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3D Tetris Package Art
††T&E Soft
3D Tetris

T&E Soft was one of very few developers that signed on to develop for what I consider to be Nintendoís most underrated, however premature, endeavor: the Virtual Boy. With 3D Tetris, the developer hoped to bring the classic and addictive Tetris experience to the next dimension. The game delivers a mediocre puzzle experience on Nintendoís eye-strainer.


3D Tetris relies heavily on the 3D capabilities of the Virtual Boy. The well in which the player dumps the blocks is nothing more than a long, squared tube. The end of the tube is where the blocks go, which are made using vector graphics in order to convey their dimensions. A very simple interface, but complicated when it comes to the capabilities of the Virtual Boy. This title succeeds in making sure the player knows the dimensions of the blocks so he or she can put them together at the end of the well.


The game doesnít attempt to advance the Virtual Boyís audio output, nor does it try to create any sense of nostalgia by using classic Tetris tunes. There really isnít all that much to say here. You will hear appropriate noises for block rotation and some tunes while you play, but the aural experience is minimal.


3D Tetris offers players three modes of play: Center Fill, 3D Tetris, and Puzzle. Each mode of play offers an easy, medium, and hard difficulty. Depending on your choice of difficulty, blocks will move faster and come in an increasingly strange variety, which makes them more difficult to connect coherently. Each mode offers the same basic goal: to fill the back of a well (a square tube, as mentioned earlier) with blocks. The player must connect the blocks until they create a flat surface in order to get points. The only way to eliminate blocks and get points is to make a full square.

Center Fill mode requires the player to drop blocks around a center point in the well, and then drop a block in the center point in order to eliminate the surrounding blocks. There are three submodes within this mode: Type A, Type B, and Clear It. Type A is high-score-driven. Simply get as many points as possible. Type B is the same, but the round starts with some blocks already included in the well as obstacles. Clear It is level-driven. When you succeed in the puzzles in this submode, you will advance to the next level until you complete the game.

3D Tetris is the main mode, which is the same as Center Fill without the center portion. It features two submodes: Type A and Clear It. In Type A, players attempt to get the high score by filling brackets in the well for points. Clear It is again level-based and requires players to complete five brackets in order to advance to the next stage.

Finally, Puzzle mode offers players a bit of a change to the standard formula in the two other modes. There is only one way to playó-Clear It. At the beginning of the mode, players are shown a structure in the well made out of Tetris blocks. It will disappear and players must reconstruct it mostly from memory using the blocks provided. A 2D picture is shown in the bottom right corner for aid in recreating the structure, but it is incapable of conveying three dimensions, and can thus be confusing.

The first two modes are standard Tetris with a twist, which isnít bad, but it isnít necessarily better. At the time of the gameís release, it may have been impressive to see the blocks in 3D, but it certainly isnít too impressive now. The Puzzle mode is something of a train wreck. Unless you have a photographic memory and are, perhaps, an architect, you may be able to recreate the structures without a whole heck of a lot of tries. The game succeeds in providing a Tetris experience for the most part, but it is limited for a 3D title by todayís standards.




3D Tetris is a mediocre game. With the N64 on the horizon, it is odd that this game appeared on the Virtual Boy with its limited capabilities, but then again, there are still plenty of questions beyond that about the Virtual Boy itself. This game is no reason to jump to eBay and buy a Virtual Boy. However, if you already own one and youíre considering expanding your library, you may consider dropping a few dollars on it. If you decide to get this game, make sure you keep your expectations low because it certainly isnít anything particularly revolutionary. By today's standards, I wouldn't reccomend it. Even by 1996 standards, this game was not totally up to par.

final score 5.6/10

Staff Avatar Patrick Ross
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"Reggie kicked my ass and took my quote."

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