Hey, fellas, nyuk nyuk nyuk! Why, I oughta… Soitenly. Oh, a wise guy, eh? Woo-woo-woo-woo!

I remember this one growing up. My uncle is an old television show and movie fanatic, so whenever I came over, I had two choices to make in the basement where his Nintendo Entertainment System was connected: Jaws or The Three Stooges. For some of you, this would have been hell on Earth.

I learned to deal.

He only bought a Nintendo because he got swept into the craze at the time. I suppose he thought if he enjoyed a movie or a show, then its corresponding video game would be just as entertaining. Big mistake. Picture yourself buying only licensed-based games. I know. It’s hard to even imagine. Three-breasted alien chicks do not equal a romping good time in Total Recall on the Nintendo.

In The Three Stooges, Ma has 30 days to pay the orphanage’s rent to the evil I. Fleecem and repair the joint. The Stooges, being big softies, decide to help. “We’ll get the dough!” are their exact words. And with that, it’s off to the races!

For all intents and purposes, The Three Stooges is a board game, one that scrolls through different mini-games. Each turn counts as a day, which, if you do the math, means that you have 30 attempts to steal medical supplies from hospitals, hop over homeless people lying on the sidewalk, eat live shelled oyster soup, throw pies at the aristocracy, and walk off with large sums of money from street corners.

One of the game’s pluses is its use of real voice clips. Unfortunately, as you can expect coming from an 8-bit console, the lines are muffled to the point of sounding like audio recordings from The Exorcist. If you’re brave enough, record the in-game voices and play them backwards to hear if there’s any Latin muttered in the noise.

I’ve particularly had vivid nightmares of the soup eating contest stage. Curly’s howls! Oh, God, Christ Jesus, Curly’s howls! Like cries from a man on his deathbed whenever an oyster swallows a soup cracker! Relax, Curly. There will be other soup crackers.

I had high hopes that there’d be differences in this prototype, which came from the Netherlands collector Niels Thomassen, based on the neat Three Stooges label on the front cartridge.

I had even higher hopes after seeing the stickers on the PRG and CHR EPROM chips inside. The official release date of The Three Stooges was in September of 1989; these stickers have a February 23, 1989 date on them.

Sadly, I had a hard time finding any changes. The game plays just as wonky as ever–no more, no less.

After dumping the data, the code is actually different, but the differences are too subtle to notice in the game.