Magical Drop 3

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FAQ

MAGICAL DROP III "TORETATE ZOUKANGOU!" FAQ
By anders0n (anders0n@geocities.com)

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THANKS TO:

DATA EAST: For creating the best puzzle game ever.
BLAM!: (www.blam.com) for playing the Magical Drop series with
me.
LJ: For putting up with my obsessions!
Computer Darryl: For introducing me to Magical Drop 2.
Vince: (vince@blam.com) for being a fanatic! First person I knew
of, that actually played Magical Drop 3.
CJ: (cj@blam.com) for being a game murderer!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

     TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What's the game about?
2. Who's new to MD3?
3. Who's old to MD3?
4. What are the stories to each character?
5. What do the backgrounds look like?
6. What new options are in MD3?
7. What new control is in MD3?
8. What are the old controls in MD3?
9. What new bubbles are in MD3?
10. What are the old bubbles in MD3?
11. How to play as the bosses?
12. Who are the Hidden Characters?
13. How do combos work in MD3?
14. Other noteworthy new features...
15. What's left and how to add info to FAQ?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1. What's the game about?
        BACKGROUND
        Magic Drop is a Tetris-style game released in Japan by Data East, the only American versions, that I know of are the Neo-Geo carts and CDs. The Saturn Version is available now in Japan, and it's rumored there is a Playstation version!

     THE STORY
     The Magic Drop 3 story, I don't know (it's in Japanese);
however, the theme of Magical Drop is tarot cards, each character
is named after a card of the tarot, except for the Black Pierrot
(which I don't think is a tarot card - but I could be wrong).

     THE GAME
     The object of the game is to not let any bubble travel past
the bottom of your board. The board, of course, is dropping line
by line at set time intervals. This interval decreases the harder
a level is. Opposing players can also send more bubbles to a
player's board, (this is discussed in detail in the OPTIONS
section).
     The basic game play in MD3 is pretty simple: match the
colors of three or more bubbles in a vertical line to destroy
them. Any adjacent like color bubbles, or special bubbles (see
discussion on BUBBLES) on the horizontal axis will be destroyed
too.
     There are more game play details, that can be found in the
GAME OPTIONS section.

2. Who's new to MD3?

THE LOVERS
     A little girl riding on top of a flying pig! Please if
anybody knows where this character derives from, (is it a folk
tale or just plain crazy), please email me.

THE SUN
     A cute baby sun in diapers.

THE JUDGEMENT
     A young female angel, who wears a plain headband and holds a
horn.

THE DEVIL
     Was a mid-boss in MD2. He has an upside down 5 pointed star
on his forehead, wears spiked arm and ankle bracelets, a tunic
and a necklace with a tooth (?) on it. He has horns in his head,
and bat-like wings. He also has a canine protruding from his top
jaw, and pointed ears much like THE DEATH.

THE EMPEROR
     An effeminate mustached guy dressed up in European royalty
costume.

THE EMPRESS
     The S&M boss of MD2, costumed in scantily clad leather
outfit, with a strange crown and wielding a whip, of course.

THE DEATH
     A woman, also dressed scantily, wielding a scythe (of
course). She has one mean canine always sticking out of her
mouth, and wears tons of skull ornaments. She also has pointed
ears. 

THE STRENGTH
     Not THE STRENGTH from MD2, it's a young boy (or girl) who
seems to be the child of the MD2 mid-boss STRENGTH. He wears a
big belt and has a cut-off shirt with the infinity symbol on it
and green shorts. He also wears brown studded bracelets.

3. Who's old in MD3?

THE JUSTICE
     A young girl, who wields a giant sword (usually strapped on
her back) and also holds a balance in one hand. A diamond emblem
is strapped around her forehead.

THE HIGH PRIESTESS
     A young girl dressed in robes holding a book (a bible?). She
wears a crown adorned with a moon.

THE MAGICIAN
     A young boy, costumed in robes, has a headband with an
infinity symbol on the front.

