POKÈMON PUZZLE LEAGUE (N64)
GUIDE & FAQ
Written/Compiled by DizzyBum 
(David Zielinski - davidz64@earthlink.net)
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REVISION 0.2.0:  September 30, 2000
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CONTENTS:

I. About this FAQ
II. About Puzzle League
 A. Game History
 B. Playing the Game
 C. Game Mechanics
  1. 1P Mode
  2. Versus Mode
  3. Puzzle Mode
 D. Character List
III. Game Modes
 A. Training and Options
  1. Prof. Oak's Lab
  2. PokÈmon Center
  3. Mimic Mansion
 B. Modes of Play
  1. Marathon
  2. Time Zone
  3. Spa Service
  4. Puzzle University
  5. 1P Stadium
  6. 2P Stadium
IV. Et Cetera
 A. Revision history
 B. Thanks
 C. Legal stuff and conclusion

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I. ABOUT THIS FAQ
==============================================

This FAQ was written to be far and away the ultimate resource for PokÈmon
Puzzle League for the N64.  Once Puzzle League is released and I can get
to play it for more than 5-minute intervals, I'll have MUCH more than what
you already see in this guide.  At the moment, unfortunately, this is all
pre-release information, so expect many more revisions in the future.
(Wait, didn't I just say that right at the start?  ...Oh well, just in case
someone wasn't listening...)

So far I've only had the chance to play this game once, during the semi-
crappy PokÈmon Fall Adventure Tour.  This game is the direct descendant of 
Tetris Attack and PokÈmon.  So, those who have played Tetris Attack for the 
SNES will know exactly what to expect.


[UPDATE:  Please be aware that Puzzle League is now on sale!  This section 
will change drastically, once I get my hands on a copy.  Expect me to whine
about this frequently throughout the FAQ.  Sorry.]


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II. ABOUT POKÈMON PUZZLE LEAGUE
==============================================

A. GAME HISTORY
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This game went on sale in North America on Monday, September 25, 2000.

The whole idea of this game began in 1994~95 with a Super Famicom game 
called Panel de Pon.  It was a neat little puzzle game.  About a year 
later, the game was re-done and the artwork was all replaced with elements 
from the popular side-scroller Yoshi's Island.  Then, NOA got smart and 
decided to sell the game over here in the US.  For some inscrutable 
reason they borrowed the Tetris name, renaming it Tetris Attack for all 
the gullible North American children that assume all puzzle games must 
originate from Russia.  (Just don't call it a Tetris game, or I'll rip 
your lungs out!)

The information gets a little scattered after that.  PokÈmon is just so 
horribly popular that Nintendo just couldn't settle for RPGs, pinball, and 
photography sims.  They had to take over other genres, and "Puzzle" 
immediately became the next target.  So the nuts over at NCL whip out an 
old Panel de Pon cartridge, wipe off the dust, and dump the ROM.  A little 
new coding here and there, some new artwork and music, and voila!  PokÈmon 
gets milked even further!

Now that I've done the right thing and shared with you the history of the
game, let's get on to the meat of it.


B. PLAYING THE GAME
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This is the basic premise of the game.  The actual idea may vary depending
on the game mode and field mode you're currently playing.

Tetris Attack veterans, bear with me here.

You are given a large field full of colorful panels decorated with official
Gym badges and other various symbols.  Armed with a two-panel-wide cursor,
your task is to swap those panels around in order to clear them from the
field.  How, you ask?  All you have to do is line up at least three of the
same type of panel either horizontally or vertically, and they're gone.
Place the cursor over the two panels you wish to switch, then press either 
the A or B buttons to swap 'em.  You can also switch panels with empty
space, which can help to flatten the stack if it's getting too high.

You'll see seven different types of panels in this game:

 - Light-blue Cascade-Badges
 - Red Volcano-Badges
 - Green Leaves
 - Golden Marsh-Badges
 - Purple Soul-Badges
 - Dark-blue Diamonds (only when you crank up the difficulty level)
 - Gray PokÈballs (only in Versus Mode; we'll get to that later)

You earn 10 points for each panel that you make go poof, and bonus points
for every combo or chain that you create.  COMBOS are created by matching
four or more panels at once.  When a match-up results in more match-ups,
that's a CHAIN; these are harder to explain without pictures, sadly.  The
idea is that when panels clear, gravity kicks in and the panels above will
fall.  Should those panels end up matching and clearing when they land,
that triggers a Chain bonus.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.  So I don't have to
resort to bad ASCII art to explain it, then.

