About a year after the release of the first Game & Watch Gallery, Nintendo released the sequel, Game & Watch Gallery 2. It featured 5 games as opposed to 4, and overall was a much better compilation. I used to play this game quite a bit as a kid, so let’s take a look at what set it apart from the original!
The 5 games to choose from are Parachute, Helmet, Chef, Vermin, and Donkey Kong. Like the original, you can choose between the modern and classic modes. So let’s go down the list.
In Parachute, you move back and forth across shark-infested waters, catching parachuting men dropping out of a plane. As per usual with Game & Watch games, it starts easy, but then they start dropping faster and more frequently. Still, it’s one of the simplest games in the series… easy to pick up and play, which suits the series well.
Play the modern version, and you’ll immediately notice differences in the gameplay. For one thing, the plane (or airship, in this case) moves around, as opposed to remaining stationary. The characters dropping out don’t move back and forth quite as much, and generally just go straight down after deploying their parachutes. However, the different characters fall differently… DK Jr., for example, drops quickly, and pops his ‘chute shortly before reaching the water. So you need to stay on your toes. Also, see that cannon? That’s the other new feature…
Occasionally, a character will drift into the cannon, and get fired out. It doesn’t happen often, but you’d better watch out for it.
If a character falls into the water, a Lakitu will fish them out while Mario buries his head in his hands, overcome with grief. Clearly, he will be haunted by his failure for all time. A Toad will not be returning to his wife and child.
Of course, things speed up as you go along. It gets difficult due to the aforementioned weight differences… sometimes a character just dropped will fall faster than one that’s already been dropped, so you need to keep an eye on things. Overall, it’s a solid game, and a neat update of the original.
Next is Helmet. You cross from one end of the screen to the other, dodging falling tools as you go. But there’s a catch… the door on the right side isn’t always open, so you sometimes need to move back and forth around the tools while you wait for it to open. Apparently, the construction crew is drunk as hell.
Get hit and you collapse, likely suffering from a severe cracked skull and permanent brain damage.
The remake is similar. A paratroopa drops hammers and stuff on you, and you need to get from the left the the right, going through a door at the end. However, you need to step on a P switch along the way to open the door… doing this also causes coins to appear, which you can collect to get extra points.
Sometimes the paratroopa will drop a spike ball, which falls a bit faster.
Next is Chef. Basically, you juggle multiple pieces of food, trying to keep them from a hungry mouse on the ground. It’s easier said than done… despite its simplistic gameplay, this is one of the hardest games in the compilation.
Occasionally, a creepy-looking cat will grab the sausage with a fork, keeping it out of play for a short time. This seems like it would be helpful, but stay on your toes… he’ll drop it eventually.
The remake, on the other hand, feels like an entirely different game. You’re given a much larger area to move about, and you can flip sides too. This time, your goal is to cook the food thrown by Mario and Luigi… this is, of course, done by juggling it. When the food darkens, it’s done, and you can let it fall down for Yoshi to eat. Don’t juggle it for too long, though, or you’ll burn it!
And make sure Yoshi’s underneath, or it will drop on the floor! This one is my favorite game in the compilation, and a perfect example of what the first one did wrong… it’s more than just an enhancement of the original game. It’s been completely reinvented, and is actually vastly superior in gameplay. They kept the basic focus of juggling food, but built an entirely new game around it. And it’s damn addictive, too. I played this one the most growing up, and playing it again, I can see why.
Next is Vermin. Basically, it’s a ghetto whack-a-mole. You control a guy with two hammers, and move him between various holes in the ground… you just need to have a hammer above where a mole pops out, and it hits them automatically. That’s pretty much all there is to say about Vermin.
The remake is similar in gameplay, but there’s more areas to defend and a lot more enemies to watch out for. You need to protect your eggs from attacking Shy Guys and paratroopas, and they’re goddamn relentless.
It’s a lot faster-paced than the original, and a bit more fun… though it’s still not as good as the other games.
Next is Donkey Kong, and as you can imagine, it’s a bit of a step down from the arcade original. The gist of it is the same, though… climb to the top of the stage, avoiding barrels along the way. The original Game & Watch DK was a multi-screen game, which is represented here with a smaller window displaying the top half of the stage. Fortunately, you can switch between the two with a button press…
When you reach the top screen, you need to flick a switch, which activates the crane.
You then need to jump onto the crane, which is a bit easier said than done as it can take a few tries to get the timing right. You then remove one of DK’s supports, and start over.
Do this four times, and DK takes a tumble, brutally shattering his jaw against the scaffolding. Then the stage starts over. So, you’d expect the modern version of Donkey Kong to pretty much just be the arcade version… right?
Wow. I wasn’t expecting this.
The Modern version of Donkey Kong is a completely different game! I mean, it’s similar… the switch is still there, though now it makes a moving platform instead of a crane. And again, you need to reach the top multiple times to make DK’s platform disappear. But it feels drastically different from the Donkey Kong we’re familiar with, let alone the fantastic Game Boy Donkey Kong. (Now there’s a game I’ll need to discuss further at some point.)
After your first trip up, the barrels will start busting open to reveal koopas! You can avoid hazards by grabbing onto chains and handles on the ceiling, but be careful… stay there too long, and they’ll disappear.
Reach the top enough times, and DK falls. Nothing makes Mario happier than monkey abuse, so he’s pretty thrilled about this.
Much to my surprise, there’s actually multiple stages! They really put quite a bit of effort into this one. I’m not sure how long it goes on for, but you can tell they actually spent time making something different.
And that’s the key word with this game. DIFFERENT. Sure, the first game had variations between the modern and classic versions, but they still felt like the same outdated games. Here, the modern remakes really stand out from their predecessors, and make for quite a fun time. It might not be the kind of game you’d play all the time, but it still made for a fine addition to the Game Boy library. Of course, things didn’t stop here…