Friday 13 January 2017

DuckTales (NES review)

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: 1989

DuckTales is an action-platformer that was also released on the Nintendo Game Boy (1990).

Playing as Uncle Scrooge, your mission is to search for the five lost treasures that are scattered across the world. Your weapons are a Cane that can be swung at enemies, as well as a Pogo-Stick to attack from above while jumping; the latter can also be used to safely cross perilous spikes that would otherwise cause damage. The first five levels can be tackled in any order, which is great for newcomers wanting to see what's on offer, and for veterans wanting to strategise a preferred route through the game. The levels are varied and see you battling in the Amazon, Himalayas, Transylvania, Africa and the Moon. What's pleasing is that none of these follow a linear path, and instead, feature sprawling environments for you to negotiate. I also love that there's many parts that aren't even necessary to complete your objective; instead, they're available simply so you can explore and locate the game's many secrets. It's not pure clutter from a level design perspective either, as everything is cleverly crafted to reward the curious gamer (there's also multiple endings depending on how much money you amass). Highlights include Transylvania with mirrors that transport you to another area of the haunted house, Himalayas where the snow pretty much negates the use of your Pogo-Stick (as you end up getting stuck in the snow!) and the Moon where you need to hunt for a remote control so Gizmo-Duck can locate the boss room. Each boss battle is enjoyable, with interesting attack patterns and a nice degree of challenge. The graphics are superb and there's an awesome rendition of the DuckTales theme.
While DuckTales isn't the longest game in the world, it's ridiculous amounts of fun and its inspired level design sucks you in and encourages you to explore every nook and cranny. Capcom did a great job of serving the license and the end result is a top-tier game that continues to impress with repeated play-throughs.
Random trivia: A sequel called DuckTales 2 was released on the NES in 1993.

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