I should also mention SKILL CHAINS...  These are a specific set of chains
that you create whilst panels are clearing off the field.  You can set
panels to clear after they fall from previous clears, thus creating more
and more chains.  These take lots of practice to master, so don't expect
to become a master overnight (unless you've retained your Tetris Attack
skills, in which case I say huzzah, brother!)

In certain game modes, you can also select between playing on a 2-D 6x12 
field, or a 3-D cylindrical field 12 rows high.  Get used to both, so 
you'll never get bored.

Now, I'll get specific and explain the three major categories of game play.


C. TYPES OF PLAY
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- 1. 1P Mode ---------------------------------

In 1P Mode, it's you against your sanity.  The name of the game here is 
survival.  As time goes on, extra rows of panels will slowly rise from the 
bottom of the stack.  If ever the stack of panels should touch the very top
of the field, your game is over.  Expert strategists can forcibly add rows 
to the stack by pressing the L and R buttons on the controller.  Just don't
overdo it.

As you continue playing, the SPEED LEVEL of the rising panels will gradu-
ally increase.  The speed level can range anywhere from 1 (molasses in
January) to 99 (hypersonic).  If you make a COMBO or a CHAIN, the stack of
panels will freeze in horror for a few seconds as Jigglypuff appears to hum
a tune.  Plug your ears and clear those panels!

When the panels get less than a row away from touching the top, any columns
in danger will alert you by rapidly jumping up and down.  This indicates
you are in DANGER STATUS.  When in danger, make a COMBO or CHAIN to freeze
the rising panels for about double the normal stop time.  Take this time to
clear as many panels as possible, in order to save yourself from having to
start all over again.


- 2. Versus Mode -----------------------------

Versus Mode includes any game involving a two-player split-screen.  The
object is to keep your stack from touching the top before your opponent's
does.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  

Oh, far from it, my friend.  In this game mode, creating COMBOS and CHAINS
will automatically rain down colorful bricks down onto your opponent.
These bricks are collectively called GARBAGE BLOCKS.  They cannot be moved
with the cursor, and will sit there impeding your forward progress unless
you do something about them.  

Creating COMBOS will rain small blocks of varying sizes upon your opponent.
Creating CHAINS will dump full rows of blocks as wide as the field.  If 
your chain is x3 or higher, the block you send will actually be THICKER
than normal.  If you try to clear a THICK BLOCK, you'll notice that only 
the bottom row of the block will change into panels.  Creating an x3 Chain
will send a garbage block two rows thick; an x4 chain will make a block
three rows thick.  The highest you can go is a full-screen block filling a
whopping 12 rows, or an ENTIRE 2D FIELD.  (Notice that THICK BLOCKS 
function differently in 3D mode...  more on this later.)

To remove a garbage block from your field, all you have to do is clear any
set of panels that is subsequently touching the garbage.  Your character
will exclaim something goofy; the garbage block will then transform into
regular panels, which can be used to turn the tables on your opponent.
Notice that any garbage blocks of the same color touching each other will
also be transformed...

From time to time, you'll notice special POKÈ BALL PANELS rising in your
stack.  If you match up three or more of these, you will send a special
CONCRETE GARBAGE BLOCK to your opponent.  These blocks function in the 
same way as the usual colorful garbage blocks...  HOWEVER, these concrete 
blocks must be cleared separately from the usual colorful garbage blocks!  
It doesn't matter if they're touching; garbage blocks with opposing colors
will NOT clear each other.  This can lead to some deadly strategy: try
dumping some colored blocks onto your opponent, followed by a concrete
block, then another stack of colored blocks.  This effectively triples
your attack's effectiveness; your opponent now has to slug their way 
through three sets of garbage blocks instead of simply clearing one 
gigantic set.


- 3. Puzzle Mode -----------------------------

Unique to Puzzle University and its Puzzle Editor mode.  This mode gives
you pre-set sequences of panels and a set number of moves which you can
make with them.  Your mission (should you choose to accept) is to clear all
the panels from the field using the number of moves allowed.

No scoring is involved, and there are no extra rows of panels rising from
the bottom.  What you see is what you get.


D. CHARACTER LIST
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You'll see a whole plethora of characters from the PokÈmon anime in this
game.  In 1P Stadium, you play as Ash going up against all the other 
characters you see here.  You can choose any of these characters to battle 
with in the 2P Stadium.  

