The Three Stooges (NES)

The Three Stooges Box Art

The Three Stooges

System: NES

Release Date: October 1989

Developer: Beam Software

Publisher: Activision

Genre: Minigames

The Three Stooges ushers out September 1989 and welcomes in October. September felt like it would never end with the most games released in a month so far, all but a couple being crappy. Is the Three Stooges going to buck that trend? We’ll find out, but this title was ported to both the GBA and PSX, complete with loading times. The dastardly banker, I. Fleecem is looking to tear down Ma’s orphanage if she can’t pay $5000 in 30 days. Enter Moe, Larry, and Curly, the Three Stooges!

The Stooges start on the streets and are looking at the help wanted ads to find the right job to bring home the dough. Along the top of the screen is a number of options and Moe’s hand moves randomly across them for up to ten moves. You can wait for all ten moves to finish and have your fate chosen randomly, or you can press the A Button to choose your own. Then you head off to the job and are given a line of instructions.

My best game is Help Wanted: Waiters. Here you need to win a pie fight with three hoity-toity patrons. You can throw pies by holding the A Button and pressing a direction, and duck pies by just pressing the direction of the Stooge. I found holding the A Button and rotating the d-pad would net the best results. My next best game is the Boxing Match. Curly enters the ring with Killer Killduff and has six rounds to knock the champ down. Larry is planning to play Pop Goes the Weasel to drive Curly into a murderous rage, but his violin is broken! You have to run down the street, avoiding and jumping obstacles to make it to the radio store to mend his instrument. The quicker you make it back, the more money you get paid.

Curly also can enter the Cracker Eating Contest. Here you have a view of the bowl and move the spoon over the crackers. You have to press the A Button to scoop up the cracker before the oysters get them all. As long as you eat a cracker, you can keep going, but once the oyster stops you from your feast, the contest is over. Help Wanted: Doctors ended up as my worst game. The boys are driving mini race cars behind an orderly pushing a gurney. The goal is to reach the operating room with as much time on the clock as possible. Along the way, you must avoid patients, because colliding with them subtracts ten seconds from your time. The orderly is also constantly dropping medical supplies, which you can grab for $5 apiece.

The last money game is a trivia contest, where you’re asked three questions about the Stooges. Other squares you may land on include the mousetrap, which you can land on three times before the fourth one ends your game. The money square, which gives you a random amount of money. The Safe square, which drops a safe on Curly’s head and gives you a cash reward. The glove, which moves the game board ahead without wasting a day. The question mark, which may be a visit to the bank, or a cash reward. The banker square, where I. Fleecem takes some of your cash. And the slap fest between the Three Stooges. You want to make sure to beat up your buddies , so you can get the cursor to move slower when choosing games.

Come day 31, the game is over. There are several different endings depending on how much money you earn. If you earn less than $5000, the Orphanage is lost and the Stooges are renamed mud. From $5000 to $10,000, Ma keeps the orphanage. $10,000 – $20,000 also repairs the orphanage. And if you can get more than $20,000, Ma pawns her daughters off on the boys on top of everything else!

Graphics: 3.0

I like the use of digitized images from the Three Stooges shorts, and the sprite graphics aren’t bad, either.

Sound: 3.0

The digitized voice samples are actually really clear and fun. The music is what I expect from the Stooges.

Gameplay: 2.0

Everything is competent, yet very shallow. The cracker game has the largest upside, as you can keep eating bowls forever.

Difficulty: 2.0

The games are basically very easy. You might have trouble with them in the first half, but by the second half of a playthrough, they should become second nature.

Fun Factor: 2.5

I think this is a fun minigame compilation. Would I want it to be the only thing I was allowed to play? No.

Overall Grade: 2.5

The Three Stooges earns a B-. An otherwise average game is carried by novel graphics and music. Moe, Larry, and Curly all have a soft spot in my heart, so save any hate for the GBA or PSX versions.