Wednesday, February 27, 2013

VGR Darkwing Duck


Don't miss out my previous Disney/Capcom-related reviews!

VGR: Disney's Darkwing Duck
From Capcom
Played on Nes
Also available on Game Boy

Type Sidescrolling platformer
Year 1992/93

Here's another Disney cartoon-turned-Capcom game on the NES!

Darkwing Duck was an animated series created by Disney that ran from 1991 to 1992.
It lasted for about 3 seasons.
The show was about Drake Mallard, who dressed up as a caped crusader at night to fight crime.
It was sort of a parody of old vintage superhero comics, think The Shadow/The Spirit.
It featured plenty of slapstick and initially was sort of a spinoff of DuckTales.
The character of Launchpad McQuack is Darkwing Duck's pilot in the show actually.
While TaleSpin tried for something different, Darkwing Duck goes back to a more traditional "Capcom approach".
And in this case, much more of the same classic Mega Man formula.

The entire city of St. Canard is in trouble!
There's a lot of crimes happening all around the streets.
The reason? Steelbeak. He decided to take it on his nemesis Darkwing Duck once and for all.
And Darkwing got a lot of tenacious enemies of the years.
They're all bonded together to take their revenge on the caped vigilante, and now it's the entire city that is paying for that!

Megavolt, The Liquidator, Bushroot and many more!
To save the city Darkwing Duck needs to travel around the several places that are being targeted by his foes. From the streets of the city to the sewers, a park and the docks!
At first only 3 spots are available, but then 3 more will pop out until finally the last stage becomes available.

"I Am Darkwing Duck!" screams our hero at the start of each stage.

The game is a sidescrolling platformer, similar to Duck Tales. It actually is even running on a modified Mega Man 5 engine.
The levels are usually depicted across several screens as in Mega Man.
One button to jump, another to "attack".
Our hero uses a gas gun in the cartoon series, which means you can basically just shoot enemies here in this game.
Though most enemies will take several hits here, probably to make it more "gas" than just a plain "gun".

You can collect several other special weapons around, usually hidden and found in the levels.
You can chose them then through the pause menu and hit the select button to toggle between the main and the special secondary one.

Darkwing Duck can also use his cape to deflect some smaller projectiles. (by pressing "up")

Finally, the gimmick in this game you ask?Hanging.

That's right, just that, "hanging".
The level design is all based around it. There's often lots of endless death pits around and you go from platform to platform by jumping and hanging on stuff. Ropes, cranks, regular platforms, etc.
You don't remember hanging being Darkwing Duck's main attribute?
Well, neither was throwing boxes or pogo stick-ing with a cane on Rescue Rangers or DuckTales!

It flows pretty nicely actually, though I wish it was more responsive from times to times.
The movement to climb up a platformer takes often a second too much and throws the character a millimeter or two by the side, which can be fatal in the more precise segments..

The music is amazing, as always with 8-bit Capcom games.
The soundtrack was composed by Yasuaki Fujita, also behind the fantastic Mega Man 3.

Overall, it's a pretty good game.
It probably came a bit too late on the Nes' lifetime. 
So like those late 90s 8-bit titles, the developers went a bit nuts and made it quite difficult.

It's not really "hardcore" on a Ghouls'n Ghosts-level.
You can actually finish this game.
But it's just that so many things try to kill you at once, they all take several hits to be taken down, enemies respawn when they get offscreen and Darkwing Duck's not much of an hero here.
He's a it slow, his gun isn't that impressive and his main gimmick is "hanging on stuff".

The game got later ported to the Game Boy.
It's the exact same game though.
Only in black & white. And a bit simplified visually.
There was another unrelated Darkwing Duck game on the PC Engine. Don't mistake it for this one! It wasn't even by Capcom!

Still it's a pretty good looking and fun difficult game.
I give it:
2 / 3 Bruces!

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