Each character has their own unique set of PokÈmon, so don't be afraid to 
pick and choose.  They also have unique voice clips, which can be either
really cool or really annoying, depending on your character preference.
(Note than when you create a CHAIN, your current PokÈmon will squeal with
delight.  Needless to say, this can work to your advantage if your current
PokÈmon's voice is horribly distracting, like with Sabrina's Abra.)

The last four characters (with a * after their names) are SECRET 
CHARACTERS.  Try to unlock them, if you think you can...

[NOTE: All unknowns will be quickly filled once I purchase the game, or if
someone tells me *wink wink* and I credit them *nudge nudge*.]


ASH KETCHUM -  Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle
 Selecting this character: "?"
 Clearing garbage block  : "I'm gonna win!"
 Creating a combo        : "Way to go!"
 Winning a battle        : "We did it!"
 Winning the match       : "?"

GARY OAK    -  Nidoran (male), Growlithe, Krabby
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

BROCK       -  Geodude, Vulpix, Zubat
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

MISTY       -  Staryu, Psyduck, Horsea
 "Let's go!"
 "Good battle!"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

LT. SURGE   -  Raichu, Jolteon, Magneton
 "?"
 "Playtime's over."
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

ERIKA       -  Tangela, Gloom, Weepinbell
 "Prepare to battle!"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

KOGA        -  Venomoth, Voltorb, Golbat
 "Do you choose to battle me?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

SABRINA     -  Abra, Hypno, Alakazam
 "You won't escape."
 "?"
 "I told you so."
 "?"
 "?"

BLAINE      -  Magmar, Arcanine, Charmeleon
 "Red hot and ready!"
 "?"
 "When you're hot, you're hot!"
 "?"
 "?"

TEAM ROCKET -  Arbok, Weezing, Golbat
 "Jessie!"  "James!"  "Meowth, that's right!"
 "?"
 James- *laughs*  Jessie- "Prepare for trouble!"
 Jessie- "Success!"
 "?"

TRACEY      -  Marill, Venonat, Scyther
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

RITCHIE*    -  Pikachu, Butterfree, Charmander
 "?"
 "?"
 "Who's the best?"
 "?"
 "?"

GIOVANNI*   -  Persian, Sandslash, Nidoking
 "The world will be mine!"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

LORELEI*    -  Cloyster, Poliwhirl, Dewgong
 "Hiya, cutie!"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"

BRUNO*      -  Onix, Hitmonchan, Primeape
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"
 "?"


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III. GAME MODES
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 A. TRAINING AND OPTIONS
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- 1. Prof. Oak's Lab -------------------------

New to the game?  Feeling rusty?  Stop on by Prof. Oak's lab for a quick 
tutorial on playing Puzzle League.  He'll show you the basic controls, 
teach you about combos and chains, explain the Versus mode, and introduce 
you to the 3-D Cylinder field.  If you already know how to play, there's no
need to check this out.  But if you're one of those compulsive types that 
has to see EVERYTHING a game has to offer (myself included), then go for 
it.  It couldn't hurt.


- 2. PokÈmon Center --------------------------

Instead of healing PokÈmon, Nurse Joy is controlling the options menu in
this game.  Check your time and score records, look at saved trainer 
profiles, or change the sound and game settings.


- 3. Mimic Mansion ---------------------------

The ultimate wuss game mode.  The game will give you moves that you can 
copy in order to understand how to play the game.  Think of it as a hands-
on version of Oak's Lab.  

Why do I call it wuss mode?  Because you can play the Super Easy mode in 
here.  With very minimal speed and the game telling you what moves to make,
only newbies would dare play this for more than 5 minutes at a time.

This does not deserve to be in with the Modes of Play, because this is 
primarily a training tool.


 B. MODES OF PLAY
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- 1. Marathon --------------------------------

The basic mode of play.  Keep on clearing panels until the stack finally
hits the top or you collapse from exhaustion.  The object is to get as high
a score as possible.  Make combos and chains to freeze the stack for a few 
seconds time; make sure to remember this technique for all other 
appropriate game modes.

You can play the Marathon in either 2D or 3D mode.


- 2. Time Zone -------------------------------

Marathon with a time limit.  You have two minutes to rack up as many points
as humanly possible.  Six panel styles are always used, which can make it a 
lot trickier for the beginner.  Get lots of big combos and long chains for 
the highest scores.

Like Marathon, this can be played in both 2D and 3D modes.


