Review by GavLuvsGA
Donald actually gets better games than Mickey!
Okay, I first got this game in a double pack with the equally good "Castle of Illusion". My previous experience with this game had been briefly watching Donald killing a tiger and then going inside a pyramid before the person playing got a swift "game over". When I played the game, I was impressed.
Gameplay - 9/10
The great thing about the gameplay is that it's mostly non-linear; you can go to any level that is shown on the map, and you can return to them and leave them at specified points by calling Huey. Dewey and Luey with their plane. This is often necessary because you'll have to go between levels to get items; for example, in one level you will be told you need the "Hero Key" and must return home to ask someone for it, or you will need to beat one level in its entirety in order to progress.
The gameplay has a number of unusual features, particularly the use of plungers as weapons to stun enemies. You can knock them out of the game completely by using popcorn and bubblegum, but these tend to be in short supply and should be saved up for later levels of the game. The enemies consist regularly of Pete's henchmen, who throw bombs and other nuisances at you and parrots that drop stuff from overhead. Most of the levels will also take place in two distinct "halves", with a point in the middle where you can call the balloon. Some are straightforward, while others involve puzzle solving; for example, the Maharajah's palace features a maze of rooms where you risk getting lost for a long time before figuring out the correct doors to use, and another level features a ghost miniboss who is able to split himself into several small ghosts, and you have to work out how to escape from him. There are a couple of minecar rides resembling something off Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but these are too short for my liking, and there is a spectacular pulley ride sequence in one level.
As you progress through the game, you will find yourself picking up different types of plungers, which allow for you to reach places you couldn't before, and are your incentive for beating certain levels. For example, you will need to get red plungers in order to use them to climb walls, and green plungers allow you to hitch a ride on parrots over a couple of gaping ravines. You can also pick up chili peppers to give Donald a "Quack Attack" where he gets angry and beats everyone in his path out of the way - in short, invincibility. However, this is rather under used, and in all cases, the peppers are found all too close to each other - having them scattered about more would have been a nice idea.
Towards the end of the game, you do lose the flexibility you had previously in accessing levels, as you will end up having to play the two final levels; the very last level seems a bit too short, but it is still satisfying.
Story - 7/10
This game is based on the old Disney cartoon, Duck Tales, which centred around Donald Duck and his family, and it features all of the familiar characters - Donald (well, duh), Daisy, Huey, Dewey, Lewey, Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose and ... Goofy! The story is, Donald finds an ancient treasure map and decides to get the treasure for Daisy, and to make things more complicated, Pete and his minions decide to get the treasure for themselves. I actually spent the entire game expecting Donald to find a load of filthy laundry, which turned out NOT to be what happened, but the ending is certainly amusing.
There are some notable homages to the Indiana Jones Movies, most notably the last portion of the game being similar to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and of course the minecar rides. The only real problem I had with is was some of Donald's Dialogue (which is written on screen, rather than the usual gibberishesque "Quack, quack, quack" language. "Thank you, Sweet Senorita" he says at one point, upon being told he'll have to go back for an item, which sounds completely out of character. Not to mention that Donald just being comprehensible seems bizarre.
Sound - 9/10
Very nice tunes; I always found myself very fond of the sombre music located in the Transylvania and Viking Ship levels, but I also love the fast-paced music heard in the minecar rides. A few of the tunes in the later levels are a bit dull, though.
Graphics - 10/10
Graphics are excellent. Donald's animation is very good, with his reaction to getting hit and the way he behaves during his "Quack attack". The detail in the levels is often very good, with a Mickey Mouse airship making an appearance, and lots of comical villains, and you barely notice the fact that it becomes repetitive at times (how many times must you walk past identical looking mirrors in Dracula's Castle?)
Lastability - 7/10
The bad news is that there are no replay bonuses, but there is certainly an incentive to play again. The game is neither too easy, nor so hard that you are put off replaying altogether.
Buy this; in fact, try and get the double cartridge that also contains Castle of Illusion, which is NEARLY as good as this. I find it amazing that Mickey Mouse, Disney's Mascot, is actually getting inferior games to his sidekick, Donald. Kind of like the way Tails Adventures is better than most of Sonic's games on the Gamegear, I guess.
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