What do The Amazon, Transylvania, and The Moon have in common? They’re all robbed blind by Scrooge McDuck of course! Gone were prejudiced thoughts that Uncle Scrooge never actually earned his wealth; you got to risk your life personally to ensure he became the world’s richest duck.
DuckTales, Wooo hooo!
When I wasn’t playing the latest Mega Man, I always had DuckTales NES. Plenty a Sunday morning was spent roaming the Earth in search of obscure artifacts such as “Moon Cheese”. Was there an overall plot? If you count stopping Scrooge’s evil rival, Flintheart Glomgold, from reaching treasure before you do as a plot, then yes!
Veteran Capcom composer Yoshihiro Sakaguchi handled the music, and let me tell you, it rivaled Mega Man games. “The Moon” music has had countless YouTube remixes, including one by Brental Floss we featured on the site a month back.
One of the best parts about Ducktales NES is it’s extremely flexible level design. In Mega Man, you were lucky if Beat, Tango, or another robot friend was found inside a level. Every one of DuckTale’s world-showcase stages featured one of Scrooge’s family or friends either helping you through a level, or hiding in a completely optional area. He might have been the most awful character in the show, but Bubba was even in it! Each level had Scrooge’s faithful pilot, Launch Pad McQuack, who was able to take Scrooge out of the level early just so he could go back in and collect more riches. You can also revisit levels to get items that unlock other areas in other levels. Take that linear gameplay!
Scrooge had no Buster Cannon, no Master Sword, or Icarus Bow. Instead, he had to use his diamond studded cane to bounce on enemies. Using the cane could be easily picked-up, but hard to master. He also used it as a tool to pull things, or as a golf club to swing boxes into enemies. Jumping mechanics were very detailed. For instance, you could “drop-cane”, and fall faster, then “drop back in” and hit enemies to vault to higher distances. It was sort of like using Mega Man’s rush coil, but there were no items or powerups in the game: you had to do it all yourself! Hope you like dying a lot before you master it; Wooo hooo!
Probably the biggest disappointment in DuckTales was the bosses, because they were nearly all bad. Guess who protects the Moon Cheese treasure? A giant Moon Rat. The Amazon Rod? A giant Incan Statue. I don’t even want to start on Slug Man! Other than legitimate rival Magica De Spell, the bosses were downright terrible.
DuckTales is a classic that deserves to be right up there with Mega Man in terms of NES platforming. It’s a shame that DuckTales 2 was released so late into the NES lifecycle, and SNES gaming swallowed it whole. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on DuckTales if you liked Mega Man 9 but didn’t grow up in the 80s! Or, just buy the movie: Shabooey!!
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