Where do I even begin with this game? This is by far recognized as one of the greatest games for the NES. Its plat forming is solid, the music is catchy and it’s based off of a beloved childhood show. Now if you didn’t watch DuckTales, then shame on you! And don’t give me that excuse of “Oh I spent my free time outside enjoying fresh air and natural sunlight!” nice try, BUT THAT DOG WONT HUNT! For me, this show came on the Disney channel when I got home from school and the second I heard its intro theme, I was hooked.
The show was an absolute hit so what better way to promote the hit show than with its own video game. So lets start off this retro review by taking a look into DuckTales in all of it NES glory!
Right off at the title screen you are given the choice of either “Easy”, “Normal” or “Difficult” setting. If you’re new to a NES game, I highly and strongly recommend starting out on Easy. NES games are notoriously hard and this one is no exception. Just remember this, if you choose easy mode, the game will mock you. Think about it, would you truly feel accomplished or proud of yourself for beating a game on easy mode? Its time to man up and play a game based on a children’s show!
After choosing your difficulty, you are then given your levels. You have, The Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, The Himalayas and the Moon. In each level there is a goal treasure for you to collect. There are also multiple jewels and diamonds to collect along the way, to build up Scrooge McDucks current wealth.
Mr. McD is armed with his trademarked cane, which is your main and only weapon. You can either smack rocks like a golf club to send projectiles at hard to reach enemies, or you can use it as a pogo stick and bounce off of their heads. This pogo stick is also your best chance at getting to higher ground and across spiked floors. Perhaps the elderly should take note of this hidden use of a cane. Could you imagine walking down the street and seeing a man or woman in their 80’s bouncing around? I’d be impressed.
The game is pretty simple, search around the level and find the treasure. Each level is filled with secret paths, giving you the option of straying off of your path to either collect more jewels, or to find secret hidden treasures.
While this game may give you the option of free roaming exploration to some degree, the game will actually force you to back track to a level before advancing on. Example: After beating the Transylvania level, I decided to try out my luck at the African Mines. It was then that one of Scrooges grandnephews informed me that I cant advance on without a key and that it was located in Transylvania. Right after that speech bubble disappeared, I was teleported back to Transylvania.
This idea was genius. Not only am I back at a previous level, but I have no idea where this key was even located. I figured that the treasure I collected from the boss would suffice as some key. Oh how foolish I was! So now you’re tasked to stray off of the natural path and venture out for this mysterious key. This certainly keeps things interesting.
DuckTales has been known as one of the definitive titles when it came to game designing. As mentioned earlier, this game has its difficult moments, whether it’s jumping over a gap, or facing that one enemy that seems to be placed at the most un-fair location. The beauty about this is that while it may be hard, it’s not impossible.
In fact, while playing, I got so far until the boss on the Moon level ended my game. It was the last level, but did I give up? NO! That’s why this game was destined to get my rating of “Now its personal!” Games that achieve this title are both great in game play as well as difficulty. It gets to the point where you’ve come too far to be beaten and that completing this game has now become a personal achievement.
This game is what some would call “a masterpiece” and they’d be right! This game is simple in its classic style while still posing a good challenge. The music was perfectly composed to remind you that you’re in the Disney universe and that each song fits their given level perfectly. Overall it’s just a good example of great game design.
Sadly, getting a hold of this gem may be difficult. But all hope is not lost! WayForward Technologies, the company behind the hit downloadable title “Mighty Switch Force”, is releasing an HD remake of DuckTales, set to release this summer for the WiiU eShop, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Be sure to pick up a copy, you might solve a mystery or re-write history with DuckTales! Woo-oo! Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Want to see what it looks like? Head over to the link and check it out! Be sure to sing along with it. Oh, and be prepared to have this theme stuck in your head.