Mermaids of Atlantis


Review by Jeff Cooper



Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: 8.5

mermaidsofatlantis.png (5198 bytes)I've often though that it might be therapeutic if someone would develop a puzzler in which each falling piece represents another Tetris clone. Fit all the pieces together properly, and all the Tetris knock-offs disappear from the screen. Still, American Video Entertainment's Mermaids of Atlantis stands out a bit in the terribly overcrowded genre that draws its inspiration from Bust-A-Move, Columns and, of course, Tetris.

The main screen features a Mermaid at the bottom of the sea; clusters of colored bubbles float out from behind her and rise to the top of the screen (my wife demonstrated her maturity by teaching our three-year-old that the mermaid suffers not from gas but flatulence). Each cluster consists of four bubbles of varying color combinations, the clusters also appear in varying shapes. Your task is to rotate and maneuver the clusters to create combinations of at least four bubbles of the same color, in order to make them disappear. If you mess up, air pockets form (sort of like the spaces in Tetris) and the game ends when the screen fills up.

Yes, the game sounds exactly like a million others, but when you actually play it, you see that it does have some new wrinkles that make it worthwhile. For example every so often a letter bubble floats up; after you collect the letters to spell MAGIC, you win a magic bubble which can be saved and used latter to remove all air pockets on the screen. Like the best of this genre, it's pretty easy to pick up yet hard to master in a hurry. A relatively late release in the life of the NES, Mermaids sports relatively advanced, colorful graphics and a choice of several musical tunes; the game also features colorful intermissions that describe the history of Atlantis (but what will the people who made the Bible NES games think of such dangerous superstition?).

In all, this is a game I can recommend with some confidence. I had the game for over a year before finally trying it out, and I was pleasantly surprised. Like several of the AVE releases for the NES, this one is tough to find and quite collectable. It doesn't hurt that it provides quite a bit of simple (if highly derivative) fun.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 12:32 AM