by SEGA Entertainment, Inc.
Columns is a video game similar to Tetris taking place inside a tall, rectanglar playing area. There are three different symbols which appear one at a time. The symbols fall from top to bottom and the player can move them to the left or to the right, and also cycle through their forms. The symbols disappear when three of the same kind are in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal straight line. If this makes three or more other symbols get in the same position, they disappear as well. The game is not different at all to Tetris and becomes addictive after a short period of time.
In ancient Phoenicia, merchants were fond of a game called Columns, in which players would try to align jewels on a board across, down, or diagonally. Now you can venture back to those times, as you try to line up your own jewels and score some points in the process. As you match gems of like colors, they disappear and a new set falls from the top of the screen. As you stack more and more jewels, they start falling faster and faster, if the screen fills with gems, your game is over. There are several different ways to enjoy Columns: you can play Flash Columns, where you have to make a flashing gem disappear before time runs out; you can practice by yourself; or you can play head-to-head against a friend. If you're ready for a game that's full of strategy and action, then you're ready for Columns.
Sega's Columns for the Game Gear was an instant classic. And the sequel's fabulous too! Vic Tokai's Columns III for the Genesis comes loaded with new features that make it a blast for up to five players with the Sega Team Player Adapter.
In this ultracompetitive version of Columns, you can attack your opponents by making blocks rise underneath their jewels as they try to clear their fields. Blocks also destroy your opponents' currently falling sets of jewels, adding to the height of any blocks already in their fields and reducing the number of blocks in yours. If the jewels stack up to the top of the field...it's game over for the attackee.
The Poison attack is even more devastating, not to mention totally whacky If you wipe out four rows of jewels at once, a Flashingjewel appears. Eliminate it while it's still flickering, and your opponent will freak as his playing field flips upside-down, his controls become reversed, his Next (preview) window goes blank, or his jewels fade to black and white.
Advanced mode features Super Flashingjewels. Eliminate one, and your Poison attack intensifies. You could dump five rows of invincible blocks into your opponent's field or make his jewels fall at nearly impossible speeds. You might make all the jewels in your own field disappear. And then again, your opponent might not be able to use Magic or Flashing Jewels for the rest of the match, because they'll be destroyed when they appear in his Next window. Pretty cool, huh?
In one-player mode, Columns III features three difficulty setting, each with multiple levels. But the game really shines with more than two players. Each time someone wins a game, the playing fields are shuffled around so that you don't know who you will be attacking to your left or right until the game begins. With playing fields flipping upside-down, jewels turning black and white, and blocks forcing columns up and down, Columns III creates some hilarious chaos!
During play you collect treasures that will help you during your next match. The Magic Bell eliminates all jewels from your playing field. The Magic Weight drops several rows from the block beneath your jewels. And the Magic Stone eliminates blocks completely.
Create diagonal rows to prevent your stacks from getting too high.
When playing a more advanced opponent, mimic his jewel stacking. You'll distract him while you improve your technique.
If you're anticipating a large chain reaction and your attack points are in the twenties, use them! They max out at 30.
You receive Flashing Jewels when you clear out multiple rows at once. When the Flashing Jewel appears, you have a limited amount of time to clear it, so don't bury it!
Concentrate on defeating one opponent at a time.
- If a Poison attack strikes you in single-player mode, check your inventory for Antidote.
- Take advantage of your Next window. If you know where to put the next set of jewels, press down on the D-Button to accelerate its fall and one-up your opponent.
- Leave plenty of time to finish the entire game in one-player mode. Columns III lacks passwords and cannot be saved.
- In one-player mode, save your magic treasures until you reach the more advanced levels. You can defeat the computer in the earlier levels unaided.
- Wait for your opponent to attack. Then counterattack. You shrink the block under your jewels and raise a block under his.
2006-04-27 Columns is a game of strategy and quick thinking.