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Duck Tales 2 (Nintendo NES) Review
Review by 
9/10 from 3 user ratings
 
"Well, spit on my spats, I'll bet you're right! We're off on a treasure hunt!"



In September 1989, around the very same time I started gaming in the first place, Capcom released DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Most people know this by now as it's one of the most beloved NES titles in existence and the music is something special most gamers appreciate whenever video game music is discussed. However, what was a shock to me recently was that a sequel to the popular title was created many years later, deep beyond the "life" of the NES in June 1993. The SNES had taken hold and DuckTales 2 was forgotten. I knew I had to experience this game and find out how much like it's older brother it was. If the apple didn't fall far from the tree, then I was in for a real treat.

Since the initial print of the game didn't sell very well, few copies of the game exist in the ether. So admittedly I had to resort to another means to play this game. I own the original DuckTales on the original cartridge and if I could have purchased it off the Virtual Console, I would have. Alas, gaming ethics aside, I finally was able to sink my teeth into this bad-boy… and wouldn't you know… it tastes like a sweet piece of cake.

The premise is that Scrooge and his nephews are in search of the pieces of a map that should lead them to a great treasure. From the moment the game's intro begins, the music sounds wonderful. They definitely had the same team working on this soundtrack, or I'd assume because it's wonderful and classic as well. The theme song, in a smart move, is the same one from its predecessor. The graphics, despite this being four years later are exactly the same quality and style, which isn't a knock mind you, just an observation.


The world map is a distorted version of Earth, where Egypt is below Scotland… like directly below it, and Niagara Falls is well east of it. I suppose if you're looking at the world from the view point of the Middle East or Eastern Europe that this might be a bit more accurate. Then again, this doesn't matter. There's a handful of levels, the same amount of starting levels as the original, five. You can visit Scotland, Niagara Falls, Egypt, Mu, and Bermuda.

In Bermuda, you traverse a ship in a rain storm. This level has all sorts of fun secrets and is absolutely 'classic' DuckTales. From the hidden wall passages to the areas only accessible with a well-timed jump off an enemy, this is a true sequel done right from the get-go. Found often in this level (and many others) are hooks that look like door-knockers. These are one of the new mechanics in this game. Scrooge can hang on these with his cane and thus use them to gain access to new heights or get a better vantage point on an incoming enemy. In fact, the boss battle at the end of Bermuda involved these predominantly to help get the upper hand on the boss. The cane was also used in a creative way early on in the level to open one of the many paths the levels in these games are known for. I used it to pull back a blasting cap of some kind on a cannon to shoot a cannon ball which busted down a wall, thus providing me access. There are other creative ways the cane is used but I'll leave those a secret so not to spoil the whole game. I do need to emphasize however that you no longer need to hold the Down button in order to pogo-cane. Now you just jump and hold B. It took me a while to stop myself from naturally holding down the Down button. Similar to Wario Land Shake it, there are plenty of treasures to find. Most of them are hidden cleverly or are cleverly in plain sight. This is definitely not limited to just the Bermuda level of the game. Another note I'd like to make about the game is how unlike the first, you can actually go back and play the levels you've completed to earn more money or lives or collect missed treasure. Very cool addition.


In Egypt, you are dropped in an area reminiscent of the Super Mario Bros. 2 quicksand. I pogo'd on the blocks not made of quicksand and quickly (pun intended) noticed that they would be destroyed. Time for me to get a move on. I discovered a cool portion of the game which is reminiscent of something from a Mega Man game… something classic to that franchise… clearly they were inspired by that other Capcom classic. It's found in a few of the levels and makes for some secret area discoveries. This game is chock full of them. As I played through the game, level after level was pretty fun and exciting. The boss battles continued to be fun challenges of learning the patterns quick enough without being too challenging. Though I should note I wasn't playing on the hardest difficulty or anything. Now, if you did find the game challenging, there is now an in-game store which allows you to buy a handful of useful items for your journey like special energy and continues.

