POKÈMON PUZZLE LEAGUE (N64) GUIDE & FAQ Written/Compiled by DizzyBum (David Zielinski - davidz64@earthlink.net) ---------------------------------------------- REVISION 0.2.0: September 30, 2000 ---------------------------------------------- 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 ---------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------- 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.] ---------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------- II. ABOUT POKÈMON PUZZLE LEAGUE ============================================== A. GAME HISTORY ---------------------------------------------- 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 ---------------------------------------------- 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 ---------------------------------------------- - 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 ---------------------------------------------- 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 "?" "?" "?" "?" "?" ---------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------- III. GAME MODES ============================================== A. TRAINING AND OPTIONS ---------------------------------------------- - 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 ---------------------------------------------- - 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. ---------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------- V. ET CETERA ============================================== A. REVISION HISTORY ---------------------------------------------- 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 ---------------------------------------------- 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.