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Musapey's Choco Marker
  opened by paleface at 03:17:58 08/26/03  
  paleface [sys=DC; cat=Puzzle; loc=JPN]
Unique (far as I know) puzzle game in which you play some kind of freakish mutated Care Bear hopping around on color-coded, fruit-themed block formations floating in space. The bear-thing is probably Musapey but I still have no clue what his "Choco Marker" is (and no I'm not going to guess, freako!). There's gravity on these block formations so you can fall off a block onto another block at a lower altitude, but if there's no block below when you walk over an edge, gravity simply rotates ninety degrees so that the wall you just walked past becomes your new floor.
This takes getting used to but fortunately the digital control is a snap and you've really only got the single "place block" button to worry about (a second button rotates the view in 90 degree increments). You need to isolate the "BOSS" blocks in each level, this is accomplished by surrounding blocks with two blocks of a like color, at which point both the surrounded and surrounding blocks disappear. If one of the blocks involved is a special Bomb block, that block explodes, taking out all blocks within a certain radius. The power of the explosions you'll trigger from Bomb blocks builds up as you remove blocks from the stage, I think. There are also Star blocks that can be converted into blocks of a particular flavor by surrounding them with blocks of the desired type.
There's a time limit, of course, and even in just the "Normal" difficulty stages this can get quite tight, particularly since you need to get block "combos" (knocking multiple blocks off the boss block clump at once) to extend your time. Later stages nefariously position blocks so that it's impossible to surround any of them right off the bat, forcing you to take a risk on building up an encroachment from scratch on one side first.
The whole crazy rotating 3D gravity thing is a trip and hitting a big bomb block can be quite satisying. And there's something amusing about guiding this little prancing furry mutant thing around the formations, and watching him hop and twirl from block to block. Close-up the art actually looks pretty bad, or bland at best, and many of the sound effects get annoying fast.
It's a fun, challenging puzzler though, the likes of which you probably haven't seen before. And there's always the 2P "vs" type split-screen mode if you have a friend along--there's a clock to beat here as well as the other player, and I think there's some sort of negative feedback between players as they break blocks but I'm not sure about that as it's kind of hard to tell what's going on while playing 2P by myself. The DC version has the original Naomi arcade levels (it calls them "Arcade," anyway, so I'll take their word for it) as well as an equally large set of levels cooked up for this console port.

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