Tonights episode Super Puzzle Fighter 2 X, special guest star reviewer

Tired of all the games that substitute hot graphics for engaging gameplay? Sick of spending $50 and finding out it wasn't worth the effort to put it in the machine? Then I prescribe a steady diet of Capcoms's Super Puzzle Fighter Turbo! Highly reminiscent of Compile's perennial puzzle-a-thon (is that a word?) (Bean 'em up, © uk:r 1997) Puyo-Puyo a.k.a. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche. This game will have you wondering where the time went when you realize it's 3 AM.

Puzzle Fighter originally ran on Capcom's CPS 2 arcade hardware. The good news here is that Saturn could reproduce the game flawlessly. Not that PF is a tour-de-force visually, but any arcade-perfect conversion is always a good thing. It features your typical puzzle-game layout with one box on either side of the screen into which multi-colored gems fall from the sky. Sound familiar? The big difference here, however, is that you get to choose a character from either Street Fighter or Dark Stalkers to be your on-screen alter-ego (replete in traditional super-deformed style). As you perform certain combos (see gameplay) your character performs multi-hit combos on your foe! It doesn't affect the outcome but it does set it apart from other puzzlers.

The music is your typical Capcom synth-rock with guitars and an annoying back-beat, but it doesn't grate that badly. At any rate it's not any worse than any other Capcom SF or DS sound tracks. I would say, though, that this is the place their games need some work (IMHO). Anyhow, the game is sooo addictive you probably won't even notice it!
The basic idea here is to eliminate the various colored gems as they fall from the top and fill up your area causing the game to end (deja vu, man). You then use what is referred to as a crash gem to eliminate the accumulating gems. The crash gem is just one of the four basic (red, green, blue, yellow) that flashes and allows you to remove all matching gems that lay vertically or horizontally of that gem. As you eliminate gems they create counter gems that slowly bury the other guy. As this happens your onscreen character does varying degrees of punishment to his enemy. Got it so far?

Where it gets interesting though, is that you can combine gems of the same color into gems that can get progressively larger and larger as long as there in the shape of a square or rectangle. Now, by strategically lining up groups of squares and hitting them in the right spot with a crash gem you can set off a combo/chain reaction that buries your opponent. Then you do the dance of victory while your cartoon buddy on screen beats the pulp out of his nemesis!!! Is this game great or what!? And this is when you play the computer! Imagine how much more fun it would be when playing against a friend! Ah the power! By the by, it's probably important to note that whereas most puzzle games are only fun against a friend, PF is awesome as a one-player game as well. So if you've got no friends this game is still fantastic. And although you may lose some friends because of this game, well, they must not have been your friends in the first place (at least that's what Mom always said).

Suffice it to say you should go buy this game now! It's addictive, fun, and even really challenging in one-player mode. So what are you waiting for? Get up off your butt and go buy it!!! Then you can send me some mail and tell me how right I was (not that I have an ego problem, or anything -nah)!

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