Dear lord. Was I just a better gamer when I was younger?
There are two types of gamers who will dig into this collection of NES classics: sadists and retros. Those Dark Souls loving gamers who get a thrill out of tough mechanics and challenging level design that would normally find controllers embedded deep into the living room wall. Those people will certainly get a kick from these Disney titles in one collection from Digital Eclipse. They will consider the collection a challenge, rather than too tough.
The other group, the retro gamers, will find delight in knowing that DE has done some of the most precise emulation work to bring some of the most memorable Disney titles from the NES era into the current generation consoles. Sure, the retros know the games are tough as nails, but knowing that they’ve been preserved, treated well and even to an extent added onto through various modes and offerings, will certainly make these folks smile.
Regardless of what type of gamer you might be between the bunch, please note that Digital Eclipse and Capcom did their best work to make this experience worth the $14.99 asking price.
Without further delay, let’s breakdown this collection.
First and foremost, here’s what you should expect in the collection:
– Duck Tales: A hopping Uncle Scrooge and endlessly respawning enemies built on a level design that is cross between Castlevania and Goonies 2. You will die a lot and there will be no money vault to swim in when you do so.
– Duck Tales 2 (super rare in cartridge form): An improvement of sorts over the original. You have the privilege of playing this game, which you will still die a lot in, without paying the current asking price of $1499.00 on eBay. That should be honor enough for you.
– Chip ’n Dale’s Rescue Rangers: Surprisingly good with level design that has aspects of Super Mario Bros., but the difficulty of Duck Tales. There are a lot of neat multi-tiered levels to play in and some strange obstacles to get through.
– Chip ’n Dale’s Rescue Rangers 2: Not sure anyone stuck around the 8-bit world long enough to enjoy this one, but it was a tighter and smoother improvement over the first. It still looks like it was built on the same design, but it feels a bit more tweaked in some areas in comparison to the first.
– Darkwing Duck: I know people consider this one difficult, but I actually had the most fun out of Darkwing. Hidden levels mixed with very refined gameplay out of the collection. It took less effort to progress and die, which means the replay value was really good. You had to replay a lot in Darkwing and the save points certainly didn’t improve that at all. BUT! This was still my favorite of the bunch.
– Talespin: This was a cool game. A good mix of shooter and adventure. Flying the plane that Baloo flew in the cartoon through enemies and trying not to unfairly die over and over again made this game a fun challenge. Plus, this great show deserved its own title. Very underrated of the afternoon cartoons of the time.
These are the six nearly impossible titles in one place, which isn’t a bad deal if you love these classics.
Now, for me personally, I’m a retro gamer that respected the difficulty of the titles and found some of their aspects charming, but for the most part stopped playing here and there when the frustration became too high. As I get older, instead of just throwing controllers or cursing out the screen, I simply turn the game off, hold a personal meeting with myself and retry at a later date. It’s a methodical process of reviewing tough games, but it works and it worked well for this collection. This collection’s difficulty still isn’t at the level of Atari’s E.T., but every title in the bunch has a high level of challenge attached to it.
That said, my son, who is eight years of age, adored all of these games. He was fascinated by their difficulty, their unfairness in design, but kept playing them over and over again. He did his best to work through the obstacles, but jumped from game-to-game when things got too much for him. Why am I telling you this? Well, this proves that the games, despite their visual rawness or difficulty, have some longevity to them. In addition to that, they can attract a new generation of gamers, who are willing to cut their teeth on the titles despite their difficulty and flaws. That is amazing and a rare when difficult generations of gamers can agree on liking a set of titles.
A few of the gameplay aspects he enjoyed the most were being able to go toe-to-toe with bosses in the boss rushes (enjoy that, it’s difficult as heck) and the time attacks (he is a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan, so that’s not really surprising). These two categories are separate from the normal games from yesteryear, which adds some much needed incentive for you to relive these Disney NES classics. Again, Digital Eclipse really needed to add some incentive that was worth a darn to make these more than just glorified emulations and these two mode additions really helped push it beyond just a straight port.
But, as the infomercials of the world say, ‘That’s not all!’. The collection comes packaged with 80s/90s themes and includes art and soundtracks for each game. Again, that is some added value, especially for the retro gamers who were hoping more NES collections would find their way into the current generation of systems.