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Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers (N64)

When it comes to platform games, Ubi Soft has yet to disappoint me (I even enjoyed the often scoffed-at Tonic Trouble and Rocket: Robot on Wheels). At first glance, Goin' Quackers looks like any other bad action-platform game with a license stuck onto it. Gameplay is very derivative of others in the genre—especially Crash Bandicoot. All the levels you'd normally find in a platformer are here: jungle, city, haunted house, tombs; but the pacing and style make it fun to play. It's not a difficult game—it only took me a few hours to go from the beginning to the end boss. It's clear this was designed for younger players, and after the first level it reminded me of the hours I spent as a youngster playing QuackShot (another Donald Duck game). Levels are well-designed and there are never any blind jumps or areas where you can't see your path—a common design flaw in the genre. Graphics have that fuzzy N64 look to them, but the Expansion Pak sharpens it up nicely without slowing it down. The music is repetitive and lame, and some of the sound effects are oddly chosen—Donald seems to say, "Ouch!" when on moving platforms. I wish there were more levels and more of a connection between them and to the end-level bosses. It's a tad light on story, too—the in-game animation was done so well it'd have been nice to see more of it. A fun (if short), old- fashioned platformer.

Remember when Disney platformers were almost always magical? Castle of Illusion and QuackShot spring to mind immediately when playing this latest Donald Duck game. Ubi Soft has done an outstanding job here. The controls are simple, the graphics are pretty (especially with the Expansion Pak installed) and even the music is excellent. Plus every level has a few different goals to achieve, from a time attack to collecting toys, so there's a bit of replay value involved. That's especially good since the game is really short, the only real problem. Kids will definitely love this one, so will old-school gamers weaned on the SNES and Genesis.

I really like 2D platformers, but the difference between a game like Klonoa and one like Donald Duck is all about style and ingenuity. There's nothing significant about Donald Duck being in this game at all—you could easily swap him and the peripheral characters out with any other Disney staples and no one would be the wiser. Why are stars and coins always the default collection items? How about some oyster crackers or something? He's a duck! The game is way too short, but it does have a few cool ideas and enemies in play, so it might be a good rental for younger kids. It's certainly not a Duck Tales (NES) for the new millennium, though.

Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers

Publisher: Ubi Soft
Developer: Ubi Soft
Featured In: EGM #135
Players: 1
Supports: Controller Pak, Expansion Pak
Best Feature: Old-fashioned platforming fun
Worst Feature: Over too soon
Web Site:
Visuals: 8
Sound: 6
Ingenuity: 6
Replay: 5
Electronic Gaming Monthly   [posted on: Dec 05 2000 12:00:00:000AM]

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