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Title screen of the arcade version of Magical Drop (known outside of Japan as Chain Reaction), the first game in the series.
|Developers||Data East, Russ Ltd.|
Magical Drop (マジカルドロップ?), sometimes referred to by native Japanese players as MagiDro (マジドロ?), is a series of puzzle games originally released in the arcade, and later primarily released for several platforms such as the Neo Geo, Super Famicom, Sega Saturn and Neo Geo Pocket Color developed by Data East. The games are notable for being extremely fast-paced.
Magical Drop is played in a style and gameplay similar to Compile's (now Sega's) Puyo Puyo and Taito's Puzzle Bobble franchises; a "stack" of random colored bubbles descend from the top, and a player is defeated when a bubble hits the bottom. Bubbles can be picked up and dropped by the player's "clown" at the bottom, and are destroyed when three or more of the same color are put together on a single column. "Chains" are formed either when a single drop caused a chain reaction, or when more than one group of bubbles is destroyed in quick succession. The game is normally played with two players (one may be a computer opponent), and chains cause the opponent's stack to descend faster.
There are 24 characters, all but the Black Pierrot being named after a tarot card (although the Strength card has been represented by two characters throughout the series). Different characters have different attack patterns. The columns of the opponent's stack will descend at different rates relative to each other depending on the character chosen. This causes a disjunction of colors that may make it more difficult for the other player to clear their stack. For example, with the character Devil, all the columns will descend at the same rate, whereas with Sun, the middle columns will descend faster than the others.
In 1995, Data East released the first game in the series as a coin operated version of this game titled Magical Drop (known in North America as Chain Reaction). Despite the arcade game being released worldwide while using the English title in North America and Europe, Data East USA gave the official English names of its successors the same names as their Japanese counterparts, while the home versions of the first game were never released outside of Japan. The series became better known for its Neo-Geo sequels, Magical Drop II and Magical Drop III, due to the popularity of the Neo-Geo platform. The last games in the series released in the United States were Magical Drop Pocket for the Neo Geo Pocket Color in 1999 and Magical Drop for the Game Boy Color in 2000.
After Data East filed for bankruptcy and became defunct in 2003, G-mode bought and currently owns the intellectual rights to the Magical Drop franchise along with several other Data East franchises and titles. While Data East declared bankruptcy in 2003, other publishers have re-released the PlayStation titles Magical Drop 3 + Wonderful and Magical Drop F. Magical Drop II and Magical Drop III are also available on the subscription service GameTap. In 2007, the Super Famicom version of the first Magical Drop title was released in Japan on the Virtual Console for the Wii by G-mode. In 2009, versions of Magical Drop Touch for Android and iPhone were released in May and September, respectively.
On May 25, 2010, Magical Drop II was released on the Virtual Console by G-mode. In 2010, Magical Drop III was included as part of Data East Arcade Classics and released on the Virtual Console in Japan on July 6, 2010. At E3 2011, UTV Ignition Entertainment announced a new sequel, Magical Drop V. Handled by the French developer Golgoth Studio, the game was released for PC on November 15, 2012. Yet, the release dates for the XBLA and PSN versions are still to be confirmed.
The following is a list of games released in the series.
|Japanese Title||English Title||System||Year|
|Chain Reaction||Arcade, Super Famicom, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Wonderswan, Virtual Console||1995|
Magical Drop 2
|Magical Drop II||Arcade, Super Famicom, Sega Saturn, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Neo-Geo Pocket Color (titled as Magical Drop Pocket), Virtual Console||1996|
Magical Drop 3
|Magical Drop III||Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Zeebo, Game Boy Color (titled as Magical Drop), Virtual Console||1997|
Magical Drop F - Daibouken Mo Rakujyanai!
|Magical Drop Touch||iPhone, Android||2009|
|Magical Drop V||PC, XBLA, PSN||2012|
- Magical Drop Game Boy review, from ConsoleDomain.co.uk