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Magazine MADNESS
Retro Fire

Written: 11.7.06
Acquired: 9.2.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $9

Publisher: Masaya (NCS)Released: 3.25.94
Developer: J-ForceScarcity: 3.5

A puzzler with a unique twist. Rather than being another Puyo Puyo / Tetris rip-off, you control a raccoon who must match 3 (or more) like-jars by way of arrangement. Keep in mind it's not like Tetris Attack. Here you're restricted by obvious obstacles whereas in TA you're free to move the cursor where you wish. It'll take a few minutes to get the hang of, but then the good times roll

4 hits are always sweet

                             The little squirrels pushing
                             the jars down add a nice
                             touch. As you can see,
                             Rascal just connected 3
                             green jars. Pulling off chains
                             is more difficult here than in
                             other puzzle games, so it's
                             double gratifying when you
                             get one down

Rascal is an endearing little guy. When carrying a jar, he marches along erect holding the jar high above his head with his diminutive arms. And when he's not carrying one and moving, true
to raccoon form, Rascal scampers low to the ground

When Rascal has a jar he has the option of dropping it beneath him, or throwing it one column over. He can also jump and swipe jars high above his head; as well as push jars provided they're out in the open

Here he leaps to grab a jar off a stack, then he simply places it underneath him to create a match:

If a jar is dropped on his
noggin, it results in this
amusing animation

The 1 player mode is fine and dandy but like any puzzle game worth its weight (sans Tetris of course), the all-important two-player mode(s). Raccoon Rascal has three unique 2 player modes

The 1st is a side scrolling platform-y race-to-the-exit-as-fast-as-you-can split-screen affair, where jars are placed strategically to impede players' progress. This mode is a thrilling race-against-your-opponent-while-you-rack-out-your-brains kind of rush

The 2nd is the full-screen cooperative mode. If you're not in a competitive mood this mode serves its purpose well

                             The 3rd final option is the
                             classic head-to-head split
                             screen mode. Player 2
                             controls a boy named
                             Sterling who bears more
                             than a passing resemblance
                             to Oliver Twist

We all know the story don't we. Boy meets raccoon. Raccoon bites boy. Boy challenges raccoon to life-or-death puzzle duel

Movie Trailer voice guy
It was a time of pain and destruction
It drove boy and raccoon to the brink of madness
NOW, their final battle commences

This is the story of the hard-working raccoon vs the lazy nappin' boy. Let's see how this new classic tale for future generations unfolds...

                               Now Jimmy see here, the
                               raccoon busts his little
                               behind while the boy naps

                               Now observe what happens
                               and why hard work pays off

.... OK, so video games should
not be used to teach life lessons...

Even Sterling has no clue how he


SUPER PLAY, who were extremely tough graders, rated this one pretty highly, given their strict standards:

Graphics: 80%
Sound: 68%
Gameplay: 81%
Gamelife: 79%
Overall: 79%

Saying "The cute shell hides a rock hard interior. The learning curve is not set perfectly, but when the going gets tough, it's tough with a capital T. I've probably played this as much as any other game this month and I am still only half-way through the levels. Extensive play reveals Puyo Puyo-like tactics which allows for many chain reactions; and the two-player modes are the icing on an already appetizing cake"

                        Super Play
put it well. This is a
                        puzzler that gets better as you
                        delve into its various tactics and
                        techniques. Somewhat meh at
                        first but quickly becomes highly
                        charming and effective