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Taisen Puzzle Dama Preview

Publisher - Konami
Developer - Konami
Platform - N64
Release Date - January 1999
Type - Puzzle

One of the more prolific N64 developers, Konami, recently announced Susume! Taisen Puzuru Dama (working title), a puzzle game currently scheduled for a March 26 release in Japan. Roughly translated, the title comes out as "Let's Go (Ahead)! Ball Puzzle Battle." Hey, don't complain -- it's certainly a more compact name than "Go for it, Goemon -- The Dance of the Peach-Mountain Shogunate" or "Discovered on the 64!! Tamagotchi: Everyone's Tamagotchi World."

The 8 MB cartridge marks Konamiís entry into the much neglected 64-bit puzzle genre and brings together three relatively distinct games from the arcade. The first two are variations on Puzzle Bubble (Bust a Move), where the object is to group three balls of matching colors in a Tetris-like environment. You need to rely on quick reflexes and your ability to plan large combos -- especially when playing in the two-player "taisen" mode. The more balls you remove at the same time, the more problems you cause on your adversaryís side. Both graphically and gameplay-wise, these two modes are strikingly similar to Compile's puzzle hit, Puyo Puyo Sun64.

The difference lies in the gameplay -- one uses a "swapping" method, the other features the ubiquitous Manga girls whose voices change as you group the balls into threes. If that isn't thrilling enough, the third game on the cart is a bowling-type effort with a four-player capability, whose rules are just like those of 10-pin bowling.

Considering that no publisher has dared to pick up Puyo Puyo for an international release, it is very unlikely that Konami will bring Taisen Puzzle Dama out over here. But don't fret, we will definitely review the Japanese version when it comes out and let you know whether it's a worthy import.