Game and Watch Gallery 3
  • Genre:
    • Compilation
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy Color
  • Developer:
    • TOSE
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • JP 04/08/1999
    • US 12/01/1999
    • UK February 2000
Score: 75%

This review was published on 11/30/2014.

Game and Watch Gallery 3 is a mini-game collection developed by TOSE and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color. It's the third game in the Game and Watch Gallery series and was released in Japan on April 8, 1999, North America on December 1, 1999, and Europe in February 2000. Prior to the Game Boy's existence, in the early 1980s, Nintendo had a bunch of handheld games referred to as Game and Watch that were designed by the legendary Gunpei Yokoi. Each Game and Watch game had its own dedicated hardware with controls specifically tailored to it. The Game and Watch Gallery series takes those old Game and Watch games and puts them on the Game Boy with enhanced graphics and sound. Game and Watch Gallery 3 has way more games than the previous two, providing the most bang for your buck.

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Initially, five games are available in Game and Watch Gallery 3. Every game has a modern and classic version available; the modern one is a remake with Mario characters and the classic one is a reproduction of the original Game and Watch release. There are also three difficulty settings for each game on each mode, one of which is unlocked, resulting in a solid amount of play value for those that enjoy playing on multiple difficulties. The games all loop endlessly, progressively getting more difficult the longer you go, and the objective is to get the highest score possible before losing all remaining lives. More games can be unlocked by attaining high scores, though these games aren't as good as the main ones. Also, there are other bonuses for getting high scores, like a museum that shows off Game and Watch's rich history, and a sound test with all the game's music. Together, all this combines to form a reasonable package for reasonable people.

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Our first game to check out is Egg. Contrary to what the name may lead you to believe, the modern version of this game doesn't involve eggs all that much. Instead, it involves Yoshi eating cookies off conveyer belts like the gluttonous dinosaur that he is. It's reminiscent of Yoshi's Cookie for the SNES and NES, though it isn't a puzzle game. There are four conveyer belts total, and the cookies continue to get more baked as they travel downward, eventually being burnt to a crisp if Yoshi waits too long to eat them. You get more points for eating well baked cookies, but no points if you eat a burnt cookie, so you want to gobble them up at the right time. Wait too long, however, and the cookie will fall down to the ground below, which counts as a loss. Eating cookies off the floor is unsanitary, after all. Occasionally, Yoshi will lay eggs that hatch into helpful offspring, slightly justifying the game's title. The concept of waiting to eat cookies is a decent risk vs. reward system, but other than that, there isn't much to this game. This is the least interesting of the modern games in Game and Watch Gallery 3.

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Greenhouse is the second game in Game and Watch Gallery 3. Coincidentally, this is another game that has Yoshi taking center stage. This time, Yoshi must protect a garden of plants from incoming invaders. To do this, he eats a melon and spits out seeds as if they were bullets, just like what he did in Yoshi's Island. Yoshi will automatically target the nearest enemies, meaning all you have to do is move him around and press the button to fire seeds. There are four plants to protect in all, and Yoshi has to use a pipe at the center of the stage to travel between the upper and lower levels. Collecting enough extra melons grants additional benefits, like giving Yoshi a fire breath attack and bonus points. Functionally, this game isn't too different from Egg, but it has a tiny bit more depth to it, making it a marginally better way to waste time. Still, it's far from the best game in Game and Watch Gallery 3.

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Turtle Bridge is the third Game and Watch game within this collection. Much like Egg, the modern incarnation of this game betrays the name by not containing any turtles, though it does have a bridge. In an unlikely turn of events, Toad is the hero of this particular game. Mario sits high atop one tower and wishes to deliver items to Princess Peach, who resides in a nearby tower. The goal here is to have Toad safely carry the item across a bridge formed of flying birds between the two towers, then rinse and repeat. Birds will often fly away to pop balloons that float by, which can result in Toad falling to his untimely demise if he steps on the unoccupied space. There's also a floating platform at the center with coins to collect for extra points, but this platform falls down if Toad stands on it for too long. This game is a lot more fun than it sounds. At the higher speeds, there is a great degree of strategy involved in selecting the right platforms at the right times. It's a little repetitive, but the quick strategic thinking required makes this simple game strangely enjoyable. If only there were turtles.

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Mario Bros. is the name of the fourth game, though it bears no resemblance to the original arcade release of the same name. In this bizarre version of Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi are working in a cake factory. No, it's not The Cheesecake Factory. Mario and Luigi have made a pact to get the cakes packed and ready to go. The Italian brothers accomplish this task by helping each other to place unmade cakes onto conveyer belts. As the cakes travel along the conveyer belts, they get closer to completion, eventually getting boxed and shipped to the hungry denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. Obviously, none of the cakes are allowed to fall. It's like a real factory job, only fun. This is one of the more interesting games in the collection, because you control both Mario and Luigi at the same time. Luigi takes the left side and Mario takes the right side; you use the d-pad to move Luigi up and down, and the buttons do the same for Mario. The frantic multitasking necessary to play this game makes it an exhilarating experience. Plus, it's a creative idea.

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Donkey Kong Jr. is the fifth game, and unlike the previous one, this one does actually bear resemblance to the original arcade release of the same name. This is basically the same as Donkey Kong, only the roles are reversed; Mario plays the bad guy and kidnaps Donkey Kong. Now it's up to Donkey Kong Jr. to save his father from the wicked plumber. In order to achieve his mission, Donkey Kong Jr. has to collect enough keys to unlock his dad's cage. The keys always spawn in the same spot, so it's just a matter of avoiding the enemies and obstacles each time. Every time Donkey Kong Jr. successfully unlocks his father's cage, Mario takes him to another area, for a total of three separate stages. It loops after that. This is the most advanced game of the bunch, as you're able to walk, jump, climb vines, stomp on enemies, and more. That combined with the different stages makes this the most appealing game in Game and Watch Gallery 3. However, because it's on rails, it's still not on par with the real arcade version.

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High scores are for cool people. If you're cool enough to get high scores, you'll unlock a bunch of extra games. Many games can be unlocked in this manner; Flagman, Judge, Lion, Spitball Sparky, and Donkey Kong II. The bad thing about these games is that, unlike the five main ones you start with, they lack modernized versions. That means you'll be forced to contend with the archaic originals, stick figure characters and all. Flagman and Judge are the worst of the bunch, as the former is a simple game of Simon Says, and the latter is kind of like a game of high-low. Judge supports two players, but considering how basic it is, that's not terribly exciting. Lion is okay, but the best ones are Spitball Sparky and Donkey Kong II. Spitball Sparky is essentially a Game and Watch clone of Breakout, while Donkey Kong II is like a variation of Donkey Kong Jr. Additionally, a mirrored version of Fire from the first Game and Watch Gallery is available as a super secret game. While better than nothing, these are lousy prizes for the trouble of getting high scores. Nintendo should have taken the time to remake these games so they match the quality of the rest.

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Game and Watch Gallery 3 is a fun game to pull out during boring times, but only in short bursts. It's got countless games to keep you occupied while at the doctor's office, even if they aren't all winners. The ability to unlock additional games for obtaining high scores is a great incentive to continue playing, or it would be if the extra games were any good. If the bonus games were all given modernized remakes, then this would have been a substantially better deal. It's still around ten games jam packed into a single Game Boy Color cartridge, though, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

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