Review by Impossible

Reviewed: 11/30/02 | Updated: 12/08/03

To think, as game makers, Nintendo started here. What an awesome beginning.

When I first heard about this game, I wasn't overly enthusiastic. I assumed it probably wouldn't matter to me, likely just having games from the others in the series. Sure, G&W games are fun and addictive and all, but they usually don't have enough to them, so there aren't ever really enough games... Including GameBoy Gallery (not released in the US), Game & Watch Gallery Advance/4 was to be the fifth collection of classic yet fun G&W games, the ultimate proof that graphics and sound mean nothing (I even own a few). However, soon it seemed this game would have more unlockables than games you started with, and even my favourite Game & Watch game from many years ago, Donkey Kong Jr. (which I later learnt was in G&WG3, but likely not as good) This game suddenly perked my interest, with such a large range of games, and I ended up buying it when I saw it on a store shelf. Note that for obvious reasons, I won’t be reviewing the story, since there is none, but this doesn’t detract from the game.

Gameplay: 8/10
Well, this is where the game shines, and this is where I'll start. Everything about the game should be familiar to someone who has played a G&W Gallery game before. You have a bunch of games to play, with classic and modernized (GBA graphics and minor changes in gameplay, although some games, like Chef, have huge differences) versions, easy and hard of each. Break 1000 points in either Modern difficulty to open Very Hard. 200 points will get you a star, with five stars maximum (1000 points) per mode (Very Hard has no stars), adding up to 20 stars for each game, and 11 regular games makes 220 stars.

You start with six games: Fire, Boxing, Rainshower, Donkey Kong 3, Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario's Cement Factory. As you get stars, Chef, Mario Bros., Octopus, Fire Attack and Donkey Kong will open up. And every five stars, a little movie for a game will appear in the Museum section. Once you have all 9, you'll make a classic-only game PLAYABLE every 10 stars. And the final game is Zelda, so if you want to play it, you'll have to earn it by getting past the difficulty curve as your score gets higher, and getting a whole heap of stars. There are no stars for these games known as the 'Nifty Nine', and lack of a Modern mode in Zelda gives this game an 8 instead of 9, but it's still good (Zelda was probably the best G&W ever made, although it doesn't come near LttP and the GameBoy games).
For those unfamiliar with G&W games, you play a simplistic game with a simple goal, and if you mess up three times, you lose. There are ways to restore your misses once you get enough points, but it's not so easy by then.
The games themselves are quite fun in all modes, and if you think you're so good at a game and that it's too easy for you, you can try breaking 1000 points in Very Hard. The games have a very good difficulty curve, so you can get better as you increase your score to fit with the increasing difficulty level.

Graphics: 6/10
Well, you can't expect that much from these old G&W games, but Modern mode graphics are quite nice. Even the games from past Galleries have been GBA-ised, so all the characters look like they do on the GBA. The liquid crystal display thing of the G&W is emulated perfectly, and the games have never looked closer to the originals. The Classic mode graphics are really quite bad, although the colour in Mario's Bombs Away (and to a lesser extent, DK Jr.) is pretty good for the G&W. The above graphics rating applies mostly to Modern Mode of course, or it would be much lower. But without Classic Modes, the graphics would get a 7 or 8.

Sound/Music: 6/10
Again, this is for Modern Mode. The Classic sounds are just beeps, but modern mode has catchy tunes that won't distract you from the fun of the game. Then again, you'll barely notice them anyway. The music room area in the gallery doesn't hurt, though. Again, the Classic mode lowers the score a point or two, but sound wasn't the focus of G&W games at all.

Replay Value: 10/10 (unfortunately, common sense doesn't allow for any higher than 10 out of 10)
Wow, this is amazing. With 14 games to unlock, including Zelda, and the ability to go for higher and higher scores in a game, this will last you as long as you could possibly play it for, and longer. There are even single-cart two player games for Boxing and Donkey Kong 3, so you can play with friends.

Buy or Rent?
Buy, unless you despise classic games (in which case, get out of my review), or simple ones.

Overall: 8/10
It's a collection of 20 fun G&W games, so of course it's good. Not a 10 because it's nice to have a true, single game with a story sometimes, although that's not too important for G&W, and not a 9 because Zelda is Classic only. This is a must for your GBA collection, and any 'old-school' gamer would love it. However, keep in mind that several of the games have been in past G&W Galleries, so if you have both 2 and 3, maybe you should avoid this, unless you're desperate for some of the new ones (I never had any past ones, though, and I only every played GameBoy Gallery 3, (G&WG2) so this was more worth it for me). There's even a Message Board (in the game) listing tips for each game as you see them, and a history of all G&W games which you unlock at 70 stars, so this game has plenty to see and do. Before I start repeating myself, I'll just say that Game & Watch Gallery Advance (or 4) is a great game, and you should buy it if you find it anywhere.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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