Darkwing Duck for the NES is just as great as the show
Darkwing Duck is good platformer that does the show justice. It is also a solid entry into the consistently great library of Capcom Disney games.
Darkwing Duck is a broad superhero parody which ran from 1990 to 1992 on the Disney Afternoon block. The show was about Drake Mallard and his title character alter ego, battling crime in St. Canard. Along for the ride is his adopted daughter Goslyn and wheelman/sidekick Launchpad McQuack, who is from DuckTales. The show had a silly cast of characters who were parodies of comic book and spy film villains. It’s a fondly remembered show, which combines the quality animated comedy of Disney and the fun of comic books.
Capcom released a game based on the show in 1992 for the NES. Darkwing Duck uses the Mega Man mold of being a platformer where jumping and shooting are key. However, Darkwing Duck is not just another Mega Man clone. Darkwing Duck has some creative level design and boss fights. It stuffs two seasons worth of characters and locations to set it apart from the Blue Bomber.
However, being released at the very end of both the NES and show’s lifespan, the game could not have had a more unlucky release window. Which is a shame. Darkwing Duck on the NES is a fun adaptation that manages to have the personality of the show and fantastic gameplay to back it up.
“WHEN THERE’S TROUBLE YOU CALL DW!”
Darkwing is informed the criminal organization known as F.O.W.L. started to run rampant throughout St. Canard. DW is armed with a variety of gadget to help him on his quest to rid the city of crime.
Darkwing Duck has the same open-ended stage selection of Mega Man. Launchpad drills Darkwing on what villain has taken over what section of the city. QuackerJack, the Joker parody of Darkwing Duck takes control of the bridge; Wolfduck controls downtown and the Liquidator has seized the sewers. Other villains from the show will appear, such as the nefarious Steelbeak, the pseudo-Electro spoof Megavolt and Darkwing Duck’s nemesis Negaduck!
Let’s get dangerous… on the NES
Turning on Darkwing Duck for the NES, players will be greeted with a semi-recreation of the show’s memorable intro.
The game oozes with the energy of the cartoon, with DW yelling his classic battle cry, “I AM DARKWING DUCK” at the beginning of each level. The colorful graphics and animation reflect the cartoon perfectly
Released in 1992, Capcom knows how to squeeze out whatever graphical capabilities the NES has. Darkwing Duck is a fanatastic showcase for the NES’ graphics and has vibrant and varied colors throughout the game. Characters look like their TV show counterparts.
As the terror that flaps in the night, Darkwing moves fluidly thanks in part to some incredibly responsive controls. Darkwing Duck will certainly invoke memories of Mega Man with all the jumping and the shooting. The level design is certainly inspired. There is enough interesting platforming all throughout Darkwing Duck’s world, such as using a grapping hook to climb up buildings or using tires to get across spiked floors.
However, unlike Mega Man, Darkwing does not steal the powers of his enemies. Instead he has to find his own power-ups. DW can gain electric powered ammunition or arrows that shoot in two directions for his gun. It’s a small touch, but the game does not feel exactly like Mega Man once the player gets used to it.
Darkwing Duck for the NES is always challenging. Even for veteran Mega Man players. The abundance of creative enemy types also raise up the ante for each stage. DW may be a superhero, but he will need a player of great skill to take care of the enemies. Boss fights in Darkwing Duck are challenging, having the player utilize their platforming skills to the nth degree.
One of Gaming’s Undervalued Treasures
Darkwing Duck is a great Disney cartoon which holds up even today. Darkwing Duck on the NES is an excellent platformer that does the classic show justice. It does not set the world on fire, but it is a fun game in its own right. Colorful graphics go along with the solid gameplay to create an experience any fan of Darkwing Duck can enjoy.
If Darkwing Duck could provide his own narration for his game, he would say something like this:
“This is a game that is a blast to play. This is a game that shows off my crime fighting skills perfectly. This is DARKWING DUCK…on the NES!!!”