Puyo Puyo

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Puyo Puyo
Puyo Puyo Boxart Mega Drive.jpg
Puyo Puyo Box Art (Mega Drive)
PublishersCompile (MSX), Tokuma Shoten (Famicom), Sega (Arcade), various others
PlatformsMSX, Famicom Disc System, Famicom, Arcade, NEC PC-9801, Super Famicom, Game Boy, Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, PC-Engine CD, N-Gage, Virtual Console, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Sharp X68000, Fujitsu FM Towns
Players1-2 players
Release dateMSX
Japan October 25, 1991

Famicom Disk System

Japan October 25, 1991


Japan October 1992
United States 1992?
Europe 1992?

Mega Drive

Japan December 18, 1992

Game Gear

Japan March 19, 1993


Japan July 23, 1993

Super Famicom

Japan December 10, 1993

PC-Engine CD

Japan April 22, 1994

Virtual Console (Mega Drive)

Japan December 2, 2006

Virtual Console (Arcade)

Japan April 12, 2011

Virtual Console (Game Gear)

Japan January 30, 2013

Puyo Puyo (ぷよぷよ, Puyo Puyo) is the first game in the series, made in 1991 by Compile, using characters from Madou Monogatari. It was followed up by a heavily retooled arcade version in 1992 that entirely focuses on competitive play.


See also: Basic rules, Scoring, Puyo Puyo (rule)


The original MSX and Famicom versions of the game contain Endless and Mission modes. In Endless, the player matches Puyos until their screen fills, with a giant Puyo or Carbuncle appearing periodically to assist the player. In Mission, the player is given several preset boards, each with a certain goal (such as creating a 3-chain or clearing 8 Puyos simultaneously) that the player must meet to win.

The arcade version focuses on competitive play, and thus replaces these two modes with Scenario. Scenario consists of a series of battles against AI opponents and includes Beginner mode, which gives the player three opponents unrelated to the main game, Normal mode, which features 13 characters, and Difficult mode, which automatically sends the player to the fourth battle of Normal. Most of the arcade version's home ports reintroduce Endless mode.


In this mode, two players play against each other. In exactly the same fashion as before, by out-chaining one another, the player tries to fill up their opponent's field. Due to the lack of later Puyo Puyo games' offset rule, the most optimal method of play is to make a five or six chain and wait out the opponent.

Scenario story and opponents

The Scenario mode features Arle Nadja, protagonist of the Madou Monogatari series. She has learned a spell known as Owanimo, which converts four or more similarly-colored creatures into pure energy. She plans to use this spell to defeat Satan, but must first battle twelve other opponents.

The English version features a slightly different plot: Arle, now known as Silvana, must protect her home from the Black Kingdom. Each character's English name is noted in parenthesis where applicable.

Beginner levels

Normal levels

Normal and Difficult levels


Puyo Puyo was originally released for the MSX2 in 1991 and was simultaneously released for the Famicom Disk System as a pack-in for Tokuma Shoten's Famimaga magazine. The FDS version was later re-released in cartridge form in 1993.

In 1992, Sega published the much-more famous arcade version on their Mega Drive-based System C2 hardware. This version, which includes Scenario mode, is the basis for all other ports. The System C2 version of the game only supports one rotation button (clockwise) and temporarily lowers the game difficulty whenever the player continues after losing, quirks that are not carried over into any of its home ports.

Arcade hardware variations

The arcade emulator MAME currently lists four variations of the arcade game:

  • Japan, Rev. A: The first version of the game. This version contains a bug that disables the AI's ability to manually drop Puyos whenever the opposite joystick (P2 if the player is P1 and vice versa) is pushed to the left or right; this is most easily seen with Suketoudara or Harpy, who are programmed to manual drop a certain number of Puyos at the start of a match.
  • Japan, Rev. B: The most commonly-distributed version of the game. Removes the Mega Drive header contained within Rev. A and fixes the bug detailed above.
  • World: The English version. Does not fix Rev. A's AI bug.
  • World, bootleg: The English version, extracted from illegal hardware. No notable gameplay differences.

Notable ports

  • The Mega Drive port is arcade-perfect in terms of gameplay, visuals, music, and sound effects. However, due to slight audio hardware differences between the Mega Drive and System C2, almost all of the voice work is removed. As the game is based on Rev. A, it is possible to reproduce the AI glitch with Controller 2.
  • The Super Famicom port (Super Puyo Puyo) features a smaller screen resolution than most console versions, forcing the median to be thinned and the character portrait to be placed in the opponent's field. However, this port retains all of the original's voice acting.
  • The Game Gear port includes Mission mode from the MSX2 game, and also contains a hidden English translation.
  • The PC-Engine port (Puyo Puyo CD) includes full voice acting for cutscenes, in addition to exclusive scenes that play when the difficulty is set to Hardest. Most notably, it also allows both players to choose who they want to play as, making all of the characters playable (except everybody after Witch).
  • The Wii Virtual Console Arcade port was the first online-enabled Virtual Console game.

Unofficial Ports

The game was ported to Amiga by request of the Amiga Power magazine and was featured on a cover disk under the name Super Foul Egg. It was then ported to RISC OS on Acorn by Owain Cole (and featured on an Acorn User cover disk), and finally ported to Java.


