Title Screen (Mega Drive version)
|Publishers||Compile (MSX), Tokuma Shoten (Famicom), Sega (Arcade), various others|
|Platforms||MSX, Famicom Disc System, Famicom, Arcade, NEC PC-9801, Super Famicom, Game Boy, Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, PC-Engine CD, N-Gage, Virtual Console, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Sharp X68000, Fujitsu FM Towns|
Famicom Disk System
Virtual Console (Mega Drive)
Virtual Console (Arcade)
Virtual Console (Game Gear)
Puyo Puyo (ぷよぷよ, Puyo Puyo) is the first game in the series, made in 1991 by Compile, using characters from Madou Monogatari. It was created by Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani, the founder of Compile, who was inspired by certain elements from the Tetris and Dr. Mario series of games.
The original MSX and Famicom versions of the game contain Endless and Mission modes. In Endless, the player matches Puyo until their screen fills, with a giant Puyo or Carbuncle appearing periodically to assist the player. In Mission, the player is given several preset boards, each with a certain goal (such as creating a 3-chain or clearing 8 Puyo simultaneously) that the player must meet to win.
The arcade version focuses on competitive play, and thus replaces these two modes with Scenario. Scenario consists of a series of battles against AI opponents and includes Beginner mode, which gives the player three opponents unrelated to the main game, Normal mode, which features 13 characters, and Difficult mode, which automatically sends the player to the fourth battle of Normal. Most of the arcade version's home ports reintroduce Endless mode.
In this mode, two players play against each other. In exactly the same fashion as before, by out-chaining one another, the player tries to fill up their opponent's field. Due to the lack of later Puyo Puyo games' offset rule, victory can be achieved by simply making a five or six chain and waiting out the opponent.
Scenario story and opponents
The Scenario mode features Arle Nadja, protagonist of the Madou Monogatari series. She has learned a spell known as Owanimo, which converts four or more similarly-colored creatures into pure energy. She plans to use this spell to defeat Satan, but must first battle twelve other opponents.
The English version features a slightly different plot: Arle, now known as Silvana, must protect her home from the Black Kingdom. Each character's English name is noted in parenthesis where applicable.
Normal and Difficult levels
- Harpy (Dark Elf)
- Sasoriman (Scorpion Man)
- Panotty (Johnny)
- Zoh Daimaoh (Elephant Lord)
- Schezo Wegey (Devious)
- Minotauros (Max Minotaur)
- Rulue (Lulu)
- Satan (Dark Prince)
Puyo Puyo was originally released for the MSX2 in 1991 and was simultaneously released for the Famicom Disk System as a pack-in for Tokuma Shoten's Famimaga magazine. The FDS version was later re-released in cartridge form in 1993.
In 1992, Sega published the much-more famous arcade version on their Mega Drive-based System C2 hardware. This version, which includes Scenario mode, is the basis for all other ports. The System C2 version of the game only supports one rotation button (clockwise) and temporarily lowers the game difficulty whenever the player continues after losing, quirks that are not carried over into any of its home ports.
Arcade hardware variations
The arcade emulator MAME currently lists four variations of the arcade game:
- Japan, Rev. A: The first version of the game. This version contains a bug that disables the AI's ability to manually drop Puyo whenever the opposite joystick (P2 if the player is P1 and vice versa) is pushed to the left or right; this is most easily seen with Suketoudara or Harpy, who are programmed to manual drop a certain number of Puyo at the start of a match.
- Japan, Rev. B: The most commonly-distributed version of the game. Removes the Mega Drive header contained within Rev. A and fixes the bug detailed above.
- World: The English version. Does not fix Rev. A's AI bug.
- World, bootleg: The English version, presumably modified to work on illegal hardware. No notable gameplay differences.
- The Mega Drive port is arcade-perfect in terms of gameplay, visuals, music, and sound effects. However, due to slight audio hardware differences between the Mega Drive and System C2, almost all of the voice work is removed. As the game is based on Rev. A, it is possible to reproduce the AI glitch with Controller 2.
- The Super Famicom port (Super Puyo Puyo) features a smaller screen resolution than most console versions, forcing the median to be thinned and the character portrait to be placed in the opponent's field. However, this port retains all of the original's voice acting.
