I seem to be concentrating on action platformers and RPG’s recently so for a change of pace I decided to fire up the Famicom and try a puzzle game. What better way to start than with a Tetris style game, Hatris. My first thoughts on gazing at the cartridge were simply “It’s a Tetris clone” or in other words a rip off of the theme. On the game title screen I was surprised to see that Alexey Pajitnov (the original creator of Tetris) was behind its conception and even features as part of the main screen graphics, holding several hats in a mad dash to escape a...wall. I’m sure it made sense to them at the time.
Released in 1989 I was expecting it to be one of the better looking titles so late in the Famicom’s life but I was presented with a rather basic game with few colours and drab graphics. I shrugged my shoulders at this as with puzzle games the looks don’t matter but the actual puzzle itself. Two hats appear at the top of the screen and begin to fall you have several seconds to switch them back and forth or speed up the descent by pressing down. Every time you make a column of 5 same hats they disappear with points awarded the main aim of each stage to earn enough points and sell a large number of hats.
Easy to pickup I had no trouble learning how to play. There is practically no Japanese text to be seen so anyone can import without worry. In the early stages there isn’t much challenge to stacking the hats however as you complete each stage the hats that haven’t been taken remain. So after several levels the screen can be literally packed full of hats resulting in all sorts of mad dashes to earn points.
One thing I discovered when I decided to do a bit of research on the game is that the Famicom version is completely different to its NES counterpart. On the NES there appears to be a lot more animation around the main puzzle screen with miniature versions of Alexey Pajitnov hitting switches to deliver and take away the completed hat collections. The Famicom version consists of numbers and nothing more than the actual hats. I couldn’t find out why this was the case so I can only assume it was due to a time difference in release dates. The Famicom version coming out first in Japan then the designers perhaps realising they needed to give the look of the game a bit more oomph. I’ve included pictures of both in today’s post. The sad thing is that after viewing a few videos of the NES game on YouTube it actually looks a lot more fun.
I received the cart as part of a bundle from eBay so it didn’t cost me more than a couple of quid at best. I really can’t recommend it not that Hatris is a bad game is just feels very generic and a little pointless, give me Tetris any day.