Duck Tales…now you might be thinking, “What does a kids cartoon show have to do with classic gaming?” Well, it has a lot to do with it. In the days of the NES, there were games made from just about everything. Literally everything, there were games based on movies (such as Terminator), other games (Dungeons and Dragons), sports, McDonalds and even The Noid. So a game based on a popular kids show isn’t really that surprising.
Before i dive in, i should get some nostalgia out of the way. When i was a kid, i used to watch Duck Tales on tv. I loved Uncle Scrooge, he was a jerk but at the same time, completely awesome. He always went on these adventures to become rich, or protect his wealth with his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. The show was great and is considered one of the best cartoons of all time! So, it makes sense that Capcom would take command and create a game based on the characters.
The cartridge itself is awesome, it creates a sense of adventure and gives you a good idea of what to expect. Once you pop the game in, you will be struck by the stunning visuals. The level of detail is striking for a NES game. The worlds each have little touches to them, such as there being lines and vines in the trees, instead of flat color, or ice that has a shimmer to it. Scrooge also looks great, his moves have a lot of little details such as the cane movement when he walks or the smile on his face when he jumps. These details aren’t just for Scrooge alone, the enemies have details like this as well. Such as a mummy shaking its head after it moves. These little touches are what sets the game apart from its competition in the graphics department. However, just because it looks good doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues. Sometimes, the characters will flash in and out or you can see through them. This is mostly an issue with the Nintendo itself and this can be a bit annoying. It doesn’t effect the game play in anyway, which is very nice.
The game is very simple really, the goal is to lead Scrooge on his greedy quest to become even richer. You run and jump your way through each of the five levels. The goal is to collect jewels which are only revealed if you kill an enemy or touch an invisible spot which will reveal the item for you to collect. They are also in treasure chests as well. However, you don’t simply jump on enemies like you would in Mario. Instead you jump and press down + b then hold b to use the cane as a pogo stick. When you jump on an enemy like that you will kill it and get sent flying. You will have to get used to using this move as its the fastest way to get across the levels, it can be used to travel across spikes unharmed and you can use it to travel to high points in each of the level. There is another move that scrooge has where he uses his cane like a golf club, it can be used for a variety of things such as destroying blocks that you can’t destroy with the pogo.
Another interesting part of the game is the levels themselves. They each are very different and have different tricks and traps. Each of these levels follows a nonlinear style so it encourages exploration which gives the game some good replay value. At the end of each level you have to fight a boss. When you kill the boss you get a treasure worth a million dollars. One of the best things about this level is that you can select the levels in any order you want on Scrooges computer. I highly recommend going from the top to the bottom of the list as the lower levels can be a bit more difficult. It is worth noting that the game is rather easy for a NES game. When I first started, I was bad but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it. Now i can go through the game in less than an hour. However, you need to explore to unlock the secret ending. This requires that you have ten million dollars in total. This is tricky and you have to play the game perfectly to make it happen.
The sound in this game is pretty good as well. The pogo has a funny boing sound and the enemies have an over exaggerated scream when you kill them. This I found annoying at first but I became used to it. It could be worse. There are lots of blips and bloops that you would hear in a cartoon which adds to the games charm. I love the crash that comes from destroying a block. Its seriously fun! Finally, i can’t talk about Duck Tales without at least commenting on the music in this game! It is phenomenal and, in my opinion, ranks up there with the Mario and Zelda themes, which are classics in their own right. Its so good that i had to make a playlist of it on youtube…found here
All in all, this game is phenomenal. It has superb graphics, music and game play. The only negative could be the length but I would rather have an amazing short game than a long mediocre one any day. I play this game very often and it has found a welcome home in my game collection. I really hope that you will get the opportunity to play it as well.