Game and Watch Gallery 2
  • Genre:
    • Compilation
  • Developer:
    • TOSE
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    GB
    • JP 09/27/1997
    • US 1998
    GBC
    • US 11/20/1998
    • UK 11/01/1998
Score: 75%

This review was published on 11/22/2014.

Game and Watch Gallery 2 is a video game developed by TOSE and published by Nintendo for the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color. This is the sequel to the first Game and Watch Gallery. It was originally released for the Game Boy in Japan on September 27, 1997, then came out for the Game Boy Color in North America on November 20, 1998, and Europe on November 1, 1998. During the early '80s, Nintendo sold a series of handheld games called Game and Watch. The games were designed by Gunpei Yokoi and each one came on its own handheld, kind of like those Tiger Electronics games that were popular in the '90s. Nintendo released a series of remakes on the Game Boy titled Game and Watch Gallery, compiling multiple Game and Watch games into single Game Boy cartridges to sweeten the deal. Game and Watch Gallery 2 includes more games and content than its predecessor, resulting in an overall better value.

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Right off the bat, Game and Watch Gallery 2 has five playable games available, one up from the previous Game and Watch Gallery. It even has an additional game that can be unlocked, for a grand total of six games! If that's not awesome, then I don't know what is. I'll be honest here: the last game you unlock isn't worth it, as it's the worst of the bunch. The other games are solid, though. All games come in their remade and classic versions, with the remade versions featuring updated graphics and familiar characters from the Mario universe, while the classic versions are authentic recreations of the originals. Games last as long as you do, with the objective being to get the highest score possible before losing, and they get harder the longer you last. There are two difficulties per game per mode, and a third one is unlocked after reaching a certain score. Plus, achieving high scores will unlock other content, such as a museum, sound test, and more. Game and Watch Gallery 2 has enough content to keep you busy for a while.

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Parachute is the first game included in Game and Watch Gallery 2. Mario must make sure that the folk parachuting from the airship land in his boat as he rows across the water. Things are made marginally more interesting by the different falling speeds of the Mushroom Kingdom denizens, like how the Yoshi kind fall faster than the Toads. Sometimes the parachuting people will fall into the nearby cannon and get shot out of it, making it slightly harder to catch them. There's really not much else to say about this one. Of all the extremely simplistic games in Game and Watch Gallery 2, this is the simplest one. Simplicity is by no means a bad thing, but this game takes it a bit too far. The original Game and Watch version of this game isn't terribly interesting, either, and the remake doesn't do much to remedy that situation. Not one of the better games in this collection, though it isn't totally terrible. It just gets boring quickly.

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Helmet is the name of the second game. Mario is tasked with collecting coins while avoiding the hammers thrown at him from above. He does so without a helmet, contrary to the title. Switches appear periodically, and once pressed, they make coins appear. Similar to Octopus from the first Game and Watch Gallery, the more coins Mario collects, the slower he moves; a video game simulation of weight. To unload the coins, Mario must reach the door on the other side. The more coins Mario has before unloading them at the door, the more points you get, so the weight mechanic creates an interesting risk vs. reward scenario. Also, Mario moves to progressively tougher locations when certain point thresholds are reached, for a total of up to three stages. While nothing groundbreaking, this game isn't half bad. It's one of the better games in the collection, being one of the few to have some actual depth behind it. This is one of those games that sounds dull on paper, but is fun in practice.

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Chef is third on the list of games. Princess Peach takes on a cooking job in this game, flipping food into the air with a frying pan in hopes of feeding a hungry Yoshi. The more times Peach flips the food, the more cooked it gets, and well cooked food earns bigger points when Yoshi eats it, though Yoshi dislikes overcooked food. Food also disintegrates if burnt. Yoshi constantly follows Peach around from behind, so if you want him to eat a piece of food, you have to make sure Peach is facing the right way. The idea is to keep the food up in the air long enough to cook it, but not long enough to burn or drop it. If you bite more than you can chew by having too much food flying around, you'll increase the likelihood of dropping something, which creates another solid risk vs. reward situation. This is a decent game, though it lacks the variety of the better ones.

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Vermin is the fourth game. This one stars Yoshi, the dinosaur we all know and love from Super Mario World, as he protects his eggs from random baddies. He does this by way of two hammers, effectively simulating a game of whack-a-mole. No buttons are necessary to actually whack the enemies; simply moving Yoshi towards an enemy will have him whack it. The dinosaur also automatically whacks anything that dares to walk close enough to him. If an enemy attacks an egg, it'll slowly crack until broken, and a single broken egg ends the game. That's all there is to it. This is another game that's a little too basic for its own good. It's slow, uneventful, and monotonous. The main challenge of this game is trying to stay awake, really. Game and Watch Gallery 2 has a lot of hit or miss games, and this one is definitely a miss.

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Donkey Kong is a character and also the fifth game. The original Donkey Kong arcade game received a highly simplified Game and Watch handheld port, and this is the remake of that port. It's a little strange, I know. This is, by far, the best game in Game and Watch Gallery 2. It's one of the only games with multiple stages (three, to be precise), and it's the closest thing to a normal game in this collection. The objective is simple: Donkey Kong has kidnapped Peach and is holding her hostage. Mario needs to dodge barrels, enemies, and other hazards while on his way to save the princess. Generally, Mario has to reach the top of the stage enough times to make Donkey Kong fall over, and then the next stage begins. Control here is limited and largely simplified; Mario is only able to move and jump in predefined spots. Basically, it's Donkey Kong on-rails. Despite the limitations, this game is highly enjoyable, as it's the most interactive.

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After getting high scores in the previous five games, you unlock Ball, the first Game and Watch game ever released. Initially, you only unlock the classic version of the game, but as you get higher scores in more games, you unlock the modern version. The default modern version of Ball has Yoshi using two tennis rackets to bounce eggs around, with the goal of not dropping any eggs. Unlike all the other games, you've only got one shot at this; no extra lives or anything. More modern versions of Ball can be unlocked, each one featuring a different character. All versions follow the same rules, but each one gets harder. I'll be perfectly blunt here: this is the worst game of the lot. It feels like this game was hastily put together at the last second. On top of being disgustingly simple, it's very hard to judge where the objects will land. The classic version doesn't have this issue, since it has outlines showing where the balls go, but the modern version omits the outlines. Additionally, the modern version has an awkward perspective that further worsens the problem. This is a crummy prize for getting all those high scores.

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Game and Watch Gallery 2 is a decent collection of games that have the potential to keep you entertained while on a boring flight or car ride. Not that anyone carries a Game Boy with them anymore. The six games bring plenty of variety to the table, and while they aren't all great, there's something for everyone. Getting high scores to unlock bonus stuff is nice, too. The only fault with Game and Watch Gallery 2 is that, while it does pack more content than the first game, the content isn't as good. This is probably because Nintendo put their best Game and Watch titles on the previous release, leaving the lesser ones for Game and Watch Gallery 2. It would have been nice if the previous games were included in this one, but Game and Watch Gallery 2 is still pretty good on its own.

Word Count: 1,517

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