Console: NES Company: Capcom Release Date: June 1993 Genre: Action Number of Players: 1 Save Feature? No
Along with Kirby's Adventure and Battletoads: Double Dragon, Ducktales 2 was one of the last truly great games to be released for the NES. Like the first Ducktales game, Ducktales 2 featured crisp graphics, exceptional play control, and a plentiful amount of secrets. If you enjoyed the first Ducktales classic, it's safe to say that you'd like the sequel as well.
Overview: By the time 1993 rolled around, it was beginning to become obvious that the NES was in the twilight years of its life. Even with Nintendo's promise that the NES would not succumb to time and technology, the dwindling list of NES games in the works seemed to suggest otherwise. Before too long, the list had dipped into the single digits!
Amazingly, even with the dramatic drop in new NES releases, 1993 was still a successful year for the Nintendo Entertainment System. For one thing, the year began with a bang as Mega Man 5 was released. Battletoads: Double Dragon turned heads as well. And of course, two of the greatest NES games ever in Kirby's Adventure and Dragon Warrior IV hit the market.
Also in the mix was the long-awaited sequel to one of Capcom's most beloved classics: Ducktales. When news of a Ducktales 2 release hit the pages of an early '93 issue of Nintendo Power magazine, I was absolutely ecstatic! The anticipation grew and before long, I found myself calling Toys 'R Us almost daily to see if Ducktales 2 was in yet. Ahh...those were the days!
As you saw in my review of the original Ducktales game, I was a huge fan of not only the game but of the cartoons as well. Capcom had captured the spirit of my favorite Disney cartoon so well and I truly believed that they could catch that Disney magic once more. And unlike many of the games that came out during this time, Ducktales 2 did indeed turn out to be yet another inspired effort by the wizards at Capcom. It might not have been quite as magical as the original game, but it did come awfully close.
In terms of gameplay and feel, Ducktales 2 mirrors the original game in almost every aspect. If you played the first Ducktales game, you know exactly what to expect in the sequel. Since the original was so successful, I guess that Capcom decided to take the "If it a'int broke, don't fix it" approach. It's hard to blame them.
Like the original Ducktales hit, the game begins with Scrooge and his nephews exploring five different areas of the globe in search of mystical treasures. The watery Niagara region, a mysterious Scottish castle, the unknown island of Mu (yes, it's called Mu), the land of Egypt, and a ship in the dreaded Bermuda Triangle are the targets this time around. What's funny is that some of the stages seem to almost have the same layout and/or secret areas as those found in the first Ducktales game. For example, Niagara feels a lot like the Amazon while Scotland reminds me of Transylvania. Just a little food for thought.
Although it may sound like it, Ducktales 2 isn't simply a clone of the original game. One feature in Ducktales 2 that can't be found in the original is the neat-o item shop that appears either when you beat a stage or fly back home via Launchpad. Here, you're able to stock up on goodies such as the Safe (you won't lose $$$ after losing a life), Cake (replenishes life), Special Energy, and Mojo Dolls (they could have just called these extra lives). There is also a piece of the Treasure Map that appears after a certain requirement is met which is of utmost importance as well.
Another difference is that, while Ducktales 2 has five initial levels like the original game, it also contains a secret level that can only be accessed once Scrooge locates all seven of the treasure map pieces. In addition to finding hoards of rare diamonds and gold, there is a special treasure here that not only affects your collected money but the game's ending as well! Of course, locating all seven pieces of the treasure map is a daunting task indeed.
Graphics: One of the best aspects of Ducktales 2 is the exceptional graphics. Everything is crisp, colorful, and polished to a "T"; even more so than the original. Of course, this can be expected from a sequel that came out a whopping four years after the original but I digress. There's not a whole heck of a lot more to say than that. Capcom sure knew how to spoil us NES diehards didn't they?
The character animation is also very fluid and polished. From Uncle Scrooge's various moves with his cane to frogs jumping or bosses attacking, everything was done nicely. Some of the background animation like lamps burning or rain pouring gave the game a nice touch as well.
