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It's still Tetris, which means it's still fun, but the change of control sets this version of the classic game a step back from my favorite versions of the game. In my humble opinion the best versions to get are Tetris Max (Mac/PC shareware) and - still going strong - the original, gadget-free version for the black & white Game Boy. Overall, Philips didn't make Tetris "legendary" for their infamous CD-i console. They remade Tetris in an excellent style, but they also managed to diminish the gameplay of the classic game, making it less fun and less of a classic. When you think about it, maybe that is an accomplishment which can be labeled "legendary" indeed!
It would seem nearly impossible to screw up the gameplay itself, but Philips managed to find a way. First of all, the actual game is played on a small vertical strip that barely covers a quarter of the screen. The game board, score, number of lines, and next piece are all crammed onto this small piece of real estate. The bricks are too small and there are no sound effects, even when you clear a row. But the game's biggest sin is the control. Instead of using the tradition method of pushing down to make the blocks move faster, a separate button is used. You'd think that using two buttons would be no problem, but it's easy to get confused. All in all, this is definitely the best looking Tetris I've played, but nowhere near the most fun.
Overall, a good game. Decently executed, a mediocre problem re-learning the controls, and enough new to at least garner a few more days of play, even for the most hardened Tetris vetran. If you're looking for a new way to play the classic, or if you're just a newbie and wanting a decent puzzle game... it's a good time for all.
In conclusion, this version of Tetris is a nice display piece to show off what the CD-i is capable of from a visual standpoint, but there isn't much reason to put any kind of effort into playing this game seriously as control issues are guaranteed to frustrate. It won't break the bank if you are truly curious about it, but if you want a good puzzler for your CD-i, I will suggest hunting down a copy of Pac-Panic instead.
Tetris on the Philips CD-i is certainly unique but it has a few design quirks that hold it back. If the play-area was larger and the d-pad could be used to drop blocks this could have been a good variation on the puzzle classic; instead it falls flat and the multimedia novelty wears off quickly.