Tetris Attack, known in Japan as Panel de Pon, is a puzzle game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo. It was first released as Panel de Pon in Japan, and was renamed as Tetris Attack for North American and European audiences.
Despite the usage of the Tetris name, Tetris Attack uses a different style of gameplay. Instead of falling blocks, Tetris Attack uses rising blocks, which the player must clear quickly enough before the screen fills up. This is done by navigating a rectangle-shaped, two-block long cursor around with the d-pad, causing two blocks to switch positions if the cursor is on them or to move one block left or right.
While Panel de Pon uses an original plot and original characters, Tetris Attack takes characters from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Tetris Attack was later released for the Game Boy. It also saw a Japanese release through the Satellaview attachment for the Super Famicom. Tetris Attack has had many sequels for many consoles, including the Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and the Nintendo DS.
The game's single-player story mode takes place in the world of Yoshi's Island, where Bowser and his minions have cursed all of Yoshi's friends. Playing as Yoshi, the player must defeat each of his friends in order to remove the curse. Once all friends have been freed, the game proceeds to a series of Bowser's minions, and then to Bowser himself. During these final matches, the player can select Yoshi or any of his friends to play out the stage. Strangely, almost all of Yoshi's friends in the game are actually enemies from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Poochy is the only one to be Yoshi's original friend. Almost all of the characters are having their own partners, that can be seen in their background picture.
Panel de Pon
The evil devil king Sanatos has cast a spell over the world of Popples to cause fighting among the fairies. The Fairy of Flowers, Lip, is unaffected due to her magic stick. Lip must defeat each of her fairy friends in a puzzle game to return their personalities to normal and face off against Sanatos.
Upon completion of hard mode, it is discovered that the final boss, the Goddess Corderia is actually Lip's mother and Queen of the fairies. She tells Lip that it was all a test to see if she had the strength to be the new Queen of the next generation of fairies.
In the release of Panel de Pon within Nintendo Puzzle Collection, the daughters of each of the Fairies take the place of the original characters, while the original bosses remain. In addition, several new characters and stages have been added.
Tetris Attack characters
- Yoshi: Yoshi is the main character and the hero of the game. He is on a journey to free all of his friends from the evil King Bowser's curse. His partner is a Baby Yoshi called Little Yoshi. Yoshi's voice sample in the game is his usual strange sounding muttering used before Yoshi's Story.
- Lakitu: He is a well known enemy from many Mario games, but this Lakitu here is actually a friend of Yoshi's. He is the game's easiest opponent, and is paired up with a Goonie. His voice in the game is a strange voice shouting "'Ey!".
- Bumpty: Bumpty is a little penguin, who is the second opponent to face. He says that people say he is cute, which actually makes him angry as he would like to be thought as cool. He is partners with Dr. Freezegood, and he giggles whenever he gets a combo or a chain.
- Poochy: Poochy is Yoshi's friend and likes him because Yoshi gives him eggs. Poochy's partner is a Grinder, and he barks when getting a combo or a chain. He is the third opponent to fight against.
- Flutter: Referred as Flying Wiggler in the game. This Wiggler with wings is the fourth opponent in the VS. mode and his partner is an Eggo-dil. He likes flowers much, but doesn't like that someone steps on his friends. His voice sample is a high-pitched voice that shouts "Attack!".
- Prince Froggy: Though being called simply as Froggy in Tetris Attack, Prince Froggy is the ruler of a species called Frog Pirates and seemingly has become a friend of Yoshi's after their first encounter. He is teamed up with Clawdaddy, and makes stereotypical "Ribbet!" sounds like a frog.
- Gargantua Blargg: Gargantua Blargg is the ruler of the Lava World, and thinks that everyone should fear him. Eventually, the rain caused by Bowser and Kamek put an end to his powers. He is working with a Flamer Guy. He makes some odd "Aarghh!" like sounds when getting many points.
- Lunge Fish: Lunge Fish is an extremely ugly fish, that actually doesn't like Yoshi very much, because Yoshi gives him an indigestion. Lunge Fish has a Flopsy Fish as his partner, and makes very much strange grunts.
- Raphael the Raven: Raphael is the leader of all Ravens. He is partnered up with Shy Guys. He makes some bird like noises shouting "Caww!". Raphael is the last ally to be rescued.
- Hookbill the Koopa: He is a large Koopa, who speaks in a hasty and stressed way. He is the first opponent to face after rescuing the other allies. He makes grunty noises and has no partner.
- Naval Piranha: Naval Piranha is a giant Piranha Plant, and is battled after defeating Hookbill. Her partners are her own Naval Bud's, and can be heard shouting "Babeh!". She is the last boss of Easy mode.
