Retro: VC Weekly #171

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

Anyone interested in the history of Nintendo will most likely enjoy the latest release to be added to the Virtual Console especially as it contains many classic mini-games in one convenient collection. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Game and Watch Gallery

Price: GB �2.60, EU �3
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 1997
System: GameBoy

If you've ever enjoyed the simple pleasure of playing a Game and Watch then chances are the experience will have stayed with you to this day; I can personally remember whiling away many an hour on these seemingly simple yet amazingly addictive self-contained hand-held games which have earned themselves a well deserved place in video-game history. But they are still perfectly playable even today, indeed they've been so popular over the years that many compilations have been released on the GameBoy containing many of the original games plus revamped versions and now Nintendo seem to have seen fit to release Game and Watch Gallery, the first of these classic compilations which have definitely stood the test of time.

So if these games are still playable then surely it stands to reason that any attempt to remake them is clearly unjustified, in most cases you may be right though this is not just any mere rehash but more a labour of love as each of the four titles included has been given a brand new lick of paint in a way that only Nintendo know how. The four titles include Fire, Manhole, Octopus and Oil Panic all faithfully recreated in both their original form complete with sparse animation, simple bleeps etc and then we have the redone versions complete with many Mario character cameos which are welcome indeed adding a brand new lease of life to these long-term classics.

Retaining the same basic gameplay in Fire you control two firemen holding a trampoline as you 'bounce' people jumping out of a burning building to safety while Manhole has you moving manhole covers underneath pedestrians to stop them falling into the waters below. Octopus puts you in control of a diver attempting to steal treasure from the ocean floor after navigating past several arms of the ink-spitting creature and in Oil Panic � my personal favourite � you must collect oil drips in a jar and then throw them out of the window to your helper below but rather comically if you miss you'll end up covering the pedestrians on the pavement; each of these games is still as much fun as they ever were regardless of which version you play though the modern counterparts have a few tactical elements included which only add to the experience.

As and additional feature you can unlock certain things depending on how many stars you acquire which you gain from obtaining high-scores on games so there is plenty of reason to keep playing now with added incentives. Visuals on both versions are nicely presented but the added detail on the remakes only serves to add an extra layer of charm which is most welcome; audio seems relatively unchanged but this can hardly be seen as a bad things seeing as the effects used are such classics and though basic as they are really don't need much alteration.

Fans of the original Game and Watches will most likely revel in the chance to experience these classic games once again and quite honestly at the price it's an attractive proposition as you genuinely do get a decent amount of gaming for your money, for those uninitiated however just beware that this type of title represents gameplay at its most basic but thankfully its most pure as well. I see no reason why many people wouldn't enjoy these fantastic titles as they are just as enjoyable today as they always have been and are a welcome break from the comparatively complicated games we've become accustomed to today.

Verdict : The classiest of classic games in one convenient collection.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins

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