Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale! If you remember that theme song, odds are you have already played this gem of a game. Created by Capcom, those responsible for Duck Tales NES and Mega Man, platforming was at an all time high, and for good reason. After all, how many platforming games can boast a two player simultaneous cooperative mode, much less in 1990?
Capcom knew they would have great success creating another game based off of an extremely popular Disney show. Chip N’ Dale was another solid win for both Disney and Capcom, and had an incredibly unique gameplay feature: box throwing. Chip and Dale couldn’t jump on enemies’ heads like Uncle Scrooge, or shoot them like Mega Man, so boxes were scattered across the game’s stages. The woodland heroes could pick them up, throw them, or you could press down on the direction pad to hid inside them. In cute Disney fashion, your eyes popped out of the box, and enemies were defeated if they ran into you. While the box was destroyed, it was still an extremely effective tactic; a primitive NES booby trap of sorts.
Co-op was extremely robust. Not only could you throw a box at your partner and stun him, but you could also hoist him up entirely! Often times, if my friend wasn’t good enough to do a particularly hard platforming sequence, I would just pick him up and be on my way! My group of friends and I (and tons of other players out there) also invented a fighting game out this rather hilarious mechanic. We would pick particularly hazardous areas, and attempt to pick up and throw each other on them. Alternatively, we could also play a deadly game of catch with the boxes, with the stunned loser getting thrown into the abyss.
The levels in Chip N’ Dale ranged from libraries, to forests, to sewers. Basically if you can think of it, or if was featured on the hit TV show, it was a level in the game. Yet another unique feature found in Chip N’ Dale was the world map system. Rarely found in a platforming game outside of Bionic Commando, the player could fly the Rescue Ranger’s ship through a variety of different paths. After you were done with a particular level, you and your partner competed in a small bonus level, picking up as many boxes as you could to find hidden prizes beneath them. Protip: the 1up is almost always in the top middle crate.
Not many platforming games can boast incredibly fun bosses. Even though some were very easy, they were all fought with a delightful “infinite ball” mechanic. In the middle of the bosses area was a small red bouncy ball that you could never lose, so feel free to throw it around at will! The fact that some of the levels were optional made you want to try the game over and over, just to see all of the different boss characters. The bosses themselves ranged from Robots to more organic enemies like Owls and Caterpillars.
In addition to all the other bosses, Chip N’ Dale had one of the greatest final encounters of all time: Fatcat. After finally chucking and tossing your way to the furious feline, he doesn’t even feel like fighting you; he ashes his (most likely fine Cuban) cigar on your head. What a grade ‘A’ badass. Holding his mustache like an Oil Tycoon, Fatcat gleefully laughs as you choke on his leftover tobaccy.
If you have access to an NES, I would highly suggest picking up this game. Unlike Bionic Commando NES or DuckTales, Chip N’ Dale can be enjoyed by two players, and will never get old. In an attempt to facilitate retro gaming, from now on I’m going to matlock some places you can buy these classic games.
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