THE FOOL
     A baby (I assume) who wears a hooded outfit and is always
holding a cat. Both characters' noses are always running! He also has a
little apprentice that only appears during his win animation!

THE STAR
     She wears a long dress, and holds two jugs. She also wears a
necklace with a metal plaque on it.

THE HIEROPHANT
     A young priest, who is dressed in, what looks to be,
medieval cleric wear.  He holds a staff of some sort.

THE CHARIOT
     A young man that is dressed like a medieval knight, and
holding a spear.

THE WORLD
     A young woman who is barely dressed in a ribbon. She has
three eyes (one on her forehead).

4. What are the stories to each character?
     TBD

5. What do the backgrounds look like?
     TBD

6. What new options are in MD3?
     
OPTIONS
     NOTE: These are mostly from the Saturn version, any info on
the Neo-Geo version will be greatly appreciated.

Adventure Mode:
     The home version has the new adventure mode, that is
basically like a board game, where the gameplay changes on each
part you land on. There will be more written on this at a later
time.

Story mode:
     The player picks out of the available characters, to battle
against the CPU's lineup. Magic drop battles are like many other
Tetris games, you try to send bubbles to your opponent. In magic
drop this is done by destroying more than 3 of a certain color or 
by destroying more than one set of colors. These are described in
the COMBO sections.
     The pattern that is dropped on the opposing player is
different according to the character that combo-ed. There will be
a full description of all the character's patterns in a later
edition.
     The Story Mode, has 5 different modes: I think the first one
is practice, you can pick your character and the CPU character.
If you win, you can re-pick your character and the CPU's
character. If you lose, you get a choice: replay the match,
choose new characters or exit to the title screen. This is
probably good for beginners. This is the only mode where you can
pick the CPU character.
     The Easy Mode, is the second, which you play through the
story. I assume, all the game is set to easy, however I have not
played this mode all the way through yet. It looks like each
character faces a preset order of CPU controlled characters,
though I haven't confirmed this.
     The Normal Mode, is the third, and is the default mode, I
assume the game is tuned toward normal game play, but I have not
played all the way through this one yet either.
     The Hard Mode, is the fourth (and the only one I have played
through), this mode you fight around 24 characters (the normal 16
characters and the hidden 8). If you complete this mode 7 of the
8 characters become playable, in the story and versus modes! 
     The Expert Mode, is the last, you can choose you character
and then try to play through the ever increasingly difficult
levels, and when you lose you have to start from the beginning
again! This is the hardest of all the levels, and the furthest I
got was to the 5th level.

VS Mode:
     The game play for VS mode is the same as Story mode except
it's a two player game.
     The VS mode, has tons of options: The default choice is the
VS, where two players can pick their characters, and jump into
the frenzy called Magical Drop 3.
     The second choice is the Configure VS screen.  Here you can
change the type of versus game: Time Crush: who can destroy the
most bubbles in a giving time; Quota Crush: who can destroy a
certain amount of bubbles first; and Normal game: who can survive
the longest or reach the quota first.
     In the Configure VS screen you can also change the bubble
graphics (try changing them to the bubble heads)!

PUZZLE MODE:

     The puzzle mode is for one player. In this mode, the player
must basically survive as long as possible, by making matches and
comboing of course. The screen drop interval will get shorter and
shorter the higher the level is.
     The Puzzle Model has three different levels of play: easy,
normal, and hard. The easy mode's play board is smaller then the
rest and the patterns are 'nicer', that is easier to match
colors. The play boards on the normal and hard modes are around
twice as big as the normal STORY and VS MODE boards.

7. What new controls are in MD3?
     
     FORCE SCROLL
     In the Saturn version, the index finger top buttons (L1 or
L2) force scroll your board. This at first may seem suicidal, but
proves effective because it gives your more ammunition for your
chain combos (described in the how-to chain combo section).     
In the Neo-Geo version, the C button force scrolls.
     
