Tengen Tetris (NES)

Tengen Tetris Box Art


System: NES

Release Date: May 1989

Developer: Atari Games

Publisher: Tengen

Genre: Puzzle

Tetris is one of the most known video game titles worldwide. If you had a Gameboy, you’ve played Tetris. If you had a Nintendo, you likely also played Tetris, but… probably not this one. This is Tengen’s Tetris. This version of the game was released in arcades and on computer, but when it was ported to the NES, Nintendo went to court because they had the rights to publish the console versions. Unfortunately for Atari, they had to recall all copies of the game a month after release.

There are several modes available to play here. You can play one player, which is probably where you spend most of your time. You can play two player, where competitors play simultaneously. You can play cooperative, where both players control a piece at the same time on the same board. You can also play competitive or cooperative with the computer.

Different shaped tetronimoes drop from the top of the screen. You can spin them with the A and B Buttons and move them left and right to plop them where you want them to go. You clear the lines by filling each square from left to right. You earn points for single, double, triple, Tetris (four line) clears. As you clear more lines, you advance in level. There you see how many of each type of line clear you earn. All the while, you get to watch little pixelated Russian dancers. As you advance levels, the pieces drop faster and faster. This can catch you off guard and until you get in the groove, you’ll see your game end earlier than you’d like.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are nothing special, I’m giving it this high of a score because of the dancers.

Sound: 1.5

There are four different themes to play to. I don’t think any of them are as iconic as the Nintendo version, but there are similarities.

Gameplay: 3.5

The gameplay is simple and there are a lot of modes. I thought playing the cooperative mode with the Computer was the funniest thing as I messed with where it was planning to go.

Difficulty: 2.0

I don’t find Tetris difficult, it’s just a matter of getting into the groove and racking up the points.

Fun Factor: 3.0

It’s Tetris, of course it’s fun.

Overall Grade: 2.3

Tengen’s Tetris earns a C+. This isn’t my favorite version of Tetris, but it’s a solid game. Play it with a friend.

Tengen’s Tetris Video Review on YouTube