Game and Watch Gallery 4
  • Genre:
    • Compilation
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy Advance
  • Developer:
    • TOSE
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • UK 10/25/2002
    • US 10/28/2002
Score: 75%

This review was published on 12/25/2014.

Game and Watch Gallery 4 is a mini-game collection developed by TOSE and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. It's the fourth game in the Game and Watch Gallery series and was released in Europe on October 25, 2002, and North America on October 28, 2002. In case you don't know, there were these little handheld units Nintendo released in the early 1980s called Game and Watch. Not unlike the Tiger Electronics games of the 1990s, each Game and Watch game came on a separate unit. Game and Watch Gallery 4 remakes a handful of those games for the Game Boy Advance. In comparison to the previous games in the series, which were on the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color, Game and Watch Gallery 4 has the most content and the best graphics. However, there are a lot of repeats from previous Game and Watch Gallery games, and many of the new games suck.

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The box advertises six games in one, but there's actually a lot more. It's more accurate to say that you have six games from the outset and more are unlocked as you achieve high scores. Game and Watch games are all about getting high scores, for they channel the spirit of arcade games of old. All games are endless loops that progressively get more difficult the longer you last, testing your endurance. The longer you last, the more points you get, and the goal is to get the highest scores humanly possible. For the majority of the games, they come in modern and classic versions. The modern version is a remake with new graphics, new music, and new mechanics, whereas the classic version is a direct port of the original Game and Watch game. Both the modern and classic versions start with two difficulty modes each, with the modern version having an extra difficulty unlocked after reaching a thousand points. Various other trinkets get unlocked after obtaining high scores; a museum that shows information on other Game and Watch titles, a sound test with all the game's tunes, etc. There is lots to do if you enjoy what's being offered.

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Boxing is the first new game that hasn't appeared in any previous Game and Watch Galleries. It's like a highly simplified adaptation of Punch-Out, except it stinks. The modern version, which is the only version that matters, has a lethargic Luigi take to the ring to do some boxing. Luigi will go up against several different foes, eventually facing his arch nemesis, Waluigi. Each combatant has a life meter that gets depleted as they take punishment, with the objective being to knock the opponent out of the ring. Combat revolves around the simple premise of switching between high and low punches to break through the opponent's guard. There are a total of three opponents and each one is harder than the last; the game repeatedly cycles through these opponents until you lose. Other than appearances and difficulty levels, there are no differences between the opponents. As a result of that, this game quickly becomes monotonous. It's the most unique game in this collection, but that doesn't stop it from being boring. This is one of the only games in Game and Watch Gallery 4 with two-player support, though that isn't much of a consolation prize.

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Rain Shower is the second game unique to Game and Watch Gallery 4. Well, unique to the Game and Watch Gallery series, anyway. Bowser throws paint balls from a tree in an attempt to hit Mario's friends, who are, for some reason, hanging on clotheslines. Mario must heroically move the clotheslines to keep his pals out of harm's way. You can gauge where the paint balls are thrown based on their color, which is a good dose of good game design. As you progress through the game, more of Mario's friends will attach themselves to the clotheslines, making things more difficult for the portly plumber. Things get fairly hectic once the clotheslines are full of Mario's buddies. As basic as this game is, it's not bad at all. The challenge and variety makes it a step up from the mediocre boxing game, though like many of Game and Watch's offerings, it does get repetitive after a while. It may not be the best in Game and Watch Gallery 4, but Rain Shower is still a decent game for decent people.

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Mario's Cement Factory is an unfortunately titled game in Game and Watch Gallery 4. The only thing more boring than a cement factory is a pencil factory. Luckily, the modern version of this game has absolutely nothing to do with cement, though it still takes place in a factory; a cookie factory, that is. Cookies are way better than cement, so that's fine by me. There are two floors, two glass jars per floor, and an elevator at the center connecting everything together. Mario has to use the elevator to pull levers near the jars that release the cookie dough onto the conveyer belts below. If Mario doesn't get to the jars in time, they will overflow with dough and cause a spill. Also, the elevator can kill Mario if he isn't careful. The problem with this game is that it's excruciatingly slow. It does get faster and harder over time, but starts off slower than a snail. Even on Very Hard, this game is very easy. Besides that, this game is okay. It's a bit more complex than the rest, which makes it a bit more interesting.

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Donkey Kong 3 is a game in Game and Watch Gallery 4; not to be confused with Donkey Kong Country 3. It's an adaptation of the original arcade game, but it has enough significant deviances to make it a mostly original creation. In this strange iteration of Donkey Kong 3, Mario and Donkey Kong are busting ghosts inside a haunted mansion. Instead of using vacuums or proton packs, the two mortal enemies use bubble guns. The goal here isn't actually to bust ghosts, though; the true path to victory lies in ruining the opponent's day by pushing ghosts or fireballs into them. You first encase ghosts in bubbles with your gun, and then you shoot bubbles at the trapped entity to push it towards the opponent. The bubble gun must have its water supply replenished periodically via water droplets that come from overhead drainage pipes, which makes things a tad trickier. It's a creative game, but it doesn't have much depth. Two-player mode is also available for this game, though you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that'd want to play this with you.

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Fire Attack is the last of the unique games offered in Game and Watch Gallery 4. It's the last unique one with a modern version, anyway. In this narcissistic game, Wario defends a giant statue of himself from explosive enemies. Wario does this by smashing them with a mallet before they get close enough to explode on his beautiful golden statue. What a blast. Like many of the others, this game gets frantic after you play it for a while. There's not much more to it than that, really. This isn't one of the better games. It's too basic, even by Game and Watch standards, and it lacks the creativity and depth of the other games. You can still eke some enjoyment out of this one if you're desperate, but there's no reason to play this over the other games that are available, unless you're sick of them. Wario has been in plenty of good games, but this isn't one of them.

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The other main games are Fire, Donkey Kong Jr., Chef, Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and Octopus. I won't be going over any of these games in explicit detail, because they're all rehashes from previous entries in the Game and Watch Gallery series, albeit with better graphics. The rest of the games are Manhole, Tropical Fish, Mario's Bombs Away, Parachute, Bombsweeper, Climber, Safe Buster, Lifeboat, and Zelda. These are all straight ports of various Game and Watch releases, so they're not as exciting as the primary games. Even so, this is quite a lot of content. Unfortunately, almost all of this content has to be unlocked, and getting everything is a tall order. You basically have to get a thousand points in almost every single game if you want to unlock every single game, which is a task only fit for maniacs. As much as this adds to the replay value, it would have been way better if these games were available right from the start.

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Game and Watch Gallery 4 has the most content and best graphics out of the four games, but it's not the greatest. More is not always better, after all. The majority of this game is just a retread of the previous Game and Watch Gallery titles, and most of the new additions aren't very good. It's a good buy if you don't own the previous Game and Watch Gallery games, but kind of pointless if you do. Still, it does group many of the games into a single cartridge with better graphics, and that isn't a bad deal. Most of the best Game and Watch games are included in this one, so you aren't missing much if you elect to go with Game and Watch Gallery 4. Unlocking everything is a nightmare, though.

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