Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Disney and Capcom were in the their heyday for kids born in the early 80’s. Getting home from school was more than just a relief from being tied to desk all morning, it was time to have fun. Everyday from 3pm to 5pm, Disney would show 4 cartoons, and the 4 most popular hands down were Ducktales, Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, Talespin and Darkwing Duck. During this time, Disney sought after man developers to cash in on this video game craze. Capcom was in a height of popularity and was an obvious choice to handle the NES adaptations of these beloved cartoons.
Jump to 23 years in the future and technology has caught up to the point where we can relieve these games in HD glory. This collection comes with 6 games, Ducktales 1 & 2, Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers 1 & 2, Talespin and Darkwing Duck. Not only does this pack have these 6 games but it also comes with the soundtracks for each game and an art gallery with some insightful history. I love this type of stuff because it allows me to listen to these 8 bit classics without forcing me to play the games. As for the gallery, It’s just that much more of a trip down memory lane. One of the more fun aspects of the gallery is how one of the developers had old boxes for the games from when he was a kid. So they scanned them into game including gameboy and Japanese versions of each. This pack also comes with a very useful and interesting feature, a rewind button. This got me through a lot of jams, including all of Talespin.
What’s fascinating to me is how I know I loved these games as a kid but let's be realistic here, As an adult 23+ years later, my tastes have become more refined and i must take my nostalgia glasses off and review each game as it is stands now.
Ducktales NES (1989)
This game stands a classic both is sense of platforming and a feeling for adventure much like the show exemplified. Scrooge McDuck must find all the treasures in various locations with the help of his nephews and friends. The controls are tight and solid as you remember. Level design is easily the best part as each stage has places to explore and find more treasure. Everything from pogo jumping to the golf swing feels right. The music and sounds are very solid as well. Each boss isn’t too much of a challenge as their patterns are pretty easy to read. A couple things that did bother me were how Scrooge will stop pogo bouncing if the pogo cane is not directly under the ledge. This caused for a lot unnecessary damage. The other was the countdown timer, this was an unnecessary thing that rushed exploration. But overall, it’s a very solid platformer and stands the test of time,
8.5 outta 10.
Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers (1990)
This is one of the easiest platformers I have ever played, whether as an adult or a kid. The game really wants the player to feel like they are playing a rodent sized character which the best thing visually about this game. Chip n’ Dale’s goal is stop Fatcat from whatever he has planned. The mechanics of the game are pretty simple as you pick up boxes to throw at enemies, but you could also just jump over them too. The music here isn’t the best but is good enough to not annoy you. If i had to find a problem with the game its lack of any difficulty. Not only are the stages a breeze but the bosses are even easier. But overall, it’s a fun game with a very cool aesthetic, 8 outta 10.
This is the oddball of the pack as it’s not a platformer, it’s a autoscroller where you control Baloo flying a custom plane and pick up cargo before facing off against one of Kon Karnage’s henchmen. The games rewind feature was my best friend here as I doubt I would have gotten past most of the game especially the bosses. The flight controls are really tight as I never felt any hit I took wasn’t directly my fault besides not knowing where enemies were coming from. This game seemed to be very difficult and that’s probably my biggest complaint. The difficulty spikes around the 3rd level and never lets up but i also imagine that's because I wasn’t very good at either. Overall, Talespin is tough but fair game that will challenge you in new and frustrating ways, 7 outta 10.
Now we enter the era where the Super Nintendo had been released almost completely worldwide and Capcom wanted to make sure gamers had access to new games but these 3 were ultimately and sadly mostly ignored.
Darkwing Duck (1992)
The way this plays is very much like Mega Man in that you choose a stage, get to the boss and have a 3 shot gun. You can get pickups that give you different abilities but these are mostly useless as they don’t have any real advantage towards the enemies. This isn’t to say the game isn’t fun, it’s really quite fun but very standard jump and shoot feeling. The bosses play similar to that of a Mega Man boss as they have a very exact pattern that you just have to learn. Also the bosses are fun for a fan of the show because they are directly lifted from the show. One fun feature that Darkwing Duck has to grab onto background ledges. This is used in almost every boss fight and adds that flair that doesn’t make it too terribly standard. Overall, it’s a good 1 to 2 hour platforming shooter with a neat mechanic, 7 outta 10.
Ducktales 2 (1993)
It’s true shame that people didn’t play this game much because it’s better than it’s predecessor in every way. So firstly, it has the same exploration level design but with even more secrets and treasures. Now let's talk about how it improves on the original. The pogo cane no longer requires you to press down and B, just press B. Gyro is added to 3 levels and gives you upgrades you need, this is added challenge that makes the game more dynamic. Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby give you actual workable advice instead of cryptic nonsense. Much like Darkwing Duck, Scrooge can grab background ledges with his cane. There a few little things that I really enjoyed, using the golf swing to propel yourself forward on a raft, cane hooking a canon to open a passage, solving hidden puzzles. Overall, It’s just a much better game than the previous one by leaps and bound. 9.5 outta 10
Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (1994)
The last game in the pack and easiest by far. The story is that Fat Cat has escaped prison and is now setting up a plan to...destroy the Rangers....Take over an amusement park? That part isn’t explained very well. The game itself is almost identical to the first game. You pick up boxes and throw them at enemies, nothing new here. However, the game is so much easier than the first with much harder bosses. Both Chip n’ Dale games are incredibly easy but this one just takes the cake. The biggest difference is the story, there is so much exposition that i don't think anyone really watched it. Overall, the game is the same as the first in almost every way except easier, way easier. 7 outta 10.
And there we are, all 6 games reviewed. This collection is fantastic, each game feels like it did 23 years ago, glitches and all. The rewind feature is so welcomed that I can't figure out why it’s new to this collection. I do wish there was a challenge mode or something other than Boss Rush and Time Attack, they are great additions but after you’ve done them and realize that unless you’re a speedrunner, you’re never going to be in the top 50. However it is really cool to be able to watch these runs in game. All that being said, I highly recommend getting this collection, if not for the nolstagia, for the history. It was a fun time, video games and after school cartoons were life for a 90’s kid. I give The Disney Afternoon Collection a 9 outta 10.
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