Puzlow Kids and arcade translation

An English-translated version of the System C2 arcade game exists. This version features English-language voice work, changes several characters' names and personalities, and modifies Harpy's design to remove her wings. The circumstances of its release are unknown; it was allegedly released in Europe and may or may not have been released in 1992.

Additionally, the Game Gear port of Puyo Puyo, when used in a non-Japanese handheld, becomes the fully-translated Puzlow Kids. In this version of the game, Puyos are known as "P-Kids."

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche

Instead of directly publishing Puyo Puyo in the west, Sega decided to repackage the game as a Sonic the Hedgehog spinoff. The resulting game, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, was released in 1993 for the Sega Mega Drive, Game Gear, and the Master System. (The latter release only occurred in Europe and Brazil.)

Nintendo later approached Compile for their own Puyo Puyo game, leading to the 1995 Kirby's Avalanche (Kirby's Ghost Trap in Europe) for the SNES.


Puyo Puyo began life as a standard falling block game intended for the MSX incarnation of Disc Station. Compile employee Kazunari Yonemitsu picked up the project and experimented with several gameplay rules and aesthetics - one such aesthetic being the Human sprites used in the Famicom versions. Yonemitsu ultimately decided to use characters from Madou Monogatari 123, a game that he had previously worked on.

Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani, the founder of Compile, stated that the game was released on the Famicom Disk System because the peripheral was all but abandoned at that point and thus Nintendo would be less likely to compare the game to Dr. Mario.


  • The Famicom Disk System version was the second-to-final game for the peripheral. The final game was also a Famimaga pack-in.
  • Rulue is the only character in the game that doesn't have a vocal catchphrase. This could be related to the fact that many of the voices were recycled from the original versions of Madou Monogatari 123, where Rulue does not directly fight Arle. However, she receives a catchphrase in the fully-voiced Puyo Puyo CD.
  • Rulue's initials on the default high score table are LUL.
  • The Japanese arcade versions contain an unused voice clip in which Arle stutters the Diacute spell, akin to when the player casts Diacute twice in Madou Monogatari 123. It cannot be accessed through conventional means.
  • The arcade and Mega Drive versions of this game and Puyo Puyo Tsu are coded to handle six different colors of Puyo. As seen in the prototype, six colors were planned to be in the game at some point.
  • Puyo Puyo is one of two Japan-exclusive Game Gear titles that adapt to non-Japanese handhelds, the other being Ronald McDonald in Magical World.

Mega Drive Prototype

Main article: Puyo Puyo (Prototype)

A prototype version of the Mega Drive port exists. Though it has not been dumped, video footage exists. Notable additions/changes include:

  • A timer is located at the top of the player's field.
  • The preview window labels always read "1P" and "2P". In the actual game, they read "ARLE" and a 4-letter abbreviation based on the current enemy.
  • There is an opening cutscene that features several Puyos raining down upon Arle.
  • A sixth, turquoise-colored Puyo. It is similar in appearance to the MSX/Famicom version's gray Puyo.

In addition, there is allegedly a prototype Mega Drive cart containing an English translation, but no footage has been released.

English Version

Some claim that the English arcade version of the game is not legitimate and is instead an unlicensed bootleg. As most details regarding its release have seemingly been lost, there is no way to definitely prove or disprove this; however, the confusion regarding its authenticity may be due to MAME obtaining the "World, Bootleg" version of the game years before obtaining the standard "World" version. Notably, the World version's files are labeled according to Sega's official EPROM naming format, using a range (EPR-15196 to EPR-15200) that is unused by any other Sega arcade games, while the World Bootleg version's files are labeled according to its MAME title.

Striking similarities between the English arcade game and Puzlow Kids further suggest that the localized version is a legitimate release, including the Beginner and Normal/Difficult endings (barring minor spelling/punctuation/grammar corrections in Puzlow Kids) and the Vs mode "All Right!" and "Oh no..." graphics. Additionally, Satan retains the "Dark Prince" name introduced in the English arcade game in later English releases.

The Japanese guidebook All About Puyo Puyo Tsu (published in 1996) contains an interview in which Compile artist Sonchou Sawa makes brief mention of a European version of Puyo Puyo that changes Harpy to a "Dark Angel" for religious reasons and renames Panotty to Johnny. These changes are very similar to changes in the World version (Harpy losing her wings to become Dark Elf and Panotty's name being changed) and constitute the only official acknowledgement of the World version to date.

Other notes about the English version:

  • Carbuncle is the only character to retain their vocal catchphrase from the Japanese version.
  • The English version has fewer voice samples overall, with some being used in multiple places. Despite this, the English version uses more space for its vocal clips, likely due to many catchphrases being longer than their Japanese equivalents.
  • The cutscene choreography is modified in several places. Most notably, Draco's laughing animation and Satan's reaction to his name being mispronounced are completely unused in the English version.
  • The English version has an unused "Winners Don't Use Drugs" message, akin to many arcade games released in the United States in the early 1990s.



Original version

Title Plays during:
Game Over
[Credit Theme]

Arcade-based version

Title Plays during:
Cutscenes (Practice, Stages 1-8)
Gameplay (Practice)
Gameplay (Stages 1-8)
Cutscenes (Stages 9-12)
Gameplay (Stages 9-12)
Cutscene (Final Stage)
Gameplay (Final Stage)
Game Over
Final Stage Victory
Roll Call
Arcade-based Ports
Title Plays during:
Staff Credits

External links