Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Sega/Price TBA/Game Gear
Folks who've encountered Columns on other formats will know that it's one dangerously addictive game. For those not in the know, it's a Tetris type affair: you're laced with an empty screen, which slowly fills up with different coloured jewels. The sparklers fall down (at an ever increasing speed) in formations of three which you can guide into place, and you can also change the order of the colours as they fall. Form a line of matching jewels vertically, horizontally or diagonally, and it'll disappear. Fail to do this, and you'll be faced with an ever growing mountain - and when any jewel touches the top of the screen, it's goodnight Eileen (and time for "just one more go...”). The graphics and noise easily match up to the Mega Drive version, and as far as variation in gameplay goes, it's a winner, with a handful of features not available on the ‘Drive version. If you get sick of the sight of jewels, you can play with fruit, dice, blocks or card suits, and in the unlikely event that you get bored of playing the regular game you can try the "flash" game - you start with a ready-built wall of sparklers and it's your task to eliminate the flashing jewel buried at the bottom. There's also a two-player option that'll leave you positively breathless (you'll need a link-up lead and a friend with a Game Gear and a copy of the game) where, á la Tetris, your opponents’ wall of jewels gets shunted up one level nearer the top of the screen with every line you zap - a hindrance that he can only reverse by shunting your wall of jewels up a notch. Columns? It’s a real little gem!
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