- Kamek: He is Bowser's apparent adoptive father, Bowser's main advisor, and a well known Magikoopa too. His partners are his very usual minions, Toadies, and he shouts "Hocus Pocus!" when getting a combo or a chain. He is the last boss of Normal mode.
- Bowser: King Bowser is the Koopa King, and Mario's arch-nemesis. He growls very much, and is the game's final boss, only to be battled if playing Hard mode or a higher difficulty. Bowser isn't paired up with anyone.
Panel de Pon characters
- Lip: Lip (リップ Rippu) is the main character in the original game. She is a flower fairy who resembles a human child with reddish-brown hair in a long ponytail. She has a flower-shaped stick and is the default character you play as in 1P VS. mode.
- Windy: Windy (ウィンディ) is a wind fairy with pink hair and a green skirt and shirt. She is faced in Stage 1 of 1P VS. mode.
- Sharbet: Sharbet (シャーベット Shabetto, Japanese pronunciation of "sherbet") is a snow fairy. She has icy blue hair, white gloves, a green skirt and T-shirt and a short, purple cape. She is battled in Stage 2 of 1P VS. mode.
- Thiana: Thiana (ティアナ) is the forest fairy. She resembles a pre-teen with semi-transparent green clothes and long green hair tied back in a ponytail. She is faced in Stage 3 of 1P VS. mode.
- Ruby: Ruby (ルビー Rubii) is a jewel fairy, and the one fairy who resembles the stereotypical winged fairy. She wears a dark purplish-blue dress and has green hair that extends above her head. She is met in stage 4 of 1P VS. mode.
- Elias: Elias (エリアス Eriasu) is a water fairy. She resembles a peaceful young maiden with very long blue hair and a turquoise dress. She is faced in Stage 5 in 1P VS. mode.
- Flare: Flare (フレア Furea) is a fire fairy. She resembles a young woman with long, curly red hair with a tiara on top of her head, a sleeveless blue shirt and a blue skirt. She is faced in Stage 6 in 1P VS mode.
- Neris: Neris (ネリス Nerisu) is a mermaid with long green hair and seashell brassiere. She is faced in Stage 7 of 1P VS. mode.
- Seren: Seren (セレン) is a moon fairy who is the last of the fairies to rescue before fighting the enemies. She is depicted as a young woman with long curly blond hair, a crescent moon on her forehead, a white dress and a crescent moon staff which bears her a striking resemblance to Sailor Moon. She is fought in Stage 8 of 1P VS. mode.
- Phoenix: Phoenix (フェニックス Fenikkusu) is a large Phoenix which serves as the first enemy of Panel de Pon, faced in Stage 9 of 1P VS. mode.
- Dragon: Dragon (ドラゴン full name Biigu Monsuta Doragon (Big Monster Dragon) is a large dragon fought in Stage 10 of 1P VS. mode.
- Sanatos: Sanatos (サナトス Thanatos) is the last boss of Normal 1P VS. mode and second-to-last of Hard and Harder VS. mode. He is only faced in those three difficulties, specifically in Stage 11. Sanatos is a large and muscular Satan-like demon with a large red cape, a mohawk hair cut, two large horns, and a beard on his chin. He is shown to carry a sheathed sword in Stage Clear mode.
- Corderia: Corderia (コーデリア full name Great Goddess Cordelia) is the final boss of 1P VS. mode and only faced when the player plays the Hard and Harder difficulties. She represents Stage 12. She is Lip's mother and poses as a villain in order to test Lip's abilities. She is a colossal woman with long brown hair.
In Tetris Attack, a cursor is used to move tiles. The cursor can be positioned anywhere within the playing field, a 6 x 12 grid. When the action button is pressed, the two tiles beneath the cursor will exchange position, i.e. they are "swapped" or "flipped".
When three or more tiles of the same color are lined up in a row or column (not diagonally), they light up and subsequently disappear from the playing field. Once they are cleared, any tiles that were above them will drop. The cursor is free to move while tiles are disappearing, so players can line up more tiles.
When more than three tiles are cleared with a single flip, it is called a combo. Combos are counted on-screen with plain numbers (4, 5, 6, etc.). The maximum number of tiles that can be cleared in a single flip of the tiles during normal play is 14, and anything higher than 10 is rare during routine play. There are some ways done in regular rounds so that 30, the highest registered combo, is shown.
