QuackShot Starring Donald Duck
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Genesis
  • Developer:
    • Sega
  • Publisher:
    • Sega
  • Released:
    • US 12/19/1991
    • JP 12/20/1991
    • UK 1991
Score: 75%

This review was published on 08/13/2015.

QuackShot Starring Donald Duck is a side-scrolling platform video game published and developed by Sega for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. It was released in North America on December 19, 1991, Japan on December 20, 1991, and Europe, Australia, and South America in 1991. The game was later made part of a bundle titled The Disney Collection, which was released in Europe for the Mega Drive in 1996 and it also included Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Later still, the game was ported to the Sega Saturn, yet again being paired with Castle of Illusion, and was exclusively released in Japan in 1998 under the title of Sega Ages: I Love Mickey Mouse. The reason QuackShot kept getting bundled with Castle of Illusion is because both are part of a series of Disney themed games Sega exclusively released on their many platforms in the early-to-mid 1990s. In particular, QuackShot is followed by two other games released for both the Sega Master System and Game Gear called The Lucky Dime Caper Starring Donald Duck and Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck. Licensed games are normally horrible, but many of these were quite good, and QuackShot is one of the good ones.

Image

In case you haven't figured it out yet, this game stars Donald Duck. Our story begins with Donald searching through the library of the wealthy Scrooge McDuck, his uncle. There, he laid his eyes on an old book titled "King Garuzia's Great Duck Treasure," which tempted his curiosity. The book spoke of a ruler named Garuzia, who once led a prosperous duck kingdom from the distant past. According to the ancient text, Garuzia hid his most valued worldly possession in a highly secretive location just before his death. Upon further investigation, Donald discovered a map hidden within the book that had clues as to the possible whereabouts of the treasure. Donald exclaims that he'll be richer than Scrooge if he locates this treasure, and so, he excitedly heads home to prepare for his impending adventure. Unbeknownst to Donald, one of Pete's criminal gang was spying on him through the window, and they also set their sights on the treasure. Donald took his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie on a plane to search for the treasure, but Pete's gang followed in pursuit for the chance to steal the goods. Will Donald get the treasure in time, or will Pete swipe it at the last second? Find out by playing QuackShot!

Image

Considering this came out on the Genesis in 1991, the graphics are golly gosh darn good. The sprites are all large and highly detailed, the colors are great, and the animation is splendid. Particularly, Donald's expressive animations stand out, as they manage to capture his wild nature from the Disney cartoons quite accurately. All the other characters and enemies carry a similar sense of personality to them, too. The backgrounds are also outstanding, featuring many attractive details and countless layers of parallax scrolling that are a delight to see in action. Everything looks really cartoony, which is a good thing for a game featuring cartoon characters. One part of the presentation that is a bit lacking is the music, however. The music is by no means bad, but it doesn't quite pack as much of a punch as the graphics do, with silly sounding tunes that are a tad on the generic side of things. QuackShot's visuals do get surpassed by later Genesis releases, but they're still eye catching.

Image

Wearing an Indiana Jones outfit, Donald Duck is able to waddle around and jump his way across the landscape. Donald Duck can also, well, duck. While ducking, he can do a short slide forward to dodge attacks and squeeze through tiny passages. Donald's means of self-defense is a gun that primarily shoots nonlethal plungers. Normally, Donald is unable to damage enemies, so he must stun them with projectile plungers instead. Stunned foes cannot harm Donald, allowing him to safely pass right through them, but they spring back to life after a short while. Permanently killing baddies is in fact still possible, though it requires the use of special ammunition that come in the form of popcorn and bubblegum. However, because popcorn and bubblegum ammo is limited, you have to conserve resources by mainly sticking to Donald's unlimited plunger supply. Another thing Donald can do is eat red hot chili peppers to increase his temper gauge. Once fully enraged, the duck gains temporary invincibility and the power to kill anyone he touches, but he becomes unwieldy to control. Speaking of unwieldy, Donald controls rather sluggishly in his normal state, as his leisure leaps through the air feel too slow. Also, not being able to kill enemies whenever you want is slightly annoying.

Image

Right off the bat, you have three stages to choose from, with more becoming available as you get closer to unearthing the treasure. This may give off the impression that the game is nonlinear, but it actually isn't, because you still need to get through the stages in a specific order. The way progression works is that you go through a stage until Donald reaches a point he can't get past, like an Aztec pyramid in Mexico with a locked door, then you exit via plane and go somewhere else. Usually, there's a character near the obstruction who will give you a hint on where to go next, like how a lady informs Donald that he needs a key from the first stage to open the aforementioned pyramid. Even if you already know where to go, revisiting old stages is still necessary, but is made easier through checkpoint flags. At key points during a stage, Donald will set down a flag, and you can use the plane to instantly return to that flag at any time. Unfortunately, you'll still sometimes need to backtrack out of a stage in order to reach a previously placed flag. The backtracking isn't enough to ruin the game, but it's certainly enough to be irritating.

Image

Despite the backtracking, all the stages in the game are linear. The locales on display here are a pretty varied mixture of real world and fictional places. For example, there's the city of Duckburg, Dracula's castle in Transylvania, a Viking ghost ship, Egypt, and even the South Pole. Some stages have marginally interesting pseudo puzzles, such as moving blocks that can be frozen in place with plungers and then used as platforms. The enemies sometimes spark with creativity, as well, like snake charmers that play music to stun Donald so their tamed snakes can bite him. A neat thing is how Donald will acquire upgrades throughout his quest that will let him venture into new areas, like the red plungers that stick to surfaces and can serve as makeshift platforms to scale walls, or the bubblegum ammo that's able to destroy certain objects like barrels. There aren't too many of these upgrades, but they add a certain something to the game. Overall, the stage design isn't too groundbreaking, but it gets the job done and is fun.

Image

Bosses show up every now and then to frighten Donald, but they're not in every stage and there aren't too many of them. Even though Donald's plungers can't hurt enemies, they can, for some reason, hurt bosses. Most of the boss fights are pretty unexciting. For instance, one of the bosses is Count Dracula, and while that may sound exciting, all he does is fly around and toss bats at you. His attack pattern is obscenely simple and he's super easy to defeat. Then there's a lion boss that will lunge at you and, strangely, breathe fire. The only interesting thing about that lion is his fire breathing ability, but everything else about him is unremarkable. Every other boss is similarly mundane. The bosses are all extremely easy, too. Ultimately, stages matter more to a platform game than bosses, so this game is still fine in spite of the bogus bosses, but having better ones wouldn't hurt.

Image

This game isn't anything fancy, but it's fun to play and looks pretty nice. The stages are simple yet enjoyable, the enemies are varied, the graphics are good, and the music, while less good than the graphics, is still all right. As far as problems go, the occasional backtracking, sluggish controls, and weak boss battles drag the experience down a notch or two. This game isn't quite as good as Castle of Illusion, but it's still an all around solid experience. When it comes to decent platform games, QuackShot fits the bill. You know, because it stars a duck, and ducks have bills.

Word Count: 1,444

Tweet