DuckTales 2
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    NES
    • JP 04/23/1993
    • US June 1993
    • UK 1993
    GB
    • US November 1993
    • JP 12/03/1993
    • UK 1993
Score: 85%

This review was published on 02/19/2017.

DuckTales 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 April 23, 1993, North America in June 1993, and Europe in 1993. The game was then ported to the Game Boy in North America in November 1993, Japan on December 3, 1993, and Europe in 1993. As the title implies, this is the sequel to the first DuckTales game that was also developed and published by Capcom on the NES and Game Boy in 1989 and 1990, respectively. Like the titles also indicate, both games are based on the Disney animated television series of the same name, which first aired on September 18, 1987, and ended on November 28, 1990. It was a massively popular show that resulted in a massively popular game. In fact, the first DuckTales game sold over a million copies on both the NES and Game Boy, making it Capcom's best selling game for both platforms. Disney was so pleased with the results that it licensed Capcom to make a sequel. Unfortunately, the sequel didn't sell anywhere near as well, but it's still a pretty good game.

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In the unlikely event you don't know anything about it, the DuckTales TV show is about an old rich duck named Scrooge McDuck and his three nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Scrooge is the richest duck in his world, to the point where he frequently swims in his own money in a giant vault. The show's primary villain is the second richest duck in the world, Flintheart Glomgold, who seeks to usurp Scrooge's title as the richest duck. Other recurring villains include a group of thugs referred to as the Beagle Boys and a duck witch named Magica De Spell, and they're all after Scrooge's vast wealth. Despite his extreme wealth, Scrooge is always looking for ways to get even richer. To that end, the plot of the DuckTales 2 game begins with Huey discovering a piece of an old treasure map in Scrooge's basement. The map was created by Fergus McDuck, Scrooge's late father. This prompts Scrooge to go on an adventure around the world to find the missing pieces of the map and locate the treasure it leads to.

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Once again, you take on the role of Scrooge McDuck as he goes on another treasure hunting adventure. Like before, you press left or right on the d-pad to walk in those directions, down to duck like a duck, up or down to climb in those directions on chains, ropes, and vines, and the A button is used for jumping. If you stand next to an object or wall while holding the d-pad in that direction, Scrooge will get into position to take a golf swing, and pressing the B button at that point executes the swing. This will knock things like rocks and boxes at an upwards angle, harming enemies that are in the way. In comparison to the previous entry, this game makes more creative use of the golf swing, like swinging at a wall to propel a raft forward. Even though Scrooge is old, he runs and jumps at a pretty fast speed, which gives the game a good pace. Not unlike the last game, the controls are really on point, providing an extraordinary level of precision.

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As with the previous game, Scrooge's main ability is to bounce on his cane like a pogo stick. While in the air, you're able to hold the B button down to make Scrooge constantly bounce up and down, and he'll continue doing it for as long as you hold the button. Pogo jumps go much higher than regular jumps and can be used to attack enemies, destroy some small objects, and open treasure chests by bouncing on them with Scrooge's cane. Further, Scrooge is able to safely bounce on some hazards like spikes. The pogo jump is the most useful move in the game and is frequently necessary to get around the environment. It's also a lot of fun to use, so you'll probably use it even when it's totally unnecessary. However, one issue that returns from the last game is that the pogo jump will sometimes fail on you unexpectedly, usually if you land on the edge of a platform or spike. Still, compared to before, the pogo jump is easier to do in this game, as you no longer need to press down on the d-pad.

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Scrooge has some new tricks up his sleeves in this game, all of which involve the use of his trusty cane. First off, certain objects on the ground can be pulled using Scrooge's cane. To do this, you do the input for a golf swing, and then simply hold the d-pad in the opposite direction of the object to pull it. This is used in a large variety of ways, like moving metallic barrels around that you can then stand on, pulling levers to activate mechanisms like cannons or conveyer belts, and so on. You'll even solve a few simple puzzles with this ability. Another new thing Scrooge can do in this game is latch onto and hang off of hooks with his cane by jumping into them, likely inspired by the Darkwing Duck game on the NES, which Capcom developed before this one. Scrooge can jump from hook to hook, usually reaching higher places. Sometimes this is also used in creative ways, like opening doors by hanging off a hook attached to a pulley system. Both of these mechanics, being able to pull and hang off stuff with the cane, add a lot more depth to the game.