- 3. Spa Service -----------------------------

Once again, it's time for you to prepare for trouble and make it double.
Team Rocket has set a trap and it's up to you to beat them...  by clearing
panels from your field.  I know, the premise is a little odd, but you get
to see tons of neat-o backgrounds featuring the various disguises that
Team Rocket wears!  (Seriously, the artwork in this game is pretty goofy,
but at least you don't have to see Ash make his trademark "Duhhh..." face.)

This mode is divided into stages.  To clear each stage, you must eliminate
all the panels above the Clear Line, which will eventually appear as you 
advance the stack.  Once there are no more panels above the Clear Line, you
move on to the next stage.  Your objective, surprisingly enough, is to 
clear all the stages.

I haven't yet confirmed if this mode can be played in 3D or not, so stay 
tuned for further developments.


- 4. Puzzle University -----------------------

Here, the premise is not speed, but strategy.  You are given a set pattern
of panels, and a set number of moves you can make with them.  Your goal is
to eliminate all the panels on the screen using the amount of moves you are
given.  If you duff a puzzle, don't worry; you can always replay it.  The
puzzles get harder and harder as you progress through the stages, so be
prepared for some guaranteed frustration.

This is a VERY useful tool for learning how to create odd-shaped combos and
multiple chains, so don't just take it for granted; why do you think it's
called the Puzzle "University"?

Apparently you can also access a Puzzle Editor of some kind...  oh MAN, I
need this game.

This mode is only available in 2D.


- 5. 1P Stadium ------------------------------

Prepare to realize your mortality.  In the Stadium, you'll go up against
multiple CPU opponents in the wild and crazy Versus Mode.  Unfortunately,
you're forced to play through the whole thing as Ash.  Oh well, gotta take
the bad with the good, I guess.

Your ultimate goal is to clear all 16 stages and become the Puzzle League
Master, or something like that.  You can play on Easy, Medium, and Hard
modes.  This is excellent training for when you decide to humiliate human 
opponents at this game.


- 6. 2P Stadium ------------------------------

After reading that above section, you could probably deduce what this is.
Instead of going up against a vast array of CPU opponents, you now get to 
fight against another human being to see just which one of you rocks harder.  
The same rules apply: trounce your opponent three times to win the match.

What's great about this game mode is you get to customize the battles to
your liking.  You can pick from a truckload of characters from the PokÈmon
anime, and use their PokÈmon to battle.  Aside from picking your own 
characters, you can set a handicap for both players, which controls the 
starting speed of the rising panels, the "lag time" before panels fall, and 
also changes the number of different panel types that appear.  

And, yes, you can play in both 2D and 3D mode.


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V. ET CETERA
==============================================


 A. REVISION HISTORY
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Rev. 0.2.0 -- September 30, 2000
- NOA decided to be sneaky and release Puzzle league on September 25th
  instead of the 27th.  I should be getting the game by this weekend.
  Expect MAJOR updates come next Monday, October 2.
- Added Character List.
- Added Types of Play.  Subsequently shifted Versus Mode info.
- Ripped out the FAQ section.  It's not going back in unless people
  SEND ME SOME QUESTIONS!!!  I can't emphasize that enough.
- Other little odds and ends.

Rev. 0.1.0 -- September 22, 2000
- Pre-release information on Puzzle League.  Obviously, this guide is 
  nowhere near complete.


 B. THANKS
----------------------------------------------

For lack of a better term, "props" to the following:
 - Nintendo, for actually making this game in the first place.
 - All the regulars at the RPGamer PokÈmon Forum, for being very cool to
   hang with.  Word.  8^p
 - J. Parish (aka Toasyfrog), for inspiring this FAQ format.


 C. LEGAL STUFF AND CONCLUSION
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PokÈmon Puzzle League is the property of Nintendo Co., Ltd. and is licensed
by Nintendo of America in the USA.
(C) and (tm) 2000 Nintendo/Intelligent Systems.  
PokÈmon is (C) and (tm) 1995~2000 Nintendo/Creatures/GAME FREAK.

This FAQ is (C) 2000 David Zielinski AKA DizzyBum.  The text within this
document may not be changed or extracted in any way, shape, or form without
my personal consent.  This guide is not intended for commercial purposes,
so please notify me if someone is attempting to make a profit off my hard 
work.  You may freely distribute this guide as a whole, as long as none of
the original file is edited in any way.

Thanks for your time.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to
e-mail me at davidz64@earthlink.net.

Ciao all.