This week’s game is another NES classic: Duck Tales by Capcom.

DucktalesNESCover1

Duck Tales is one of a modest collection of Disney Games made for the NES and is based on the popular cartoon series of the same name. Amazingly, most of the games released with the Disney license by Capcom were actually rather good, and Duck Tales was probably the best released.  This flies in the face of the conventional logic that games based on Movies/TV shows automatically suck.

In Duck Tales, you control Scrooge McDuck as he hunts treasure around the world, specifically aiming at collecting five great treasures.  The game itself is a side-scrolling platformer with non-linear level progression.  The game features five levels that require multiple visits to get through based on what has been collected in the other levels.  These levels include the Amazon, Transylvania, the Moon, African Mines, and the Himalayas.  Each level presents its own challenges, and the influences of Capcom’s Mega Man team are very evident in the level design.

The controls are simple and sharp, you can jump, do a cane-pogo-jump, and you can smack rocks and other things with your cane in a kind of golf hit.  The platforming is unabashed, as a large majority of the game features jumping, pattern recognition, and timing.

POGO DUCK GO!

POGO DUCK GO!

Duck Tales is fairly difficult, yet fun as hell. The controls are responsive, the level design is sharp, and the challenge level is good for the hardcore player. The other cool thing about Duck Tales is that it features multiple endings, something that didn’t really become common until after Chrono Trigger six years later.

Interestingly, when I first played this game as a young child, I hated it. I didn’t understand how to do the pogo-jump because I had misinterpreted what “hold down the D-pad” meant (I tried to hold down the entire pad, rather then the direction down). It had frustrated the 8-year-old me to the point of tears during a rental. At some point, I must have figured it out, because I ended up getting my own copy several months later. I, of course, still have the copy of it. Duck Tales is a tricky title to get your hands on these days. It isn’t precisely rare, but it’s popular enough of a game that not many of the carts are out there in circulation. You’re looking at about $15 for a NES cart and you’re unlikely to see one in your local media resell. To my knowledge, there have been no modern releases since Capcom no longer has the Disney License. The sequel, Duck Tales 2, is a much rarer creature. It was released late in the NES lifespan and not many copies were ever produced. You’re looking at dropping around $60-$100 for a working cart of Duck Tales 2.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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