- The Game Gear port includes Mission mode from the MSX2 game, and also contains a hidden English translation.
- The PC-Engine port (Puyo Puyo CD) includes full voice acting for cutscenes, in addition to exclusive scenes that play when the difficulty is set to Hardest.
- The Wii Virtual Console Arcade port was the first online-enabled Virtual Console game.
The game was ported to Amiga by request of the Amiga Power magazine and was featured on a cover disk under the name Super Foul Egg. It was then ported to RISC OS on Acorn by Owain Cole (and featured on an Acorn User cover disk), and finally ported to Java.
Puzlow Kids and arcade translation
An English-translated version of the System C2 arcade game exists. This version features English-language voice work, changes several characters' names and personalities, and modifies Harpy's design to remove her wings. The circumstances of its release are unknown; it was allegedly released in Europe and may or may not have been released in 1992.
Additionally, the Game Gear port of Puyo Puyo, when used in a non-Japanese handheld, becomes the fully-translated Puzlow Kids. In this version of the game, Puyo are known as "P-Kids."
Instead of directly publishing Puyo Puyo in the west, Sega decided to repackage the game as a Sonic the Hedgehog spinoff. The resulting game, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, was released in 1993 for the Sega Mega Drive, Game Gear, and the Master System. (The latter release only occurred in Europe and Brazil.)
Nintendo later approached Compile for their own Puyo Puyo game, leading to the 1995 Kirby's Avalanche (Kirby's Ghost Trap in Europe) for the SNES.
- Rulue is the only character in the game that doesn't have a vocal catchphrase. This could be related to the fact that many of the voices were recycled from the original versions of Madou Monogatari 123, where Rulue does not directly fight Arle. However, she receives a catchphrase in the fully-voiced Puyo Puyo CD.
- Rulue's initials on the default high score table are LUL.
- Puyo Puyo is one of two Japan-exclusive Game Gear titles that adapt to non-Japanese handhelds, the other being Ronald McDonald in Magical World.
- The Famicom Disk System version was the second-to-final game for the peripheral. The final game was also a Famimaga pack-in.
Mega Drive Prototype
A prototype version of the Mega Drive port exists. Though it has not been dumped, video footage exists. Notable additions/changes include:
- A timer is located at the top of the player's field.
- The preview window labels always read "1P" and "2P". In the actual game, they read "ARLE" and a 4-letter abbreviation based on the current enemy.
- There is an opening cutscene that features several Puyo raining down upon Arle.
- A sixth, turquoise-colored Puyo. It is similar in appearance to the MSX/Famicom version's gray Puyo.
In addition, there is allegedly a prototype Mega Drive cart containing an English translation, but no footage has been released.
Some claim that the English arcade version of the game is not legitimate and is instead an unlicensed bootleg. While there is no definitive proof either way, there are facts that could suggest that the game is indeed official:
- Sega used a particular naming format for its physical ROM chips across all of its hardware: [X]PR-XXXXX. MAME has the World version's ROMs listed as EPR-15196 to 15200, a range that is completely unique to itself and far different than the Japanese version's EPR-15034 to 15038. Furthermore, its nearest known neighbors (EPR-15192 and MPR-15201) belong to 1992 releases.
- The Beginner and Normal/Difficult ending text in the English game is identical to that of Puzlow Kids, barring minor spelling/punctuation/grammar changes.
- While most characters would revert to their Japanese names in later English releases, Satan continues to be known as the Dark Prince. None of the characters are named in Puzlow Kids, but the Normal/Difficult ending mentions the Dark Prince.
- The English arcade game and Puzlow Kids share "All Right!" and "Oh no..." Vs. Mode graphics that are completely distinct from Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine's equivalents.
One possible culprit for the confusion is MAME. From 2001 until 2005, World Bootleg (then labeled "English, bootleg") was the only English game available; its label could be interpreted as either "English-translated bootleg" or "bootleg copy of an English release." A comment included in an early version of the Sega System C MAME driver ("...we don't have an *original* english set yet however") could suggest that the latter interpretation is true.