Dr. Mario

Graphics: 3
Sound: 3
Control: 4
Depth: 4
Overall: 4

Dr. Mario

By: Nintendo
Released: 1990

Dr. Mario is a fun Tetris variant, somewhat infamous for letting little kids play with pills. As the titular character, you drop two-tone capsules into a giant pill bottle. Why? To eradicate germs of course! Setting the bizarre premise aside, it's an addictive puzzle game with very catchy music. You can rotate the pills as they fall into the bottle, and four in a row of the same color will clear the pieces.

The one player mode is entertaining and the cut scenes with the germs are a nice touch, but Dr. Mario really shines in two-player versus mode. If you can cause a chain reaction of germ clearing on your side of the board when playing against an opponent, the game will drop some junk pieces into your foe's pill bottle. It's now a standard feature in two-player falling block puzzlers, but Dr. Mario is the first place I remember seeing it.

Dr. Mario has been re-released on many subsequent Nintendo systems, but none of them really improve upon the original. If you have an NES and like puzzle games in the slightest, I highly recommend tracking down a cart.

- Ben Langberg