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Columns is a Tetris-like Arcade game in which players manipulate columns of color-coded gems that fall from the top of the screen. The object is to arrange the descending columns in such a way that three or more gems of the same color are lined up horizontally, vertically or diagonally. When you get a match, the gems disappear, helping you to keep the screen from filling up. When the gems reach the top of the screen, the game will end. Super Columns for the Game Gear takes this formula and expands upon the concept with four modes of play and an assortment special columns.
According to the Story Mode of play, the evil Surhand has stolen the sacred amulet, an object of immense power. With its glowingly positive aura, it helps bring peace and contentment to the lands of Phoenicia. Surhand intends to alter the mystical power of the amulet and use it as a force of evil. If he is successful, all the citizens of Phoenicia will be forced to take part in his schemes of destruction. In order to retrieve the amulet and save Phoenicia, you must force your way into the citadel by beating four of Surhand's guards at Columns, an ancient game of skill.
The Story Mode is a split screen game in which the first contestant (either you or the computer-controlled opponent) to win two out of three matches is the victor. If you are successful, you move on to the next of Surhand's guards. As you score points by eliminating gems, you will be given the opportunity to sabotage your opponent by sending stone blocks to his playfield, speeding up his columns and by stopping him from being able to spin his columns or change the gem order in the columns. You can also lower your own base level and win magic gems. The Versus Mode, which plays very similarly to the Story Mode, has you challenging a human opponent by hooking up two Game Gear units (each containing a Super Columns game cartridge) via a Gear-To-Gear cable.
The Endless Mode is a solo contest in which the gems and the clock are you only opponents. Your objective is to stay alive as long as possible and score as many points as you can by eliminating gems from the screen. The faster you work, the better your completion time — the game ends only when the gems pile up all the way to the top of the playfield. In the Flash Mode, you must make your way through piles of gems in order to eliminate all flashing gems. Once again, the game ends when the gems reach the top of the playfield, but this mode of play gives you unlimited continues.
Depending on which game mode you are playing, you should be on the lookout for special columns such as Glitter Columns, which cause all gems of a certain color to disappear, and Stone Block Columns, which are vulnerable only to magic. Among other things, Magic Columns can reverse the entire screen, causing all gems to fall into new patterns. ~ Brett Alan Weiss, All Game Guide