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Platform

NES

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Developer / Publisher

Capcom

 

Year Released

1990

 

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Duck Tales

 

       

 

Over the years Capcom has developed a number of franchise games, including the continually re-made Street Fighter, but for whatever reason Duck Tales just didn’t catch on.  Essentially it had everything a successful platformer needs: a signature character, a recognizable license, solid jumping puzzles, some quest-like aspects, and some good boss battles.  But we only got one game.

 

Duck Tales puts you in the spats of the miserly Scrooge McDuck on his quest to expand his fortune by exploiting the resources of the Moon, some African mines, Transylvania, the Himalayas, and the Amazon.  Along the way he has to “rescue” his kidnapped nephews, go key-hunting, and generally pogo the hell out of any bad guys he comes across.

 

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Like any good platformer, Scrooge McDuck has a wide range of movements.  When he’s next to an object he can “golf swing” to launch said object into the air.  If the object is immovable his glasses rattle back and forth.  There are two jump options: regular jump and pogo jump.  Obviously, Scrooge has had some modifications done to his trusty cane since it can be used to achieve heights unknown to pogo champions.  For the majority of the game 

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Scrooge bounces around cracking enemies on the head, safely crossing spiked floors, and clearing massive gaps.  Each level presents their own challenges.  The snow-covered Himalayas render bounce-travel useless since it acts like a big nail being driven into the snow.  This is a nod to “realism” that doesn’t carry over to locations like the Moon that in real life has 1/6th the gravity of Earth.  Scrooge’s jumps are just plain wimpy on the Moon.  However, overall the challenge is pretty good but it’s all over too soon.  Once you get a handle on things the average gamer should be able to blow through Duck Tales in about 30 minutes.

 

       

 

There is quite an influence from one of Capcom’s signature characters, Mega Man.  The control is nearly the same and the level layouts should seem very familiar if you played the NES Mega Man games.

 

There are lots of cameos made by Duckburg regulars including Launchpad McQuack, aviator extraordinaire, and Mrs. Beasley, who has a tendency to throw ice-cream cones for Scrooge to replenish his health.  There are also appearances made by Bubba (the frozen iceman) and Gizmo Duck minus his catchphrase “Blathering-blatherskite!” (or whatever the hell he says).

 

Boss characters are also recognizable for the most part, although I can’t recall Scrooge ever taking on a giant rat in a Moon cavern.  All of them are extremely easy to defeat with easy to learn attack patterns.  Duck Tales was released before the ESRB, but if it was in effect you can be sure the game would have been awarded a big “E”.  And once again, the Mega Man influence is apparent – each boss must be faced in a sealed room.

 

Today’s gamers are somewhat more sophisticated, but for little kids just beginning their indoctrination Duck Tales is a good snapshot of the platformer genre and acts as a basis as to where gaming has gone.  Older gamers will find no challenge.

 

- Omni

(August 3, 2002)

 

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