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SonicBlue's Bricks
(Eric Schneider)


"The classic Czar of puzzle games goes full force for QB"

For nearly two decades, hardcore video gamers from around the world have been playing version upon version of the world's most addictive and immortal puzzle game, Tetris! And because of the game's charming combination of simplicity and depth, Tetris definitely has a home among the list of cloned classics in QuickBasic.

Manipulate your terrain and form multiple Tetris with the many classic puzzle pieces you've grown to love. Or, turn on the "Crazy Block" mode for shockingly difficult pieces that break all tradition! Make sure you also try Special Blocks, which give you control over columns for a whole new way to play Tetris!

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
The game's high point. SonicBlue's Bricks opens up with a very beautiful Title Screen (shown at the top of this review.) There were also some nice effects in the game's opening. The biggest surprise for me was the rotating blue block used as the game's selector. The selector's highly detailed and gives SB Brick's an almost Playstation look.

What the game did lack though was some more animation during the game. While you get to play Tetris in the middle of a very well-rendered background, there isn't really a lot of movement taking place during the game. At first it might seem that I'm asking too much out of a Tetris game, but this Eric Schneider uses graphics as his strength, so there should at least be some snappy special effects when you form a Tetris or something.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
N/A Actually, SonicBlue's Bricks does come with a music mode. It's just really cumbersome, and instead of making original music or taking the Tetris theme, Eric decided to rip some movie tunes. Not such a bad thing though, since SonicBlue's Bricks plays best without the music anyway.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
If you're looking for a Tetris clone in QB that captures the control and pace of the real thing, SonicBlue's Bricks is a good choice. Bricks faithfully mimics every detail of a standard Tetris game, from the rotation of the bricks, to the high-scoring impact of a Tetris. You'll also notice that the playing field for SB's Bricks is fairly larger than most Tetris playing fields. This allows you to have a little more safety because you have more space to manage your blocks.

This becomes especially useful if you turn on the "Crazy Blocks" mode. When this mode is turned on, you may randomly receive unethically strange-looking block pieces that are difficult to place. This is when the extra space really comes in handy.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Poor) It's very hard to earn story points from a Tetris clone, and SonicBlue's Bricks makes no attempt at such.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
This game gets two stars just because it's Tetris! Ever since Tetris got its big break on the NES, Tetris variations have been popping up on every video game console, PC, and Mac without little or no sign of ever slowing down in terms of video game sales or proliferation. And that being said, I myself haven't played a lot of QB Tetris games. But as far as clones go, the response and control of SonicBlue's Bricks moves as well as the real thing. 
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
Because Tetris has become such a fixture in the video game industry, modern Tetris games try to compensate on the old formula by adding new twists to the game. SonicBlue's Bricks has its own twist by inventing three new blocks: the adder, the filler, and the destroyer.

Ironically, these three new blocks actually give you more an opportunity to have control over your game, because you can manipulate the size and shape of each column. So if you make a mistake, you can always make corrections.

But whether the special blocks feature is turned on or off, this Tetris clone is a more calming variation, never going so fast that you're under pressure. As long as you don't make any major mistakes, Bricks will hardly pose a threat.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
There must be at least a billion Tetris games available on the Internet, so it's really tough to make a Tetris variation that stands out from the others. SonicBlue's Bricks fails to do so because of its lack of options and surplus of glitches.

First off, the three new "special" blocks don't really add much gameplay to the game, and the "crazy blocks" mode is just more of the same strangely-shaped blocks I've seen from other Tetris games.

Also, nowadays Tetris games need that multi-player mode. Sorely, SonicBlue's Bricks does not include such a mode. And the single player mode would have been nice, except the game crashes when you make more than 99 lines. So all in all, Bricks falls one line short of a winner.

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: N/A Final Rating: 10/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wTo play SonicBlue's Bricks, unzip the file and run "SETUP.EXE". Then, once the game is setup, run "SBBRICKS.BAT".

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