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Puzznic - The Atari Times


Brain Cracker
by Matthias Jaap

March 12, 2002
Since Tetris started its success around the globe, many players were demanding more and more puzzle games. Japanese arcade company Taito invented Puzznic which combines gravity (Tetris blocks) with Memory. The arcade machine was obviously inspired by Mangas (Japanese comics). Once you completed a level a few blocks were removed to give free sight to a more or less naked comic woman.

However, every home conversion I know of did not include these women - even the arcade perfect PC-Engine version. Puzznic was converted to the Atari ST, Amiga, C64, PC.Engine and Game Boy. 

The game rules are the same on every platform. You control a cursor over the playfield. There are a few blocks on the screen. When you place the cursor on a block and hold the fire button, you will be able to move the block if there is space at the left or right hand side. The block has to be combined with another block that matches its symbol. There are also cases where you have three blocks carrying the same symbol. In this case, you have to try to destroy three blocks at once. In higher levels, blocks have to be used to built "bridges" for other blocks.

There is only one other gameplay element: an elevator. In some levels, good timing is required to push blocks on the elevator at the right time. However, the elevator does not appear in all levels.

While some levels appear to be impossible first, every stage has a solution. One good hint is to look at the architecture of each level.

The quality of Puzznic's graphics is average. While it looks certainly better than Tetris, the ST version looks like it was just thrown together to have a version for the Atari. The graphics are weaker compared to the arcade machine and the NES version looks nicer, too. There are some examples for good-looking puzzle games (e.g. Atomino) but Puzznic was possibly only a fast conversion.

One thing that I never liked about Puzznic was that it was never available for the Lynx. Puzznic doesn't have the same potential as Tetris or Klax but it is one of the better puzzle games. If you have no chance to play the arcade, Amiga or NES version the ST conversion will be the next best choice.

Thanks to Ron Corcoran, we have screenshots!
This game is fairly simple on graphics.
But it's a very addicting game!
System: Atari-ST
Publisher: Taito
Genre: Puzzle
Graphics Score: 45%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 81%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 80%

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