Technically, I downloaded this onto my GBA via GC-GBA link cable from the $10.00 Gamecube demo CD at Target
(It was the full version of Dr. Mario), but it has no changes whatsoever (or so I've heard), but that's not important.
An Italian plumber with a PhD (I wonder who...) must save mankind from deadly viruses with his famed megavitamins. He throws the pills in the bottle, and you take care of the rest. Doesn't sound exiting, huh? Well puzzle games aren't supposed to be very exiting. The concept is unique, and plays a bit like Tetris.
The music is wickedly catchy, (the fever tune is the best from the two song selection, but the theme is catchy too) the graphics are colorful, but if you play on a normal GBA, you have to squint hard, since the background is black, but if you have the GBA SP, you'll be fine. This could be one of Mario's most famous games, as evidenced by the cameos in Super Smash Bros. Melee (The Fever tune, Dr. Mario as a character). Now since THAT was only the intro, lets divide it up:
Push down to speed the pill's movements, push A to spin the pill around, it's basically the controls in Tetris. You've done this before. If you haven't, go to Russia, find a copy of Tetris, rush on a plane home, play Tetris, and play Dr. Mario straight afterward. You'll see the similarity.
It's basically Tetris with a few changes, but instead you match up three of the same pill colors on top of a virus and it will die. I don't remember that in the little Russian gem. If you haven't even PLAYED Tetris, go to Russia, find a copy of Tetris, rush on a plane home, play it, and play Dr. Mario straight afterward. You'll see the similarity.
This is kind of hard to explain, but the game is hard in a good way (Hence 8 out of 10), yet you still can lose easily if you don't use your mind. I've personally never gotten past level 5 (chuck rocks now), but you can choose which level to start from at the menu. If you beat level 5, I'm not surprised.
Puzzle games almost never have stories, but since this one does (and a creative one, to boot), instant 10. You're Mario, there's a horrible plague spreading the Mushroom Kingdom, he gets a PhD, and he makes the megavitamin, a pill made specifically to kill the viruses. Okay, not SO creative in terms of depth, but simply in terms of concept.
The game's biggest failing, yet not much of a casualty. The bloops and blips get really freakin' annoying.
Sure, there are only four songs (Main theme, menu theme, fever, and chill), but they are extremely catchy. Doodoodoodoo doodoodoodoo doodoo doo doo DOO...
You'll spend hours playing this game. I know I did. I played until my freshly charged batteries on my SP died.
I hope they make an actual GBA version of this game instead of the pixel-perfect port, with no improvements whatsoever (so you can play THE original game).
Rent or buy?
If you have an NES, BUY. If you have a Game Boy, BUY. If you have a GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and GC-GBA link cable, BUY the demo disc (Remember, $10.00 at Target) and PLAY the game (Or the Wario Ware demo, but the demo gets easily boring).
Final score (I don't do an average based on the above scores): 10/10
BEST. NINTENDO. PUZZLE GAME. EVER. You can play your little Pokemon Puzzle League with your little Pikachu if you want, but let's see the high-voltage rat beat Dr. Mario at Super Smash Bros. Melee!