Gosh! it has been quite a while since I've made game spotlight page, but what better way to resume work than with an excellent piece of NES homebrew
exposed and reviewed.
Mystic Pillars is the third NES game release done by Sivak, initially released as a limited edition of 33 carts to be followed by a regular release like
the first two games, Siamind and Geminim.
While I'm not a fan of the limited editions of NES carts, I decided to pick one up when I had the chance. A few weeks later the limited edition cartridge
#12 arrived at my doorstep, or actually crammed with extensive force into my mailbox, luckily nothing broke and I'm not talking about the mailbox.
The cartridge is a nice red slightly transparent cart with a black label and the non-limited actually uses the very same cartridge color and label as the
limited edition, the only visual cartridge/label difference being that it doesn't say limited edition obviously.
What we have here is a game inspired by the classic game of columns, a screenshot from the Sega Megadrive/Genesis version can be seen below.
When having powered up the game you are presented with the infamous Sivak splashscreen, becoming some sort of trademark I supposed. Then the titlescreen
slowly appears along with probably the coolest tune I have ever heard made for a homebrewn game. While the music plays the titlescreen will change between
5 or so colors, sorry I didn't count them but it's somewhere in that area.
If you have a special place in your heart for fruits or playing cards, the tileset can be changed to this or a few other tiles, a pretty good idea to add
some variation to the game.
In true Tetris style the music can also be changed - there's 3 different tunes to choose from, or you could just decided to switch it off completely. The
game itself is pretty straight forward, place three blocks of the same color horisontally, vertically or disgonally they will dissapear and you've just
earned yourself some points in the game.
Fortunately the game has a built-in instructions manual in case you lost the real one... oh right none was included, so nevermind :-)
Be careful though when stacking the fruits or other, the screen it just one block container higher that you're able to stack the columns and if you should
choose to add another row of three blocks with two of the reaching outside the screen, you'll look no matter where you put it. I don't know if this is a bug
or something, but it would only seem fair to me that the two invicible blocks wouldn't cause the game to end but merely drop down into the play area once
other blocks had dissapeared.
All in all though this game is pretty amazing and well made, it's cool to see Sivaks NES games getting more and more advanced and I'm sure the next
upcomming project, a platformer, will blow us all even further away.
As a final note I'd like to mention that the non-limited version already is available at RetroZone ( link ).