Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • System:
    • NES
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 12/10/1993
    • US January 1994
    • UK 09/29/1994
Score: 80%

This review was published on 02/17/2017.

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom. It was originally released in Japan on December 10, 1993, North America in January 1994, and Europe on September 29, 1994. Obviously, this is the sequel to the first Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers game that was also released on the NES by Capcom in 1990. Both of these games are based on the Disney animated television series of the same name, which first aired on The Disney Channel on March 4, 1989, but a preview episode aired before that on August 27, 1988. Capcom, the company behind Mega Man, was licensed by Disney in the late 1980s and early 1990s to make a bunch of NES games. These games were based on many of Disney's animated properties, like DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, The Little Mermaid, and Mickey Mouse. The NES DuckTales game ended up being the most popular, as it was highly successful and critically acclaimed upon its initial 1989 release. The first Chip 'n Dale NES game is also fairly popular, as it, too, was successful and acclaimed upon its release in 1990. Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 isn't as popular as the previous game, but it's just as good.

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In case you don't know much about the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers TV show, it stars two furry chipmunks named, unsurprisingly, Chip and Dale. Along with their friends, Monterey Jack, Gadget Hackwrench, and Zipper, they run a miniature detective agency named, again unsurprisingly, Rescue Rangers. The tiny detectives primarily solve crimes committed by a crime lord known as Fat Cat. In the previous Chip 'n Dale game, the Rescue Rangers finally put Fat Cat behind bars. This game begins with the Rescue Rangers watching a news report on TV about a bomb threat at a local restaurant. They rush to the scene to diffuse the bomb, but soon discover that this was yet another distraction by Fat Cat, who has escaped from prison and is once again on the loose! This time, the notorious feline felon has stolen an ancient relic known as the Urn of the Pharaoh. Now it's up to Chip and Dale to recover the urn and recapture Fat Cat.

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You play as either Chip or Dale, both of whom control the same. Pressing left or right on the d-pad makes Chip or Dale run in those directions, down crouches, and the A button is for jumping. Holding down on the d-pad and pressing A at the same time causes you to fall through some thin platforms. For the most part, this game controls almost exactly the same as the previous one, which means it controls extraordinarily well. However, a couple of changes have been made to the health system. You still have hearts to represent your hit points, but now it's possible to collect items referred to as "Ranger Plaques" to increase your maximum heart capacity. Getting enough Ranger Plagues earns you a "Ranger Badge" at the end of a stage, and getting enough of those gives you extra hearts. You can check how many Ranger Plaques you have by pressing the select button. Stars do make a return in this game, but now they exclusively give you extra lives. Acorns are also back, replenishing your lost health when collected. The game still has limited continues, but it's easy enough to where that isn't much of a problem.

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Like in the last game, Chip and Dale's main ability is to pick up and throw objects at their adversaries. Since they're practically defenseless on their own, this is the only way for them to kill or injure foes. To pick stuff up, you move towards an object and press the B button, allowing you to carry it even while running and jumping. At that point, you'll be able throw the object forwards by pressing B a second time, or upwards if you hold up while doing it. You can now also throw things diagonally upwards, which wasn't possible in the last game. Dazed foes can be picked up and thrown, too. Another new ability Chip and Dale have in this game is the "Super Throw." To do it, you run for a few seconds while carrying an object, and once it begins flashing, you throw it. As its name implies, it's more powerful than a regular throw. Some things you can carry include wooden boxes that you're able to hide inside of for protection by holding down, metal bolts that can be stacked on top of each other to reach higher ground, and even tennis balls. Carrying and throwing stuff is still fun.

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The slightly nonlinear stage select map screen from the previous game has been nixed, so now stage progression is completely linear, save for the very end. That doesn't change much, though, because the stages themselves were always linear. As before, the stage design is delightful, highlighting the size difference between Chip and Dale and the manmade urban world they live in. You jump on stools and countertops in a restaurant, explore smelly sewers, and get trapped in a refrigerator, all of which is humungous relative to your size. Things haven't changed much, but the graphics are far better this time around, plus there are some new environments, like a clock tower, cargo ship, and haunted warehouse filled with ghosts. Monty, Gadget, and Zipper will also appear at certain junctures to unlock the path forward for you, providing a bit of fan service for fans of the TV show. Unfortunately, you still can't scroll the screen backwards, and you still die if you fall to the bottom of the screen when scrolling upwards. The improved stage design makes this less of a problem, though.

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Bosses are back, but they're way better now. Again, Chip and Dale can't attack bosses directly, so they must rely on objects like boxes or the like that pop into the arena every so often. However, instead of being formulaic battles that are basically the same thing over and over, the bosses in this game are actually varied. For example, the first boss is a rabbit that jumps from one platform to the next while shooting spurts of water at you. Meanwhile, there are streams of water going across the platforms that gradually drag you down towards a deadly bottomless pit. Another boss is a flying cat that'll flap its synthetic wings to blow you away, and you have to throw the rocks it blows your way back at it. There are plenty more and they're all decent. Considering the previous game's weakest link was the poor boss battles, this is a welcome improvement.

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As with the previous game, two players can play together cooperatively if the option is picked at the start of the adventure. Most of this is still the same as before, with players being able to stand on, push, carry, and throw each other around. Hitting each other with boxes is also possible, which briefly stuns, but doesn't do any actual damage. As a result of that, players can either help or hinder one another, potentially reinforcing or ruining friendships. Something you couldn't do in the previous game is damage enemies by throwing your ally into them, but it's now possible with a Super Throw. This makes having a pal around a potentially potent asset, provided you don't kill each other. Everything else functions the same as before, such as dead players coming back with a balloon that lets them briefly fly around the screen while invincible, giving them a chance to choose a safe landing spot. If you have a friend who isn't a jerk, be sure to play this game with them, because it's more fun with two people.

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By 1994, newer and more powerful consoles like the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had already been on the market for several years. Because it was released so late into the NES' life, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 didn't sell as well as its predecessor. That's just not right, because this game is arguably better than the original. It's got better graphics, better stages, better bosses, more polished mechanics, and excellent controls. Many of the same people who worked on the Mega Man games on the NES also worked on this game, plus it uses a similar engine. You can definitely tell, what with how well it plays. Even if you aren't a fan of the show, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 is still worth playing. I mean, it's only one of the best NES games ever made.

Word Count: 1,439

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