As over 50 different Game & Watch titles were released during the eighties, Nintendo had the clever idea to give a select few a fresh coat of paint, giving them a visual makeover, adding music, turning them into Mario-themed titles and then putting them together in a collection which allowed you to play both the new and old versions of each game. With two of these Game & Watch Galleries already released, does the third do anything special to make it stand out from the others?
Like the two collections before it, Game & Watch Gallery 3 takes a number of old Game & Watch games (five this time) and gives them a modernized makeover. Just like before, all of these games are high score-based affairs, meaning they will never end until you lose all your lives, so it becomes a mission to last as long as possible. Of course, don't expect the games to remain easy — the longer you keep going, the more difficult they become, typically with increased speed and more frequent hazards. If you're doing well you can even regain lost lives or gain increased points until the next time you mess up.
The selection of games this time is just as good as ever. To start off, there's Egg, in which a wolf must collect eggs that roll down from four directions by moving his basket around. In Greenhouse, you must protect your precious plants, which are spread across two floors, from nasty insects by spraying insecticide at them. In Turtle Bridge, you must repeatedly cross a body of water by jumping across the backs of turtles, which periodically dive. In Mario Bros., you control both Mario and Luigi as they move packages back and forth across numerous conveyor belts, trying to prevent them from falling. Finally, in Donkey Kong Jr., you play as DK's son, attempting to grab keys and unlock his dad's cage to free him from the evil Mario, somewhat similarly to the arcade game and its NES port.
As before, the modern versions of these games change things up a little, adding in new characters and hazards. In Egg, you're now Yoshi catching cookies, but you also have to watch out for Bob-ombs. In Greenhouse, Yoshi has to protect a bunch of flowers from familiar foes by eating watermelons and spitting seeds at them. In Turtle Bridge, Toad has to transport packages between two towers by hopping across birds (which periodically dive to pop balloons), as well as a platform with a timer on it. Mario Bros. is mostly the same, but also has Bowser, who occasionally causes the conveyor belts to move the opposite direction.
Out of all games, Donkey Kong Jr. has changed the most. The basic premise is still the same, but the original level layout is nowhere to be seen - instead, much like some of the games in Game & Watch Gallery 2, you have to manoeuvre through several completely new levels, each with their own unique enemies and platforming challenges.
As in the previous Game & Watch Galleries, there's some fun unlockables for players who get good at the initial five games. As you obtain stars by reaching high enough scores in games, with separate star counts for the modern and classic version of each game, you'll unlock even more games to play. The previous title only featured one extra game with further alternate modes to unlock, but in this third instalment you can unlock a full six additional games! The only drawback is that none of these have modern versions — you can only play them in classic mode, which is understandably a little annoying if you prefer the more charming graphics and music of the modern games.
Obtaining stars will also unlock entries in a museum, where you can read information about Game & Watch games that didn't make the cut in this Gallery. If you manage to break 1000 points in a game's modern version, meaning you got all the available stars, you'll unlock a harder difficulty for that game — it won't earn you more stars, but it presents a pretty crazy challenge.
On the technical side of things, this game doesn't do too much different from the previous incarnations. The modern versions of the games feature some charming new graphics and catchy music, while the classic iterations are still in black and white and have all the original beeps and boops you may have heard Mr. Game & Watch make in the Super Smash Bros. games.
Game & Watch Gallery 3 mostly sticks to the same formula its predecessors came up with, and it does a fine job, with the largest amount of games yet and a good selection of games overall. There's a lot of things to unlock for those willing to put the time in, and if you ever manage to get everything, you can always revisit any of the titles to try and improve your scores. This is definitely a game you won't put down for a while.