Throwback Thursday: Darkwing Duck

If I asked you to think of a good Disney game back in the NES era, you’d probably say something like, DuckTales. I would agree with you. It’s a fantastic game. I hold it near and dear to my heart. I grew up loving those TV shows and I loved the games, for the most part. However, there’s one that’s closer to my heart than Ducktales. One that I don’t think that very many people appreciate, at least in my circle of friends. I would like to start off Throwback Thursday with Darkwing Duck.

Growing up I loved watching Darkwing Duck. It was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. My parents got the game for our family and I for one could not have been more excited. The game was made by, you guessed it, Capcom. That’s all that really needs to be said. Capcom churned out a ton of good Disney titles back in the day, including DuckTales. It’s no wonder why this game is good, but I’ll explain why.

Number one reason being the awesome title screen. Seriously, behold it’s glory.

Majestic as ****

It just grabs you from the start. I know I’m being petty, maybe even a little bit biased, but when I was a kid and I saw that I knew I was in for a good time. You start up the game and you are faced with the option of picking three levels. Think Mega Man, but with a Darkwing Duck skin. Rumor has it, that’s what it actually is. Nevertheless, the game plays very similarly to Mega Man. You run with the D-Pad, jump with A, shoot your gas gun with B. Remember when controls were simple like that? Well, that’s where a little beauty called level design comes in.

Level design is something that I absolutely love in a game. In a platformer it is essential to have good level design, without growing dull and linear after a couple of levels. Darkwing does this very well. With any of the first three levels you pick they are all about the same degree of difficulty. I’m always partial to the first one, that’s the one I played most. You start off on the bridge.

The incredibly fun bridge level.

You head towards the end of the level killing baddies on the way. The platforming on this level still grabs my attention every time I turn on my NES. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s not too easy, not too hard, and incredibly fun to play. The jumps are not as crazy as in Mega Man III. It’s something, I hate to sound cliché, magical. It’s a smooth experience to me. It’s a pretty good looking game. It’s not the most beautiful, but it can have complex backgrounds when it tries.

The gameplay is pretty much Mega Man. I’m not even kidding here. Seriously, like down to the enemies, just with a different skin. You have several different kind, all of which require a different method and somewhat precise platforming to defeat. Now, even though the enemies are incredibly similar to Mega Man, they are still varied and it’s still a crap ton of fun to play. They almost seem like, not a hinderance, but a small victory and testament to your ability. Every time I defeat someone in the game I just want to stand up and shout, “I am the terror that flaps in the night!” You also have upgrades you can get on the way that help in later boss fights. This creates a solid formula for good levels and high replayability.

I’ve stated this before, or maybe a I haven’t, but what’s a good platformer without good boss fights? The answer is mediocre. Boss fights are what makes a good platformer better than good. If you fight all your way to the end and the boss fights aren’t challenging, fun, and memorable then all you are left with is just the levels. Thank God, that’s not Darkwing Duck. These boss fights are incredibly fun. Except Quackerjack, but other than that they’re fantastic. Wolfduck is probably my favorite boss. His stage is on a rooftop. How much cooler does it get?

Seriously, look at how cool this is.

Every time the clouds pass by the moon he turns into a giant duck, is invincible, and charges at you. He then punches a box at you. When the clouds cover the moon he turns into this vulnerable, tiny, punk that runs around the stage trying to hit you with his body. Seriously, what a punk. But it’s so memorable and I love that fight.

Before I close out this review, I just want to say that the soundtrack is pretty awesome. I absolutely love hearing the tunes from one my favorite TV shows in 8-bit form. This game is something I have to recommend to everyone. It’s incredibly fun, not too hard, and I guarantee you will play it throughout the night. I mean you don’t want to lose your progress, right? Even though the storyline consist of just, these are bad guys kill them it’s a ton of fun to experience. It’s an age old formula, but it pulls it off incredibly well. If you can, pick it up and give it a shot and let me know what you think in the comments below.



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About The Author

I come from a small town in South Carolina and I'm going to school for Electrical Engineering. I grew up on Nintendo games. The first game I ever played was Super Mario Bros. for the NES. I loved that thing and still have it to this day. I have had every Nintendo system, save for the Virtual Boy, since the NES that was given to me. Nintendo has brought me joy where every other form of entertainment falls short. My favorite game is either The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask or the entire Mother series. (Yes, I'm counting the Mother series as one game. Deal with it.) I'm currently playing Super Mario Bros 3D World on Wii U and Animal Crossing: New Leaf and trying to finish up Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon on 3DS. NNID: Mr.Lockthorne