8. What are the old controls?
     
     THE GRAB
     Magical Drop control scheme hasn't changed much (I haven't
played MD1 however).  There is a grab button that allows the
character to get any color bubble that is lying on the bottom
row. If you are already carrying a certain color bubble, then you
can grab more of those colored bubbles, but you can't grab any
other colored bubbles. You can also grab columns of like-colored
bubbles.
     
     THE THROW
     You can throw back a column of all the bubbles you have
gathered. If you have more than three they will all destroy each
other and any adjacent like-colored bubbles.

9. What new bubbles are there in MD3?
The following key is used for bubbles...
        0 = this bubbles does not cause a match.
        1 = this bubble only matches with one color.
        * = this bubble matches with any color. [any bubble?]
        G = this bubble can be grabbed.
        T = this bubble can be thrown.
     
     COLORED QUARTZ 0GT
     These bubbles are like quartz bubbles (they are akin to
blockers in other Tetris games), except they only turn into a
certain color, represented by the icon inside of it.
     
     COINS 0G
     These appear only in ADVENTURE mode, you basically can only
grab these and they add to your coin count. They cannot be thrown
back or be destroyed.
     
     SNOT BUBBLE *GT
     This bubble appears only on the fool's board.  Any two like-
colored bubbles will match and destroy this bubble. When it dies
it releases Booger Monsters that fly around and obscure your
vision.
     
     BOMB BUBBLE 0GT
     These look like bombs, and have a count down number on them.
When that count down reaches zero it destroys adjacent bubbles,
(the mechanics, I haven't quite figured out yet, but it seems you
need to have two matching bubbles with the BOMB). It has a fire
special effect when bubbles are destroyed by it. The countdown is
depleted by comboing.

10. What are the old bubbles?
See question 9 for bubble key.
     
     COLORED BUBBLES 1GT
     These are the normal bubbles that must be matched. There are
only four colors: Yellow has a star icon; Blue has a chalice, and
represents water; Red has a sword icon, and represents fire; and
Green has a staff in it and represents nature.

     SUPER COLOR BUBBLES 1GT
     When these bubbles are matched with at least two like-COLOR
bubbles, they destroy all the COLOR bubbles on the screen. They
look like Yellow, Blue, Red and Green coins with the respective
symbols on them (see COLOR bubbles for description of symbols).   

     CLEAR BUBBLES 0G except in puzzle mode: 0
     These bubbles change behavior depending on the mode you're
playing: In STORY, VS, and ADVENTURE; you can grab these bubbles
but you can't throw them back (they just disappear). In PUZZLE
and the other modes you can squish these bubbles by throwing a
bubble in that column so it pushes the column up.

     QUARTZ BUBBLES 0GT
     The bubbles are akin to blocks, found in other Tetris style
games. They turn the color of bubbles that you destroy adjacent
to them. It's important to note that when one QUARTZ is
converted, all QUARTZ on the screen are converted to that same
color.

     ARROW BUBBLES *GT
     These bubbles point in one of the four directions.  When
matched with two or more bubbles they destroy everything in the
direction they are pointing. These now appear in the STORY and VS
mode as well.

     DIAMOND BUBBLES *GT
     When hit with three or more of a certain color, these
destroy all the bubbles on screen of the color that hit it. 

11. How to play as the bosses?
     The only way I have discovered so far is that you have to
finish the difficult STORY mode game. At that point 7 of the 8
boss characters will become playable.

12. Who are the hidden characters?

     THE STRENGTH
     This is the STRENGTH from MD2, however I have not been able
to get a playable version of him. He is a big muscular bald man,
with a spiked head band and bracelets and barely any clothes at
all except for bikini briefs.

     MOON
     A woman with a moon on her forehead, wearing a long dress,
and ring, bracelets and a belt.

     THE HANGED MAN
     Is always seen hanging upside down, chews a stick and has a
rugged hat that never falls off his head!

     THE HERMIT
     Appears to be an old hooded geezer, holds a wooden staff in
one hand and a lantern in the other. He has jewel on his
forehead.

     THE BLACK PIERROT
     A mean looking jester, dressed all in black with and X on
his forehead. He is usually seen with his three back-up singers! 

