So, then: you've got Mario, you've got Banjo, you've got Donkey Kong,
you've maybe even got those second string platformers like Rocket: Robot
on Wheels, Rayman 2 and Yoshi's Story.
So, why the bleedin' hell would
you want to invest money in this, Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers, a game so
lacking in ideas its only purpose in life surely is to be used to prop
open doors and entertain small children who feel the need to smash
things with hammers.
Ripping off - of all things - Crash Bandicoot (presumably the thought
of trying to ape, say, Mario 64, a far superior and
as-yet-never-bettered 3D adventure, filled Donald Duck's innovation-free
development team with The Fear), the game commits various crimes - not
least the crime of actually existing - but it's worst are variously:
having you running into the camera while trying to outrun a massive white glove that moves almost
twice as fast as you; sometimes using, say, drain covers as platforms
and sometimes using them as enemies (which it does without telling you
and which, subsequently, makes even moving around an impossible and
infuriating task); having boss characters whose moves you can work out
in, oooooh, a couple of seconds, effectively curtailing any attempts to
secure a 'difficulty' curve; including sideways-moving levels where the
screen is constantly playing catch-up, meaning you could be making leaps
into bottomless canyons or onto the heads of spikey enemies without even
realising it; including some truly gut-wretching cut scenes involving
Donald and his inexplicably more hateful nephews, Hughie, Dewie and
Louie. There's plenty more too but, we fear, it'd take more space than
is available here (even on the confinement-free internet) to run through
Perhaps the biggest disappointment with Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers,
though, is that, technically, it's actually not that bad. Graphically,
it's strong enough, pushing - collectively - a lot of enemies and
movement at the same time, while maintaining a respectable frame rate.
The environments are crisp and clean, if uninspiring, while the music,
though repetitive, is bouncy, lightweight and enjoyable, with a number
of sturdy FX chucked in for good measure.
But, even given this, there's no getting around the fact that Donald
Duck is boring and, worse, a pitiful hurdle in terms of challenge and
lifespan. Within 10 minutes of play we had waltzed through the first
two worlds and, in just under two hours, had done for the game in its
entirety. And, with no multiplayer game to come back to, you're left
with a shell of a game that, possibly, once looked good on a drawing
board but is now like a whiff of stale air from a bygone era when we
might have accepted a total and crushing lack of ambition.
That said, there's no getting away from the fact that Donald Duck isn't
only lacking in ambition and ideas, it's lacking in any standout
features at all: all 24 levels play exactly the same (quite an
achievement, that), every single idea is nicked from somewhere else
and pulled off with less flair and success, and, worst of all, it's
tedious and endlessly irritating.
Avoid at all costs.