One downside I did discover was a slight glitch in the controls. If you can't for some reason keep your pogo action going on a surface, you will simply stop and stand like normal. This can become frustrating when an enemy is coming near you but you land near a surface like that instead. One part in the Egypt level had me continually getting hit by a snake throughout. Still, it's not game breaking in any sense of the word. You just deal with it. Otherwise the game controls and plays like the classic original and it's a wonderful game for it. If you've ever played DuckTales and thought to yourself, "I really wish there was MORE."… then well, that dream came true. Many had missed it and thus it's incredibly hard to find an actual cart these days but in my opinion, everyone should try their best to find a means to play and show their respect to the creators for a gem that was missed by being born in the 16-bit generation. Play this gem, cause it's a treasure.

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Posted: 11/11/11, 05:21:31  - Edited by 
 on: 11/11/11, 05:28:59    
 
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I never did play the sequel but I'm tempted. Good review!

By the way, those kids are his nephews.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 05:26:28
Sounds like an interesting game! Sad I missed it. Nice review Fink.

Reminds me of Quackshot on the Mega Drive too. Too bad that hasn't made it to VC either, I'd be all over that. Maybe it's a Disney licensing thing.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 05:29:58
Never got to play this game. First one was sweet though.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 05:38:27
Sounds great man.

Bonus points for not saying "trusty cane", though you almost lose them all for that quicksand pun.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 07:22:06
I've got the Game Boy port of this (NES version is like 80 bucks on the used market) and haven't gotten into it as much as I had hoped. Just need to bust out the old Super Game Boy and play it.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 07:30:51
@chrisbg99

Yeah, Chris knows what he's talking about. Duck Tales 2 is an expennnsive find.

I went after an NES lot on eBay earlier this year, prepared to pay $75 because Duck Tales 2 was in there.
I didn't win it.. I think it topped out around $130. Too rich for my blood!


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 08:16:53
The music overall in this game wasn't as memorable or well-designed as the first. Which is not saying it's bad, since the original's soundtrack is one of the best of all time. It's just the sequel's doesn't quite live up to the predecessor. Still, a pretty fun game.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 14:43:55
Good review Dr. Finkelstein, and a great song to accompany reading the review!

It truly is a shame this game came out when it did so late in the NES era, it's the kind of game I would have loved to play. Capcom was the master of good games on NES, and their Disney games were awesome. Unfortunately I can't remember whether I even played the first Duck Tales or not, but of course that game is legendary among seasoned gamers.

It sounds like there are more than enough improvements in this game, indicating Capcom didn't simply churn out another sequel with little to differentiate. If only licensed games such as this could somehow end up on Virtual Console, I would be in gaming heaven!


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 17:38:43
$80? Holy shit. This review (+ licensing issues) are tempting me to enable emulation on my Wii.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 20:15:16
GameDadGrant said:
The music overall in this game wasn't as memorable or well-designed as the first. Which is not saying it's bad, since the original's soundtrack is one of the best of all time. It's just the sequel's doesn't quite live up to the predecessor. Still, a pretty fun game.

Absolutely correct. Enjoyable in it's own light, dark however from the shadow of it's brethren.

roykoopa64 said:
Good review Dr. Finkelstein, and a great song to accompany reading the review! ... It sounds like there are more than enough improvements in this game, indicating Capcom didn't simply churn out another sequel with little to differentiate. If only licensed games such as this could somehow end up on Virtual Console, I would be in gaming heaven!

Thanks! And yeah, there are even more gameplay changes (in a good way) that I didn't mention. The game is only as long as the original but still I was constantly surprised and delighted.

@Anand

Well, if you have a Mac, Darwiin (which allows your Wiimote to work with your computer) and Nestopia make for a great combo for emulating NES hardware.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 20:25:51
Why did I never play this...


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 20:33:58
@anon_mastermind

I asked myself the same question. And then remedied the situation.


Posted by 
 on: 11/11/11, 21:01:16
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