Puchi Carat (known as Puchi Carat - Gemstone Ohkoku No Sekai in Japan) is a 1997 arcade game by Taito.
Player uses a paddle to direct a ball and destroy gem-stones in order to either clean one's play-area of gems, or to destroy as many gems as possible to add to the amount of gems in the other player's field. The amount of gems increases every once in a while and if the gems reach the line at the bottom of the play-area, the player loses. It is also possible to drop groups of gems by destroying a gem that holds up the others, similar to Puzzle Bobble (Bust-a-Move in the U.S.), another Taito game.
The game has a story-mode where the player has to compete against eleven of the twelve characters from which the player chooses one as his own. Characters are fully animated in the "anime" style, and perform a number of actions and yell Japanese to reflect the situation a player is in. In the story-mode the player must collect twelve gems by challenging other characters in order to make a wish. Each character has their own ending when the game is played through on the highest (Expert) difficulty setting.
In the game manual there is a short introduction to what happens in the story:
"Dreams will come true if you collect the precious gems...
The world of "Gem Stone" is where science and magic coexist. Legend tells of 12 precious gems for peace and prosperity, they believed that the gems made dreams come true. But 500 years ago the gems were taken by thieves and passed into the hands of people with high magic powers. These people dominated the poor and weak who had lost the precious gems along with their hopes and dreams. A long time has passed and the stolen gems are shining in the possession of 12 mysterious people. These 12 are each seeking to own all the gems and so realize their personal dreams. Some seek peace and others power and domination..."
Story mode is where you choose one character whose story you want to follow as you play through the game. There are three versions of story mode: practice, original and arcade. In practice mode the cursor is large so it is easier to bounce the ball and hit the stones. There are only 3 rounds. The original version has a fully animated introduction in anime style. You can choose what order you face your opponents and once you have defeated a character you gain their attack pattern and can choose to use it instead of your character's original attack pattern. In the arcade version you cannot choose what order you face your opponents and you complete the game using the same attack pattern all the way through.
Trial mode is a way of evaluating the player's level of ability. You can choose Easy, Normal or Difficult. Easy mode can be cleared when 100 lines of stones are destroyed; Normal can be cleared in destroying 200 lines of stones, and in Difficult 300 lines of stones must be destroyed. After finishing the game you see a ranking screen which tells you your ranking; number of lines of stones cleared; time spent; the maximum number of stones destroyed at once (highest drop); the maximum number of stones hit successively in one shot, and perfect scores where all stones on the screen were destroyed.
Rapid mode is where you just have to keep destroying the stones. When you lose the game, you see a screen that tells you how many lines of stones you cleared and the time spent.
This mode comes in four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Difficult and Very Difficult. The aim is to clear 50 lines of stones in the fastest time possible.
Player vs player
Player vs Player lets you play against a friend. You both select a character then you can choose the size of the cursor and the attack power depending on who wants or needs an advantage. The game works like in story mode where as you drop stones, they are sent to your opponent's screen making it harder for them.
- Breakout - the original game of this genre.
- Puzzle Bobble - A puzzle game from Taito's Bubble Bobble game series.
- Block Gal - An anime stylized Breakout clone made by Vic Tokai/Sega in 1987.
- Arkanoid - An earlier Taito Breakout clone from 1986.
- Taito Legends 2 - A compilation disk of over 39 Taito arcade games, including Puchi Carat.