Thursday, December 16, 2010

Puyo Puyo CD Tsuu

Compile / NEC Interchannel
Super CD-ROM

The gameplay of the original Puyo Puyo CD is intact here with a couple of new features. Now, you can negate the damage caused by your opponent's combos by immediately countering with a chain of your own, and you can really bombard your enemy if you clear your playing field entirely.

Tsuu's soundtrack doesn't live up to the standards of its predecessor, but it's still pretty good. You'll get hit with a terribly annoying in-game tune when you reach Arle's second tier of adversaries, but there's also a fantastic upbeat track that plays during the later matches. There are about twice as many characters here as there are in the first Puyo--returning cast members plus plenty of new competitors. Some of the veterans retain their playing styles from the previous release.

There are lots of pre-match animated bits to enjoy this time, and they're even funnier than those in the first game. However, you have to conquer a tower-hosted gauntlet just to unlock them. Then you have to play through 30+ matches in one-player mode--with no save feature--in order to watch them all. You then unlock more of them... and have to win 30+ matches again to watch the second set.

Thanks to the designers' apparent affinity for unlockables, you have to earn the right to select from all the different characters in two-player mode. This may not be easy, as Tsuu's single-player adventure is quite difficult, though not to the extreme that the first game's reaches.

Tsuu is genuinely rare and usually costs a significant amount of money. But while it might seem superior to its predecessor in many ways, it's actually not as good in my estimation. The first episode has better music, and its animated bits are immediately accessible (the importance of which cannot be overstated, as these games rely a great deal on their cuteness and charisma).

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