Tetris is a 1991 puzzle game released for Philips CD-i. It was developed by Philips P.O.V. Entertainment Group (a core group of Cinemaware employees) and published by Philips Interactive Media (an American subsidiary of Philips Media, the publishing label known for releasing three The Legend of Zelda games and Hotel Mario for Philips CD-i). Tetris for Philips CD-i is another variant of a 1984 Russian puzzle game, but it can be considered atypical because of a completely different presentation in comparison to many other variants from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The gameplay concept follows the rules of the classic 1984 puzzle game. Geometric shapes fall from the top of a playfield to rest on the bottom; fit the pieces together, and the line they form disappears. If the pieces don't form lines and eventually stack up to the top of the playfield, the game is over. Difficulty increases by dropping the pieces faster and faster over time.
Why It Rocks
- Extremely impressive graphics and visuals by Philips CD-i standards. The mere fact that the game was created in 1991 seems be something magical, as you could say about the level of artistry in a 1983 game, Dragon's Lair. Also impressive is the fact that the game came out on the Philips CD-i, a console that was released in 1990, a time when 3D games (that were technically 2.5D) started to crawl.
- The game is accompanied by beautiful and pleasant to watch nature in a looped full motion video. Speaking of nature, the game is accompanied by forests, a waterfall, mountains, a desert, and an area with a river.
- A very nice diversion is that the gameplay takes place in a large rectangle standing on the above-mentioned natural areas, which looks like a statue, only with a screen.
- Great 3D-rendered intro for a 1991 game. This is a real proof that the CD-i not only made it possible to perform full motion video scenes, but even rendered animations, which, considering the hardware limitation, it runs fine.
- Fantastic and unbelievably relaxing soundtrack that would surely be suitable as music for an elevator, shopping mall, or visiting one of these natural areas in the dark with the accompanying aurora and big moon. Jim Andron, who is responsible for this musical artistry, is to be commended. Interestingly, some, and even most, who have had contact with the CD-i version of Tetris, consider the music "aesthetic".
- The gameplay-wise, by Tetris standards, it's still in a high quality. In addition to the standard aspect which is 0-to-9 levels, it also offers height and the ability to show the next block.
- The game is generally fun to play, especially to kill boredom and during a short break. Additionally, this game has a replay value, mainly because it offers a completely unusual graphic and musical style, as befits Tetris.
- This game is the complete opposite of nostalgia pandering. It is one of the few Tetris games that does not modify any of the tracks that have been extremely often intertwined in this series, offering absolutely something new.
- This is one of the few games alongside Lemmings, The Apprentice, The 7th Guest, Burn:Cycle for which the Philips CD-i was worth a buy, despite being a hardware with many flaws, for which the console was a commercial failure, additionally having a low reputation by Zelda games and Hotel Mario.
- The game lacks a few basic things from Tetris, such as game type, music type, and doesn't allow you to play two players.
- For a puzzle game, especially by Tetris standards, the controls are cumbersome, and possibly the worst in the entire Tetris franchise.
The CD-i's Tetris received mixed reviews by critics, and positive reviews by players. The Video Game Critic reviewed the game in 2002, gave a rating of B-, describing "All in all, this is definitely the best looking Tetris I've played, but nowhere near the most fun." The game was rated A- by the readers based on 26 votes.
Defunct Games, similiary to The Video Game Critic, gave for Philips' Tetris a rating of B-, saying "Overall, Philips didn't make Tetris "legendary" for their infamous CD-i console. They remade Tetris in an excellent style, but they also managed to diminish the gameplay of the classic game, making it less fun and less of a classic."
However, in later years, the game received less favorable reviews than in the previous decade. For example Retro Game Reviews gave a 5 out of 10 stars, summarising "Tetris on the Philips CD-i is certainly unique but it has a few design quirks that hold it back. If the play-area was larger and the d-pad could be used to drop blocks this could have been a good variation on the puzzle classic; instead it falls flat and the multimedia novelty wears off quickly."
Top 5/10 Philips CD-i Games
Retro Pals' video
- The Video Game Critic's review + readers' rating: https://videogamecritic.com/cdisz.htm#Tetris
- Defunct Games' review: http://www.defunctgames.com/review/767/tetris
- Retro Game Reviews' review: https://www.retrogamesreview.co.uk/2015/08/tetris-philips-cdi-review.html
- GameFAQs: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/cdi/579981-tetris
- Johan Öberg's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDPOBBZmf8M
- wizzgamer's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D_f9aElGwA
- implantgames' video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz9ru23r7tk
- FlatZone's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpYfImMUjoo