DuckTales. Capcom, (1989) Nintendo

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DuckTales NES cover art

Life IS like a hurricane, here in… Duckberg GamesRevisited.

We don’t have race cars, lasers or aeroplanes, but we have some adventures. For example, Dave once bought a sausage roll from Greggs!

The Game

Firstly, DuckTales is pretty short, 6 levels short. I played the game for the first time over the weekend and completed it in 30 minutes on my 3rd attempt.

This being a Capcom game, and developed by the majority of the MegaMan team, you probably know what to expect.

If not, what you get here is a tight platformer, with nice controls and a choice of what order you do the missions in. Once the 5 levels are done, you unlock the final mission, where you take on the final boss.

DuckTales NES Mission Select

We so fancy, we got GIFS

However, each level has multiple paths, hidden rooms, and secret treasures. So while you can blast through the game in 9 minutes (not me), you can explore the game and try for high scores.

While you don’t need to have been a fan of the cartoon, DuckTales is a pretty accurate representation of the series, even the final boss (after Dracula Duck) is in the cartoon intro.

Graphics

DuckTales still looks good, the sprites are a little muddy in places, but overall it still looks good for an 8bit game.

Each level has a theme, looks different, and has a different type of enemy. The Amazon level is nice and Vibrant, The Himalayas are suitably icey and the Moon looks pretty cool.

I actually think the original looks better here!

I actually think the original looks better here!

As  each level has it’s own theme, each level has it’s own style enemy. The Himalayas has goats and snowy rabbits, the Amazon has bees and gorillas, the moon has aliens, and Robocop style spaceducks. Transylvania also has mummies and spooky stuff, The Mine? Not sure what the mine has. I completed it in 40 odd seconds first run through.

Interestingly, DuckTales was the first licensed game Capcom made with Disney, and as a result had to work closely with Disney to ensure the game met Disney’s family friendly policies. This included, removing crosses from gravestones, and having Ice Cream as a health pickup, rather than a hamburger.

DuckTales The Moon

Negatives

Well it is pretty short.10 minutes or quicker for a speedrun, or 30 minutes if you fully explore the game.

The Transylvania level is pretty ugly, and is the most frustrating level. You have to use secret holes in walls, and use teleporting mirrors. It isn’t hard, but figuring out the right path is a little trial and error.

Duck Tales Transylvania

Gameplay

The game plays the same as MegaMan, you press A to jump, B to attack. You can control the height of your jump by how hard you press, and you take a Mario approach to killing enemies (pogo on them) The attack button allows you to do a couple of different atatcks. Down and B is a pogo, which kills enemies, and allows you to jump higher (not as controlled as a normal jump). You also get a golf swing. This is pretty useless, except for item hunting, and killing the mummies on a ball and chain. You have to walk up to something (and against it, so you’ll take damage on enemies) and direction and B. This will cause you to hit something.

You start off with 3 life blobs, different things hurt you a different amount, but lose 3 blobs and you’re dead. Fall in a hole and your dead. You can pick up health (ice cream replenishes 1, cake full), and you can find extra lives and extra health blobs. I think, you can get up to 6 blobs health, but I only found 2, so got to 5 blobs. On Easy, each blob gets two hits, on medium or hard the life blobs take 1 hit to loose a blob.

DuckTales Himalayas

But once you lose your last life, you’re dead. No continues. The first few times you play, you’ll die, but once you figure the routes, and the death pits/shortcut pits 2 lives is more than adequate to complete the game.

Other stuff?

The music is awesome! Not as good as MegaMan, but still pretty awesome. The Moon Level theme is one of gaming’s great tunes (Smooth McGroove version), and the 8bit rendition of the DuckTales Theme will have the nostalgia glands welling up.

Overall

DuckTales holds up, it is very short, but does everything well. I don’t like the Transylvania level, but that’s not a bad design. It is a preference.

DuckTails isn’t as good as MegaMan 2, it is more enjoyable than MegaMan, but isn’t as good a game. It is still worth a play though, so if you can’t get a hold of an original copy (or don’t want to spend £35 on a copy) it is worth getting the HD Remaster as it adds new music, further levels and other additional goodies.

Basically, the shortness of the game has to count for something. If the game was longer it’d be scoring it in the low 90s late 80s. As it is, it is a great game, but too short.

Pros: Moon level music is almost as good as Dr Wiley, DUCKTAILS WOOO OOOOH!

Cons: Very short

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