Columns III: Revenge of Columns, known as Columns III: Taiketsu! Columns World in Japan, is an entry in the Columns series of puzzle games developed by Sega in 1993 for the Sega Mega Drive. The game was only released in Japan and the US, with VIC Tokai publishing it in the US (consequently, the incorrect myth that VIC Tokai also developed the game is very widespread). The game has been brought to the Wii's Virtual Console service.
Columns III adds several new gameplay features, including new puzzle modes and up to five simultaneous players. Most notably it introduces the "Crush Bar," a competitive-play gambit which is now a staple feature of the Columns series appearing in every game since (each time with a different name).
Columns III removes the single-player solo mode and brings the focus to competitive gaming. Like with Columns, the D-pad moves blocks and B cycles the jewels. Each character now has a meter under the "next block" bar that counts up from 0 to 30 each time a player removes jewels. Once it goes over 10, the player can hit A or C to "crush" whichever jewels are currently falling from the opponent's board, removing them and adding a row of bricks to the bottom of his field called the "Crush Bar." This will also lower your own Crush Bar. In multiplayer games with 3 or more players, A and C decide which opponent to crush (to the left or to the right, respectively).
Sometimes, one of your jewels will glow. You must remove the glowing jewel, called a Flashing Stone, before it stops glowing in order to do something devious to the competitor for a short period of time, such as making his jewels black and white (impairing visibility), flipping the game board upside down, or making him unable to cycle jewels. Finally, a special type of block sometimes appears called a Magic Stone which takes the form of two triangular jewels with a square jewel in between. If you place the block with the upward pointing triangle touching the jewels on the board, your opponent will be crushed. If you place with the downward pointing triangle touching, your Crush Bar will go down. If you place with the square touching, all jewels on your board of the color of the jewel that is touched will be removed from the board (though no crush points will be awarded for consequential clears).