Video Game / Magical Drop

The Empress. Yes, you can play her.
A series of color-matching puzzle games created by the now-defunct Data East. The original game was released in arcades in 1995. The second and third games were created for the Neo Geo MVS system; Magical Drop III was Data East's final Arcade Game. The fourth game, Magical Drop F, was a PlayStation exclusive released in 1999. Magical Drop V, developed by Golgoth Studio, was released on Steam in November 15th, 2012.

Magical Drop games put far more emphasis on characters than other puzzle games that make it to the U.S. territory. While other puzzle games have only small animated window dressing around the playfield, if they have characters at all, Magical Drop Uses characters as the background, and in VS. mode, each has several animations to coincide with the action and each even has unique voice samples (At least in the Japanese version).

The characters also control what special moves are available to the player and what chains are needed to execute these special moves. These moves are typically based on the Tarot Card the character is themed for. For example, The Chariot has offensive style special moves, especially in two player. In contrast The Empress is mostly defensive and The Fool's special move does nothing except grant extra points!

Another is the lenient combo system. While other games of this type such as Tetris Attack check to make sure that one group of pieces is DIRECTLY responsible for another matching up before issuing any kind of bonus or streak, Magical Drop is like Klax in that ANY new match is counted into the "chain" until the animation is done and all parts resting on the vanishing blocks fall into place.

However, easy chains do not make this game easy. The game accounts for and even DEMANDS it. Depending on the mode and difficulty, the game will not last long without near-endless chains.

No relation to Magical Doropie.

Tropes in Magical Drop:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: Most of the games lower the difficulty whenever the player uses a continue.
  • Artificial Stupidity: For some reason, the Magical Drop AI in Magical Drop V regularly dips into this (to the point where Death outright breaks most of them in under 10 seconds). Unfortunately, the Ghostlop AI goes to the other extreme and edges into Perfect-Play A.I. (especially if the rank gets jacked up from defeating Black Pierrot), forcing fights against them to go to quota.
  • Bonus Boss: Black Pierrot.
    • In Magical Drop II, he's the True Final Boss (reached by 1-credit-clearing the game)
    • In Magical Drop III, he occupies a "Special Stage" slot immediately before Tower, accessed by having 150,000 points and 3 consecutive victories before fighting Tower.
    • In Magical Drop V, he occupies an Extra Stage slot between Empress and Ghostlop character mushman, and requires you to get above a certain score and maintain a high rank to access. Unlike his two other appearances, he can be unlocked in this game by defeating him and finishing the game at the heightened difficulty rank.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In higher difficulties, your opponent moves via teleportation. The game openly admits to this in V.
  • Contemptible Cover: The cover of the European PSX version of III, the "highlight" being an adult (and busty) version of the canonically 7-year-old Daughter Strength. The left side of the cover would be reused for the PAL version of the Game Boy Color Magical Drop.
  • Difficulty By Region: Whether intentional or due to something going wrong in the PAL conversion process, the European PSX version of III moves at a much slower pace than the Japanese version.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The ability to manually drop lines wasn't introduced until III.
    • The player had to match three item balloons in order to activate them in the first Magaical Drop. In II, the player couldn't hold item and normal balloons at the same time.
  • Fun Size: In II, a miniature version of themselves is the cursor. The dialogue scenes in both II and III have chibi interpretations of themselves.
  • Gameplay Grading: Magical Drop V has this on each match, going from D to S. Originally, it was tied solely to speed in Story Mode and score in Versus mode, but the first major patch changed it to where you have to fulfill 3 conditions while winning to get an S rank (Get a 10 combo AND over 20,000 points in the stage without the match lasting more than a minute). Presumably, this was done because of the sheer difficulty of getting to the 200-balloon quota in under 20 seconds that the Ghostlop characters usually force you to do.
  • Guest Fighter: In Magical Drop V: Bruce, McCoy, and Mushman from Ghostlop
  • Inconsistent Dub: The English versions of 2 and 3 have characters talking in Japanese, English and Spanish for no discernible reason.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Quota. The game keeps track of how many balloons have been cleared; when one player meets the Quota, the match ends right then and there.
  • Interface Screw: The nature of many items in Magical Drop F. Examples include Emperor's (slows down the opponent's clown cursor) and Empress's (flashes her character portrait on top of the opponent's field) items.
  • Match Three Game: A rare "launcher" type puzzle game.
  • Perfect-Play A.I.: At release, the Ghostlop AI in Magical Drop V would either be defeated in the first 5 seconds by sheer luck or never miss its target forcing you to go to quota, which basically prevented you from obtaining an S-rank in Story Mode on stages 9 and 11.
  • Stripperiffic:
  • Tarot Motifs: Each of the characters is named and modeled after a Major Arcanum. Exactly how close they are to the actual card depends on the character.
    • The Empress is a clever interpretation; her default, dominatrix persona is a representation of the reversed arcana. In II, it is revealed she has a nurturing and motherly persona as well, which is the upright arcana.
    • The Lovers, on the other hand, is a five-year-old girl who rides around on a pig try figuring that one out.
    • The Strength is a virtuous and courageous tomboy with a pet lion. Funnily enough, their first iteration of Strength (a huge, masculine brute) was the complete opposite of this. He still exists, but as a secret character.
    • The Hanged Man is upside down. Constantly.
    • The World, who is not only Ms. Fanservice, but, ironically enough, the ribbon that strategically covers her takes away from a more accurate representation.
  • Verbal Tic: Many of the characters have them in the Japanese version, for example:
    High Priestess: "______ masu~!"
    Magician: "______ de aru~!"
    Star: "______ desu~!"
    Temperance: "______ kana~"
    World: "______ desu wa"
  • Victory by Endurance: V trends towards this, with the game generally requiring larger chains to send lines than its predecessors. By comparison, it's not uncommon to see matches between two high-level players in III last for 20-30 seconds.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Each character only has one pre-battle line in the arcade version of III. This is taken Up to Eleven in the non-Japanese versions, where the exact same conversation happens regardless of the characters involved.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Fortune in V sports grade A.