each finished Wonder gives a new background and new music.


The Options screen is used to view scores, manage data, and change sound options. A nice feature of The New Tetris is the built-in feature to save 10 names and the number of lines each person collected. It also saves high scores for the one-player modes. There's an option to transfer data to and from a Controller Pak, too, so you can take lines you won home with you. Finally, the sound option lets you listen to music and put it on random play.

Graphics & Sound

As expected, The New Tetris isn't graphically stunning. But the polished look, which includes lavish backgrounds and sharp pieces, is neither too bland nor too active. The scrunched screen of the three/four-player mode isn't as bad as one would expect, either. The music, on the other hand, is incredible. Neil Voss, the man behind the music in Tetrisphere, returns with some jammin' tunes for H2O Entertainment's second Tetris game for the platform. The New Tetris' Wonders of the World theme is matched with the soundtrack, as each musical track fits the Wonder and its background. The ethnic music, ranging from African to Russian to Mayan, is flavored with techno or dance grooves.


Quite simply, The New Tetris is one of the best multi-player games on any system. No game is more universally known or played than Tetris, which makes it a favorite among males and females. And once garbage is factored into the mix, profanity-laced matches will ensue. Multi-player mayhem has never been so fun. Tetris is a must-have in every gamer's library, and The New Tetris is now the best version available.
















Not available.


Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: February 8, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A




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