Tetris The Grand Master

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Tetris The Grand Master
Developer(s) Arika
Publisher(s) Capcom
Release date(s) 1998 Aug
Platform(s) Arcade
Gameplay Info
Next pieces 1
Playfield dimensions 10x20
Hold piece No
Hard drop No
Rotation system
Arika tgm1 title.jpg Arika tgm1 ingame.jpg

Tetris The Grand Master is the first arcade game in Arika's TGM series.


TODO: I think we should possibly include one of those anatomy screenshot dealies that points everything out (score, grade, time, and level). Sort of like in the IRS patent. Maybe with a caption that says "beginners should care most about level, while advanced players care only about their time". Or something.

Unlike typical tetris games where the goal is indefinite survival and a high score, TGM is a challenge where you have a finite opportunity to attain a high Grade. With the exception of the final grade of Grand Master, grade is derived from your score. This indirectly makes the grading system strongly favour survival, with a special emphasis on clearing non-singles late in the game during 20g.

With only a small number of grades, there are often ties. The highscore table ranks a tied grade higher if it was attained faster. In practice, solid play will award players the highest rank of Grand Master. As such, for adequately skilled players the game becomes a time attack to level 999.


Level has a unique implementation in TGM. The level counter will increase by 1 for every piece that enters the well. It will also increase by 1 for each line cleared. The game ends once level 999 is reached.

When you are about to increment the hundreds digit (eg. at level 399), only line clears will count towards your level. Level 998 is treated similarly, with a final line clear required to reach 999 and finish.


Gravity does not increase uniformly, unlike many other tetris games. It rises and falls, depending on the level, as follows:

Tetromino gravity speeds[1]
Level Speed
(unit: 1/256 G)
0 4
30 6
35 8
40 10
50 12
60 16
70 32
80 48
90 64
100 80
120 96
140 112
160 128
170 144
200 4
220 32
230 64
233 96
236 128
239 160
243 192
247 224
251 256 (1G)
300 512 (2G)
330 768 (3G)
360 1024 (4G)
400 1280 (5G)
420 1024 (4G)
450 768 (3G)
500 5120 (20G)

The player can force constant 20G, by entering a code before starting the game, though this will exclude their play from the highscore list. Unlike TGM2, the line clear delay, lock delay, ARE and DAS do not change throughout the game.

  • Line clear delay is fixed at 40 frames.
  • Lock delay is fixed at 30 frames.
  • There are 25 frames of ARE during which DAS can be charged.
  • DAS is fixed at 16 frames (inclusive of both the initial shift and the autoshift frames).
  • In addition, there are also 3 frames of "lock-flash"; 3 frames of delay after ARE but before the appearance of the next tetromino (during which DAS will not charge); and 1 frame of delay before line clear animation begins.


TGM shares the same scoring gimmicks of many other Tetris games, though they are not quite implemented the same way:

  • You receive more points for clearing more lines at once.
  • Lines are worth more with each passing level. (The nature of "level" in TGM, however, means the amount of points a line is worth is constantly changing.)
  • You receive points for forcing a piece down. (Though only when this results in cleared lines, unlike in several other games.)

There are a few scoring gimmicks unique to TGM:

  • You receive a combo bonus for clearing lines with consecutive pieces.
  • You receive a bravo bonus for clearing the entire screen.

Incidentally, for all players good enough to attain the rank of S9 score becomes irrelevant and the focus changes to a time attack rather than a score attack. Nevertheless, here is a more technical description of the scoring formula:

Score = ((Level + Lines)/4 + Drop) x Lines x Combo x Bravo


  • Level is the current level you are on.
  • Lines is the number of lines you just cleared.
  • (Level + Lines)/4 is rounded up.
  • Drop is the number of spaces you manually dropped the piece. The last space your piece falls does not contribute to this, however locking the piece once it has landed will add 1 to the Drop.
  • If the previous tetromino cleared 0 lines, Combo is 1. Otherwise, if the previous tetromino cleared L lines, and its Combo value was lastCombo, the Combo value for this piece is:
    Combo = lastCombo - 1 + (2 x L - 1)
    Example: A double-single combo will have a combo 1 for the first line clear and 3 for the second.
  • Bravo is equal to 4 if this piece has cleared the screen, and otherwise is 1.


In TGM1 grade is entirely determined by score. As you pass certain milestones, TGM will assign you the next grade:

Grade Required Score Grade Required Score
9 0 S1 16,000
8 400 S2 22,000
7 800 S3 30,000
6 1,400 S4 40,000
5 2,000 S5 52,000
4 3,500 S6 66,000
3 5,500 S7 82,000
2 8,000 S8 100,000
1 12,000 S9 120,000
GM 126,000
(see below)

Grand Master rank has four requirements:

  1. At level 300, score is at least 12,000 (grade 1).
  2. At level 500, score is at least 40,000 (grade S4).
  3. At level 999, score is at least 126,000 (slightly higher than grade S9).
  4. At level 999, time is 13:30.00 or less.


All codes should be entered at the title screen.

Key: L = Left, D = Down, U = Up, R = Right

  • Big Mode: LLLLDCBA
  • Reverse Mode: DUUDCBA
  • Monochrome Mode: RRRUCBA