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A.P.I Review: Mr DOMINO
Developer: Artdink OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Acclaim 1 Player
Game Type: Platform/Puzzle Memory Card
Review Date: November 1998 Standard Joypad

Setting the Scene

domino / doh.min~o / n. (pl. -noes) any of 28 oblong pieces marked 
with 0-6 pips in each half; in pl. game played with these.  

Ever played with a set of dominoes before?
Exactly which game did you play?
Thirty-ones?  Five's and three's?  Last man in the box?

Or perhaps you simply stood all twenty eight pieces up on end creating 
a winding trail.  Then by toppling the first block over you created what 
has become widely know as the Domino Effect.

With this in mind Artdink have come up with a cute little game where an 
animated domino character races around an obstacle course, leaving 
several lines of these oblong blocks in his trail.  Next time around 
they must be knocked over and, if correctly positioned, will trigger a 
number of reactions.


After several moments of thought and consideration I would definitely 
place Mr Domino in the platform bracket.


Visually Mr Domino is a peach of a game.   Both Mr and Miss Domino (and 
family) bound around the clustered playing area with arms swinging by 
their sides.  Mr Domino has a little quiff of hair sticking up from the 
top of his brilliant white 5:2 body frame, while Miss Domino has two 
cute bear shaped ears protruding from the upper half of her shapely 

Each level follows a set theme where your chosen character must follow 
a preset path much in the same style as other platformers, but later in 
the game several alternative routes become available.  

The clustered sets are constructed almost entirely from Polygons.  On 
the opening level there's rooks, knights and pawns to negotiate past on 
the chess board, colored balls block your route across the green baize 
of the pool table and scattered dice must be negotiated on your journey 
across the craps table.  Wandering around a Japanese house obstacles 
appear in the form of discarded items of clothing and fruit falling from 
the table.  

Once a chain reaction has been activated the game smoothly switches to a 
selection of high quality FMV sequences.  Many of these scenes reminded 
me of those used in Micro Machines V3, while the colorful animation and 
intelligent use of lighting effects also match the high standard reached 
in that Codemasters racing classic.

Sounds and Effects

The sound effects are fairly average.  There's bumps, bangs, whistles and 
the occasional untranslatable Japanese uttering, while a selection of 
electronic pop tunes play incessantly in the background which will probably 
appeal to the kids and drive their parents up the wall.


The idea behind Mr Domino's gameplay is relatively simple.  First select 
a male or female character.  You even get to decide the number of spots 
that appear on their bodies (although why it went all the way up to double 
nine is beyond me).  There are two game speed modes - fast or slow, of 
which the latter is recommended for beginners

After a short countdown you must guide the little animated domino character 
around an obstacle course, laying lines of these oblong pieces in his/her 
trail.  Using the directional pad allows you to move left or right, slow 
down or speed up.  Any one button can be used to unload the dominoes 
either singly (by tapping the button) or in a line (by holding it down).      

Where you leave a row of dominos is very important.  You see on the floor 
there are several glowing icons strategically placed around the course.  
The idea is to lay down a line of dominoes that lead up to the glowing 
icon, so that when you begin the second lap you can bump into the blocks 
and knock them over to score points.  Should your the final domino in a 
line land on top of the glowing icon then an FMV is activated and you are 
one step further towards completing the level.  The number of icons 
required to complete a round varies from five upwards.

While many of the glowing icons are situated in fairly accessible 
positions there are several forms of obstacles and hazards which are 
used to make collection more difficult.  Small strategically placed 
studs can trip up Mr Domino making him stumble for a few steps.  By the 
time he recovers his footing the icon has been missed.  Wandering over 
a speed up square will see your character go into maximum overdrive for 
a few seconds, which is usually long enough to turbo past the required 
icon.  Crossing over a slow down squares will grind Mr Domino to a 
virtual standstill and cost vital seconds.

Although there is no set time to activate all of the glowing icons Mr Domino 
eventually becomes tired.  As he moves around the obstacle course his 
brilliant white body gradually darkens.  When he becomes grey... game over.  
Luckily there are several health icons littered around the course which 
will recharge his energy to maximum, but take care as they are usually 
placed near a 'Reset square'.  If this is crossed every glowing icon 
collected is deactivated and the entire level resets taking you all the 
way back to the start.
At first handling Mr Domino isn't easy.  He seems slow to react and 
sluggish to manoeuvre.  However, after a while you realize that this 
lethargic behavior is actually part of the gameplay.  

Value for Money

I loved the idea of Mr Domino but it leaves me wondering just which audience 
it is being aimed at.  The kids would love it, but may find it too difficult.  
Adults may leave it alone thinking it was purely for kids.

Personally I liked it.  The gameplay is fresh, the graphics are very good 
and it definitely has that 'one more go' feel to it... as long as you can 
get by the initial frustrations caused by the control.
GRAPHICS: 16/20 Mr Domino belongs in that category of Japanese games that will have you tearing your hair out... but for some strange reason you cannot put it down.
SOUND: 5/10
VALUE: 15/20


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