DuckTales (NES) Review

By Athanasios 30.05.2019 2

Review for DuckTales on NES

Nowadays we may have super mega-hits like Marvel's Spider-Man, yet throughout the medium's long history, licensed titles have mostly been shamelessly quick cash grabs, and as such, many of them ended up being some of the worst videogames ever made. Disney was a bit more careful with its IPs, even on that distant era of the NES, evident by titles such as TailSpin, Chip 'n' Dale, and Darkwing Duck - but these were mostly good, and nothing more than that. DuckTales was different, though, and here's why...

Less than a millisecond after inserting the cartridge on the NES, and a fantastic, 8-bit rendition of the extremely catchy DuckTales theme will start playing along, making the press of the 'Start' button a challenging one. Lucky for those who will be in a hurry to do so, the fun doesn't end there. Unlike most licensed videogames, the title at hand was made from a crew of actual game developers, and, even better, Capcom employees who have worked on the Mega Man series.

The result is something that, not only looks and sounds very good, but is also quite enjoyable to play. Before delving into the actual gameplay, however, it's important to mention how DuckTales manages to capture the adventurous, yet carefree, and all around optimistic feel of the show, something that, especially when it comes to younger players, makes this a surprisingly immersive experience. Who's to blame? Why the excellent audio-visuals on offer, of course!

Screenshot for DuckTales on NES

Besides the nicely crafted sprites which are "just" decent-to-good, the colourful palette paints a world that manages to transport you "there," whether that's a temple deep into the Amazon, a damp African mine, the snowscapes of the Himalayas and the dark caves underground, or the freaking moon! What makes traversing all these much more exciting, though is the soundtrack, as every single track is literally an 8-bit masterpiece.

Audio-visuals aside, this is your basic platformer, albeit, one that includes its own unique twists. The basic idea behind this is that the richest duck in the world (Scrooge McDuck - like you need to ask) sets out on a quest to become even richer. No creation of third-world sweatshops or anything like that, however. McDuck will just have to travel all around the world, and gather shiny gems, as well as a bunch of super-rare artefacts - as if diamonds the size of his nephews weren't enough...

Screenshot for DuckTales on NES

The finale is affected by the sum collected, and, sure, the actual endings aren't something spectacular (this being the NES and all), yet the goal manages to act as an effective incentive. The catch is that gathering treasure isn't just about doing that and that alone. Levels in DuckTales are surprisingly non-linear, thus players who'll stray off the beaten path can find, not only more treasure, but also a way to exit a level and re-enter it, gaining even more money in the process.

It's also important to note that this isn't just a Mario game with a Disney coat of paint all over it, as Scrooge's technique has nothing to do with jumping on top of the local fauna to kill it. Instead, our Scottish hero can use his trusty cane as a pogo stick in order to hit enemies on the head, and, more importantly, reach higher places, and find even more treasure - being the Scot that he is, Scrooge can also use the cane as a golf club, although this won't be used as much.

Screenshot for DuckTales on NES

In conclusion, DuckTales is a classic gem that everyone should play, right? Not really, to be honest. DuckTales is certainly a fine NES game, but it's not for everyone. For starters, it pales in comparison to some of the more meaty platformers of the platform, whether that's Super Mario Bros. 3 or Kirby's Adventure. What it does it's done pretty good, but that won't exactly be enough for most.

Generally, DuckTales suffers quite a lot from its extremely short length, very low difficulty, and, more importantly, its severe lack of a replay value. This is one of those titles that can be completed in an evening, and never really touched again for quite some time, not to mention that it was mainly targeted towards kiddos and it shows. Long story short, DuckTales is certainly an NES gem, but one that should better be kept for that retro-loving young sibling you have.

Screenshot for DuckTales on NES

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

DuckTales belongs in every NES collector's hands, as it's a great platformer that has visuals that feel as if the TV show turned into an 8-bit game, as well as a killer OST. The only flaws? Its tiny length, low difficulty, and, overall, focus in mainly pleasing the young'uns.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


amazing how Wayfoward bungled the remake when they had something that was basically perfect to work from. sad

Insanoflex said:
amazing how Wayfoward bungled the remake when they had something that was basically perfect to work from. sad

Normally they are good too.

The music in this game is great, esp the moon.  So many good remixes there.

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