The Retro Critic


Of all the movies, of all the TV series, of all the characters I would have picked to lead a video game: Larry, Curly and Moe were WAY down on my list.

Like, waaaaaaay down.

But with a new Three Stooges movie out this year (another brilliant idea) and a classic NES game to make fun of, let’s not waste anymore time and check out one of the console’s strangest, most unnecessary creations.

Wait… what?

Did… Activision just mash-up The Three Stooges with Ghostbusters 2 to give my brain the weirdest/most awesome crossover imaginable?

Hell yeah it did!

Seriously though, what the hell’s that about?

*slaps the game*

Moving on.

Turns out the game’s more Blues Brothers than Ghostbusters 2 as The Stooges (not the band, sadly) decide to help out some orphanage that’s about to be closed down by some greedy landlord. Which is odd because last time I checked, the guys were always about as helpful as a knobless door but whatever.

Lets not get nitpicky.

Basically the way the game works is a bit like a board game or a wheel of fortune-type deal where you control a hand and try to land it on a certain symbol. Depending on where you land, your Stooges are sent to a specific mini game. That or a mousetrap just screws you over.

The mini games are based on various Three Stooges shorts and, for a fan, it’s pretty sweet to see that stuff in a game. No matter how out-of-place it all seems.

But what kind of 80’s kid could seriously call themselves a Three Stooges fanatic? I mean, I loved Laurel & Hardy when I was a kid but not to the point of being able to answer crazy-specific trivia questions about them! Something which you’re required to do in this game, funnily enough.

*hits game on the head with a small hammer*

The mini game most people remember, arguably, is the cracker eating contest.

You’re Curly and your job is to grab as many crackers as you can with your spoon. Simple enough? Sure, but there’s three big problems you gotta face:

1/ The controls are awkward and make the simple task of eating a cracker seem like a friggin’ mission.

2/ Curly won’t shut the hell up and out of nowhere just keeps yelling out random, loud squeals throughout the game.

3/ He looks like this:


Let it haunt your dreams.

Feast your eyes upon your own personal Hell for the next few days.

A Hell for your brain!!!

Imagine not knowing who the hell The Three Stooges are, playing this game and finding yourself face to face with Curly Krueger here. Not a pretty sight.

So yeah, that mini game sucks, lets move on to the boxing one.

Yes, this game requires you to 24 the hell out of your NES controller. Not just in this level where you’re Larry running from one side of the screen to the other before the time runs out, avoiding obstacles along the way.

Yeah, just like that…

Hey Moe, Superman’s dad wants his light-suit back.

Anyway, the other level where multitasking is a must is the pie-fight mini game.

Guys, ok first of all: who talks like that?!


And finally: You’re making The Three Stooges look reasonable here. Time to reassess certain things I think.

This mini game is nonsense. Not only are you meant to control every Stooge but you’re meant to get each of them to throw pies and duck at incoming ones. Like it’s the N64 and you’ve got 12 buttons to work with.

*eye pokes the game*

Ok so far we’ve established that the game was a bad idea to begin with, that it’s barely playable and that it looks and sounds horrendous.

More please!

Well, I’ll give the hospital mini game that: It’s got pizzazz.

But look at that guy on crutches. I really messed that guy up.

Oh, and this guy:

Who goes around saving orphanages while harming innocent hospital patients in the process?

That’s nuts!

They’re “stooges” not Patch Adams!

*kicks the game’s ass*

Speaking of which!

Here’s a mini game that’s actually genius:

All you do here is slap, kick, twist and eye-poke those two morons who brought you so much grief throughout this game.

You wanna get nuts?

Lets get nuts.

You know, if this game has taught me one thing it’s that there’s a reason Moe is such a cruel bastard to these guys. They’re insufferable! Being with them 24/7 is bound to bring out the worst in a person. I get this guy now.

Kick Curly in the balls Moe, you owe it to yourself.

So that’s pretty much it. You collect money, keep playing the same levels repeatedly and in the end you either screw it up or you indulge in a variety of endings. Usually, I end up paying for the orphanage’s debts and renovations but apparently one ending sees The Stooges get together with three chicks. Clearly I need to eat more f***in’ crackers.

Overall, what do I make of The Three Stooges on the NES?

Oh it’s bad, certainly. Really bad in fact. The levels in this game are a joke, on top of which there’s little variety and you end up playing through the same four mini games over and over. It’s repetitive as hell. One level isn’t even a level, you just walk to a bag of money and pick it up: that’s it.

What the hell was the point of THAT?!

Graphics-wise, I’ve seen worse but this is pretty stale and at times frankly unpleasant (see Curly Krueger, above) and as for the sound, as nice as it is to hear the Three Blind Mice theme and the guys’ voices, it never shuts the hell up and the novelty wears off pretty quickly. This is a game you play once and never again. Why would you? To see a different ending? Gimme a break.

All that said, if you’re a fan of The Three Stooges, as I am, you’ll find the odd stupid thing to enjoy here and there. It’s a bad idea for a game, granted, but now it’s there might as well enjoy its goofy nostalgic factor!

lol I almost forgot.

Wanna know how the game ends? After you save the orphanage, I mean. Really? You sure?


Screw it, you guys punish the game. I’m out.

Nice work, boys.

Nice work.