Chains are instances when tiles which fall as the result of a clear trigger another clear. The player may rearrange tiles while the clear is taking place in order to cause a chain to occur. If this is timed in conjunction with the falling of tiles, the chain is called a skill chain. Chains are counted on-screen with numbers with an "x" prefix (x2, x3, x4, etc.). The max chain that registers in the game is 13. A chain higher than 13 is recorded as x? and is not worth points.
Tetris Attack has the following game modes:
Players play until they lose. The objective is to attain the highest score possible, with the maximum score being 99,999 points.
In this mode, a certain number of the tiles must be cleared to finish each of the thirty stages. A "clear line" somewhere down the stack indicates how many tiles must be cleared. Once everything above the line is eliminated, the player has completed that stage.
Versus (one or two players)
In this mode, either two human players compete or one human competes with the game's AI opponents. Here, garbage blocks can be sent by each player to his/her opponent (see Gameplay). The first player whose stack reaches the top of the playing field loses. Garbage blocks can, however, be stacked higher than the playing field temporarily, as long as the defender can freeze the stack and lower the tiles/blocks to fit within the area of the playing field before it rises again.
A specific pattern of tiles is laid out on the playing field and must be cleared in a specific number of moves. There are 60 standard levels and 60 more advanced levels that can be unlocked with a password after beating the 60th standard level.
Differences from Panel de Pon
Aside from several new tracks based on Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, all of the in-game music in Tetris Attack remains unchanged from Panel de Pon. The Tetris Attack title theme is an arrangement of the title theme for Yoshi's Island, and Yoshi's theme and the Game Over screen are both arrangements of the Story Music Box theme from the same game. The original Panel de Pon tracks that were replaced are still present in the ROM code, but were dummied out of the game itself. These tracks are included in the Tetris Attack SPC emulator music archive, available at Snesmusic.org.
Password system in one player versus mode
Panel de Pon does not offer the opportunity to enter passwords in 1 Player VS. mode. This was added to Tetris Attack.
Computer opponent in one player versus mode
In Tetris attack, the AI in the final four stages of Hard Mode in will attempt to score chains, whereas in Panel de Pon, it will not.
Tetris Attack was first released in 1996. It was updated for the Nintendo 64 console and rebranded as Pokémon Puzzle League (PPL). PPL was not a direct port of Tetris Attack; it included many changes and new features along with the characters from the Pokémon anime and game series that replaced Yoshi and friends. PPL added a training mode, a puzzle editor, and a 3-D game mode that takes place in a cylindrical playing field three times the width of the 2-D board. It also had smoother game play and smarter computer opponents than Tetris Attack.
In tandem with Pokémon Puzzle League, Pokémon Puzzle Challenge was released for the Nintendo Game Boy Color. PPC dropped the puzzle editor and 3-D mode but had a new game mode of its own, Garbage mode, which was basically Marathon mode with the addition of garbage blocks that periodically fall onto the stack. Whereas Pokémon Puzzle League added several new features, Pokémon Puzzle Challenge was essentially Tetris Attack with a Pokémon theme. An additional difficulty level, "Intense" mode, was added for Pokémon Puzzle Challenge.
Panel de Pon, the predecessor to Tetris Attack, has been remade for GameCube as a component of Nintendo Puzzle Collection released in Japan in 2003, receiving a graphical and audio facelift along with a new four-player competitive mode. It is unknown whether the Yoshi's Island infusion would have been applied to Panel de Pon for a North American release like it was applied to the SNES version, since the game's release in North America was quietly cancelled.
Panel de Pon is also available in the Game Boy Advance title Dr. Mario & Panel de Pon, released in Japan in 2005. This title has also been released in North America as Dr. Mario & Puzzle League. Both the Japanese and North American releases feature generic backgrounds, with characters and story mode completely removed, making it the first time the game has been released on its own merit, without the infusion of cartoon characters from one source or another.
Planet Puzzle League is the most recently available iteration of Panel De Pon, released in Japan (as Panel de Pon DS) and the US in the second quarter for the Nintendo DS. The Japanese and American versions of Planet Puzzle League are identical, save for the ability to unlock a background featuring Lip and her stage theme from Panel De Pon in the Japanese version, the only way to unlock this feature in the American version is by using a cheat device. This title is also Wi-Fi enabled on Nintendo's Nintendo Wi-Fi Connect service so that players may compete with each other around the globe.
References in other media
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, there is an item called Lip's Stick, named after the Panel de Pon character replaced by Yoshi for Tetris Attack. Lip's Stick poisons the opponent that it contacts, as a flower is planted atop his or her head. While some in-game graphics exclusive to the Japanese market were replaced with more recognizable items, Lip's Stick was left as-is with its trophy explaining its Japanese-only origin.