     THE TOWER
     Some sort of robotic castle. He has a flag on his head. 

     TEMPERANCE
     A female angel that has two gourds, which are constantly
pouring water between them.

     FORTUNE
     A woman (looks older than most of the female characters,
with the exception of the Empress), she is dressed somewhat like
an evil Disney witch character. Notably she has rings revolving
around her arms, waist and hair!
     
13. How do combos work in MD3?
     COMBOS
     The combo system is extremely simple, and very important to
obtaining the most out of MD3.  
     In the diagram below, the lower case letters represent
bubbles that are not being destroyed, the upper case are being
destroyed. R, r = red; G, g = green; Y, y = yellow; B, b = blue.

          g y       g y       G y       y
          g R       g R       G
          r R -->   R R -->   G    -->  
          g R       g R
          ---       ---       ---       ---
                    COMBO     CHAIN
                    3+

     COMBO TYPE 1: 3 PLUS COMBO
     By destroying more than three COLOR bubbles you initiate a
combo.
     COMBO TYPE 2: NATURAL CHAIN COMBOS
     By destroying bubbles adjacent horizontally to a destroyed
column, bubbles that lie below these bubbles may fall up and
initiate another destruction sequence.
     COMBO TYPE 3: FORCING SPEED COMBOS
     To master MD3 one must master the Forcing Combo techniques.
     Speed is the key to forcing combos; as long as the screen
isn't idle you can cause a combo. For example, if you destroy
three green bubbles, then follow up, while the green destruction
animation is still going, by destroying three red you have
achieved a combo. Different events keep the board active for
different lengths of time: If you destroy a series of bubbles so
that other bubbles will have to fall up, you can still make a
combo occur while those bubbles are falling. Once they have
stopped, assuming nothing else has happened, your combo time is
up.
     NOTE: In VS and Story mode each combo becomes a certain
number of lines that is dropped on the opposing player. These
figures I will try to record for a later version.

14. Other noteworthy new features...

     ART
     All the art has been redone, there are new backgrounds, and
the players play on card faces now.
     The special effects have been redone, so destruction
animations are COLOR dependent now: Red bubbles, have a fire
animation; Yellow have a special star animation; Blue, a water
animation and Green, (the best IMHO) a leaf animation.
     Each super destruction has new animation too: Destroying all
Reds, a sword rotates and zooms toward the screen, then a blaze
starts at the bottom of the board and rises up to the top,
destroying all reds it passes over. For the global yellow
destruct a star appears and does a twinkle animation, that
destroys all yellow on the board. For global blue destruct, a cup
appears and tips over, filling your card with water, that
destroys all the blues on the way up. Finally the global green
destruct causes a forest wind storm to cover you card, it's a
must-see.
     
     GAME PLAY
     Now you can pick up both your COLOR bubbles and SPECIAL
color bubbles, as long as they are the same color.
     The columns can scroll independently down now, as opposed to
the whole screen.  This may seem to be a small change, but can
alter your setups and actually create new setups, since it allows
you to reach bubbles that you couldn't reach before.
     Each character not only sends over an offensive pattern to
their opponent, but these patterns may scroll down certain
columns, like the edges, or the middle, or alternating columns.
This is the best advancement, because it forces different playing
strategies and countering strategies for each character; for
example if an opponent sends only on the edges, guess how you
will be countering! You will be spending a lot of time leveling
out those edges.

15. What's left and How to Add to the FAQ?

There is tons I want to describe: Character animations, Win and
Lose poses, Vocals and strategies, to name a few.
There are tons that I haven't discovered: I need to finish the
game on each mode, to find out if anything else happens. How can
I play as the STRENGTH from MD2. What are the differences between
the Neo Geo version and the Saturn version and Why isn't this
released in America!
There are tons that need to be translated: I don't know Kanji -
or Japanese for that matter, so the stories are beyond me. There
are tons that need to be clarified: Character descriptions need
more depth, and everything else I wrote on too.
     ADDITIONS
     Just email me at anders0n@geocities.com with your additions.

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