Music: Like a few of Capcom's other late NES releases (i.e. Mega Man 6 and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2), the music in Ducktales 2 is nice and appropriate but it just doesn't have that extra pizzazz that the original had. There's nothing really all that catchy like the Transylvania or Himalayas themes found in the first Ducktales game. That's not to say that the music in Ducktales 2 is bad or even average. It's just that a lot of it seems to be there out of necessity...kind of like referees at a basketball game.
Still, there were a couple tunes that I enjoyed. The best music in the game is by far the track that plays during the game's final level. It is a very enjoyable, inspired piece. The only problem is that you don't hear it for long because the final level is extremely short! I thought that the relaxing flow of Niagara's tune along with the somewhat catchy Scotland track were both done nicely as well. The others, while on the average side, are at least appropriate.
Play Control: Ducktales 2 definitely benefits by being made by the same company responsible for the Mega Man series. Everything from jumping to pulling objects to executing the pogo jump is a breeze. I really liked how you no longer had to hold down on the control pad to use the pogo jump as well. Everything is just very responsive and user-friendly. Scrooge might be just a tad bit "floaty" in Ducktales 2 but still, the play control is definitely one of the brightest aspects of the game.
Challenge: In my opinion, Ducktales 2 was more challenging than the original game. For some reason, it just seemed like there were more obstacles and "instant kills" in this installment than in the first Ducktales game. That secret level had some very tricky sections like the place where you had to hit a wall to jostle a raft, jump up and grab a moving device with Scrooge's cane, and jump from the device to a higher ledge...all within about two seconds. There was also the noticeable lack of any health-replenishing items that you would normally gain by defeating enemies. Of course, you could buy cake from the item shop so that kind of balanced things out a bit.
Finding all of the treasure map pieces could be a real bear as well. Some of them are very well hidden and others are just plain hard to snag even if you know where they are! That piece in the Scotish castle where you have to pogo jump on three consecutive enemies over a huge chasm is simply nerve-racking. This is by no means a bad thing though. It was nice to see that even a game "designed for kids" could present a nice adrenaline rush for even us video game vets. ;)
Storyline: Like the first Ducktales game, the story in Ducktales 2 isn't really intended to excite or delight as much as it is to set things up for a second worldwide treasure hunt. It basically involves one of Scrooge's nephews finding a piece of an old treasure map up in the attic one fateful day. Based on the information on this piece, Scrooge & company ascertain the location of the other pieces of the map. And if you're fortunate enough to find all seven pieces, the location of the secret treasure of McDuck is discovered (The real goal in this game is to snag this baby!) Granted, the story is probably one of the weakest aspects of Ducktales 2. On the flip side, however, it's also not a very critical area for a game like this.
Funfactor: Like the original, Ducktales 2 was a wonderful gaming experience. While the nice visuals were a definite plus, it was the gameplay that made this game stand out. As I said before, the play control was downright scary good and everything just felt smooth and well-polished from start to finish. It was yet another solid Capcom offering for the NES and it goes to show you that sometimes, you just don't want to change a winning formula. Granted, I prefer the original Ducktales game over the sequel but still, Ducktales 2 is a fantasic game.
Negatives: For some reason, I just didn't feel that Ducktales 2 captured the spirit of the cartoon as well as the original game. Perhaps this was because of the somewhat disappointing soundtrack. The music throughout Ducktales 2 was good but just didn't have that catchy beat or extra pizzazz that was so prevalent throughout the original game's score.
And while fans of the original Ducktales game will enjoy the similar gameplay found in Ducktales 2, anyone looking for something fresh and original will be disappointed. It's pretty safe to say that you'll like Ducktales 2 as much as you enjoyed the original game. If you didn't like the first Ducktales game, you'd better steer clear of the sequel.
Ratings: Graphics: 4.3 Music: 3.8 Play Control: 4.7 Challenge: 4.3 Storyline: 3.7 Funfactor: 4.5 Overall Score: 25.3 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Bronze Bravo
Back to NES NostalgiaLast Updated: May 27, 2006