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Like before, you're able to tackle the stages in a nonlinear order thanks to the handy dandy stage select screen that's reminiscent of Mega Man. The Mega Man similarities don't end there, either, as a lot of the visuals look like they were taken straight out of Mega Man. For example, the foreground graphics for the Egyptian stage look nearly identical to the ones in Pharaoh Man's stage in Mega Man 4. That shouldn't come as a surprise, since many key members of the Mega Man franchise worked on DuckTales 2, and it uses a similar engine. Anyway, every stage is set in a different part of the planet. You'll evade traps in an old castle in Scotland, fire cannons on a sunken cargo ship in the Bermuda Triangle, explore the ancient pyramids of Egypt, see the mythical lost continent of Mu, and jump across falling logs in the Niagara Falls. The stages all have one thing in common: they're fun.

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While the graphics are similar to Mega Man, the stage design is completely different. Stages in this game are nonlinear, placing a greater emphasis on exploration. The objective is still to reach and beat the boss at the end of each stage to get the treasure they guard, but there are countless goodies on the way there. You'll often encounter treasure chests, which usually hold diamonds, and there are many secrets to find. There's one map piece hidden in each stage, and while collecting them isn't necessary to beat the game, doing so does unlock an extra stage. Gyro Gearloose, the absentminded inventor from the TV show, is also hidden throughout the game, and will give Scrooge some helpful cane upgrades when found. Each upgrade enhances one of Scrooge's cane based abilities, allowing him to break harder blocks with his pogo jump and golf swing, and letting him pull heavier objects. Similar to Metroid, these upgrades enable Scrooge to reach new areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Unlike the previous game, you're no longer timed and you can replay stages whenever you want, making exploration less stressful.

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In the previous game, diamonds gave you money, but the only purpose money served was to get you better endings. Diamonds still give you money in DuckTales 2, but cash plays a far bigger role this time around, because you can now buy stuff. Whenever you beat or exit a stage, you'll be taken to a shop screen with a variety of helpful items. These items include extra lives, additional continues, stars that increase Scrooge's maximum health capacity, cakes that function like the Energy Tanks from Mega Man by fully replenishing life when used during a stage, a safe item that prevents you from losing money when you die, and even a piece of the map. You're only allowed to carry one cake, safe, and continue at a time, and Scrooge's health can only be upgraded twice for a total of five hit points. The shop is a brilliant addition to the game.

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Outside the lack of color and lower resolution, the graphics of the Game Boy version of DuckTales 2 are pretty faithful to the NES original. The music and sound effects are also pretty close to the original. However, like the Game Boy version of the previous game, the stages have been redesigned slightly to better accommodate the smaller screen. Additionally, some new items have been added, like x-ray glasses that reveal secrets, a walkie-talkie that calls Launchpad to let you exit a stage, a bomb that destroys all the enemies on the screen, a signpost that makes signs pointing to the boss appear throughout a stage, a watch that temporarily freezes all enemies, a magic coin that grants temporary invulnerability, a counter that tells you how many chests are left unopened, and an item that temporarily increases jumping height. However, the Game Boy version does suffer from occasional slowdown, whereas the NES version doesn't. Despite most of the improvements, the NES version is still better, but the Game Boy version could be worth checking out for the remixed stages and new items.

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By the time DuckTales 2 got released on the NES, newer and better systems like the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis had already been on the market for a few years. As a result of that, DuckTales 2 didn't enjoy the same level of success of its predecessor. Many people that grew up with the original are unaware that a sequel even exists. That shouldn't be the case, however, because this is a fantastic game. It improves upon its predecessor in many ways, arguably making it an even better game. Aside from the music, this game does everything better than the original.

Word Count: 1,727

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