Dr. Mario (game)
Dr. Mario (stylized as "D℞. MARIO" on the western logo) is an arcade-style puzzle video game created by Nintendo, and was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in 1990. The gameplay is very similar to that of Tetris, although in Dr. Mario the object is to line up pills to destroy viruses.
The following text is taken directly from the instruction manual.
Dr. Mario works in a virus research lab at the Mushroom Kingdom Hospital, alongside Nurse Toadstool. When one of the experiments goes wrong, the hospital is flooded with tri-color viruses. Armed with Megavitamins–a medicine of his own invention–Dr. Mario sets out to neutralize the outbreak.
All the Dr. Mario games feature a large grid as the main game interface. This grid (in the shape of a large pill bottle) starts out partially filled with three types of viruses, Chill (blue), Fever (red), and Weird (yellow). The main objective of the game is to clear the grid of the viruses. This objective can be fulfilled with the help of multi-colored pills called Megavitamins. These pills are two-blocks wide and come in the same color as the viruses. Usually, they are sectioned off into two random colors, but occasionally contain only one random color. These pills are guided down the grid by the Player's . They can be rotated by the . To eliminate a virus, four blocks of a color (pill or virus) must be piled up. The stack will then disappear. If a virus was contained in the stack, the virus will be eliminated as well.
If the stacks of pills or viruses reach the top of the grid, the player receives a Game Over.
When a 1-Player game is started, the player can choose one of 21 levels (from 0 to 20). The number of viruses at the beginning is equal to four times the level number plus four, all the way up to level 20 (although the level number can go up to 24 in the NES version, there will always be 84 viruses at the beginning of levels 20 and above). The speed of the pills as they fall can also be selected: low, medium or high. As the game level progresses, though, the speed will gradually increase.
A 2-Player Vs. game mode is also available for selection. In this mode, two players battle to either clear their grid first, or cause their opponent to get a Game Over. The Level and Speed options are chosen independently by each player before the game begins.
During a two-player battle, whenever a row or column is cleared with one Megavitamin, a corresponding number (two, three, or the maximum, four) of randomized pill halves drops on to the opponent's grid. The player who is given the pill halves must wait for the random colors to drop onto their screen before they can drop a Megavitamin.
For the Game Boy version, a Game Link cable is required to play the 2-player Vs. game mode. On the 3DS Virtual Console version, 2-player mode is not supported.
The Game Boy version of the game was placed 45th in the 100th issue of Nintendo Power's "100 best Nintendo games of all time" in 1997. The NES version placed 69th in the 200th Issue of GameInformer's "Top 200 Games of All Times". The game placed 51st in IGN's Top 100 NES Games list.
Reviews for the game were generally positive, although there has been some criticism from parents about the medicine in a children's game. ACE in particular was more negative, giving the Game Boy version 510/1000, criticizing the repetitive gameplay and uninspired graphics. They also stated that the game "reeks of plagarism", stating that it was worse than the original games it was modeled after. GameRankings gave the game 69.25%, while review aggregator Metacritic gave it a 66 out of 100 based on 10 reviews.
Remakes and ports
VS. Dr. Mario
The game was later released on the VS. System under the name VS. Dr. Mario. This version drops the Slow mode and features a less generous scoring system. In the NES version, the first virus killed by a vitamin yields 200 points (on Normal mode), the second 400, the third 800, the fourth 1600, so each virus is worth twice as much as the last. In the VS. version, the first virus is worth 200, then 400, then 600, then 800, so a virus is worth only 200 points more, and not twice as many points, as the previous virus.
A slightly altered version of Dr. Mario known as Dr. Mario BS Version 「Ｄｒ．マリオＢＳ版」 was broadcast for the Satellaview system between March 1997 and June 2000. It has the same graphics and music that was used in the remake from Tetris & Dr. Mario which was not released in Japan. It should also be mentioned that the complete game is still in the ROM, just locked out.
List of re-releases and ports
Dr. Mario was originally under the title "Virus", which had similar gameplay, but the goal was to cure viruses in a sick animal. What appears to be Nurse Toadstool is also visible in the game.