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Columns II - November 11, '00 by Dorsola
Game:Columns IICompany:Sega
Type:PuzzlePlayers:1/2

When I was introduced to Columns for the very first time, I played a version in the arcade that had some really nice music to it. I can't remember nowadays if that game was more competitive than the original Columns or not, but I was disappointed to find that Columns itself wasn't the one I was thinking of in all the time I'd been searching for it. But now that MAME supports these games, I did finally identify the music... and much to my surprise, that cool-sounding music led to an even bigger disappointment. (I hope this Review is grossly inaccurate since it describes the Japanese release...)
Turns out the music is from Columns's sequel: Columns 2 - The Voyage Through Time. This game puts a new twist on the Columns puzzle game by giving you one of two game types to play: Flash Columns and Versus Mode. In Flash Columns, your goal is to clear away one or two specific, flashing jewels in a prearranged block. Unfortunately, having a goal in the game changes the whole premise of the game - and for me, that ruined it. In addition, you'll occasionally have a random block change into a skull-head of a certain color, and if you clear away a line of jewels that contain that skull, your entire puzzle shifts a couple of units upwards - possibly killing your game! The added difficulty really doesn't help the game along much...
The other mode, Vs. Mode, forces you to play against another person and try to defeat them. When you clear more than 3 jewels at a time or score a chain reaction, you can mess up the other player's playfield and cause their whole playfield to shift up several units at a time. That's about it.
Other than that, there's nothing new in this game. The focus has gone from scoring points to achieving goals - suddenly, the number of points and jewels you end up with at the end of the game just aren't important anymore. This really takes away from the Replay Value for me... and the game is further hampered by inferior (and often gawdy) graphics, several really bad soundtracks (I only like one of the songs in the whole game - the rest of them are hard to listen to), occasional interruptions in game flow, and really poor execution of the game's title idea. (It's only vaguely possible to see which of the four time periods you're supposed to be in for each level.)
I'm sorry, Sega, but you blew it on this sequel. Columns was one of those games that didn't really need improving... at least in my opinion. (Presentation, yes, but gameplay was just fine, thank you. :)
Graphics
6
4
Sound
Play Control
7
9
Challenge
Replay Value
5
10
Performance

Screen Shots

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2000 EmuViews