Tag Archives: Disney

Scouse Gamer 88 Chip N' Dale 2 Header

Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) –  Capcom

Producer(s) – Tokoru Fujiwara

PEGI – N/A (Suitable for all ages)

Released very late on in the shelf life of the NES back in 1993, Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2 received favorable reviews upon release and was later released as part of the Disney Saturday Morning Collection along with the original game, Duck Tales, Talespin, and Darkwing Duck. The previous review of this game that caught my eye above all others was EGM review, which alluded to what it would’ve been like to see a sequel alternatively released on more current hardware at the time, such as the Super NES or the Mega Drive. Whilst I believe it to be true that if that had indeed been the case, (indeed, it would have sold even better than what it did and would’ve been more capable of standing out), the final game is still a very enjoyable experience as well as being a more than worthy sequel, topping what the original game had to offer. 

 

Graphics – 9/10

The most notable improvement between the first and second games is undoubtedly the graphics. Everything from the character sprites to the scenery is a lot more detailed than that of the previous game and there are definitely signs of the developers have done a lot more with the console’s relatively limited color palette. The conceptual design is also even more diverse than the last, as, towards the end of the former, the levels seemed to have similar elements to them to that of previous levels, whereas the second game doesn’t suffer from that issue at all. The only thing that this game doesn’t have going for it in comparison to its predecessor is that the soundtrack is nowhere near as catchy. 

 

Gameplay – 8/10

The gameplay pretty much follows the same formula as the first, though with a few minor tweaks. Gone is the facility to choose between levels, as this game offers a completely linear progression, and players can now stun enemies and grab them in addition to throwing inanimate objects at them, making it even more reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 2 than the first Chip N’ Dale game. Whilst it may seem a bad thing that the second game has a far more linear progression, it’s actually an improvement, as it removes the option of skipping levels in order to progress faster, and forces the player to enjoy the full game for what it is. The most significant improvement in terms of gameplay, however, is that the boss fights are far more elaborate than that of the first game, requiring a far greater degree of strategy in order to defeat them. 

 

Controls – 10/10

As with the previous game, there are no issues with the controls, as the 2D side-scrolling genre had become a staple in gaming at the time, and it seemed harder for developers to get it wrong than to get it right. There are a few tweaks that have been made to the controls, however, such as the facility to throw objects diagonally, whereas, in the previous game, they could only be thrown up, left or right. It was quite impressive for an NES title, since many other games only relied on the up, down, left, and right axis, whereas games like this attempted to break the trend it would seem. 

 

Lifespan – 7/10

Lasting about the standard time of a third-generation side scroller the game can be completed inside an hour. Of course, because the game forces the player to experience every level, unlike in the first, players are forced to spend a standard amount of time on it, however. Instead of potentially skipping levels in order to progress as fast as possible. There were many other side scrollers at the time released on better hardware that was being made to last considerably longer than this, but those playing it at the time, and those looking to try it out, will not be disappointed. 

 

Storyline – 7/10

The storyline of Chip N’ Dale 2 is also massively improved compared to that of the first game. The story is that Chip and Dale, along with Monterey, Zipper, and Gadget, are on a mission to stop Fat Cat from using an ancient artifact to achieve world domination. It seems generic at first glance in basic premise, but what separates this game from the previous, and indeed from a number of early NES titles, is that there are a notable amount of cutscenes included to tell the story, and far more dialogue than there is in the first game. Breaking another NES trend, players would be reliant on the game’s manual to learn about the majority of a game’s story. But in this game, the developers went above and beyond that to tell it in a more detailed manner in-game. 

 

Originality – 7/10

Though there were a lot of Super NES and Mega Drive games developed at the time that had already perpetuated a lot of the things that this game did, this game stands out for it making these innovations, but on previous-generation hardware. The game, in and of itself, was a very retroactive experience; it showed developers that more could be done with the NES than perhaps they may have thought throughout the mid to late 80s; certainly in terms of controls and storytelling anyway. In terms of gameplay, whilst there are a few tweaks made, it just about does enough to be kept fresh. 

 

Happii

Overall, whilst Chip N’ Dale 2 doesn’t hold as much nostalgic value to me personally (indeed, the first Chip N’ Dale was actually the first game I ever played), it is still a much better game than its predecessor. It celebrates the license in a more meaningful way by presenting the story better, and there are significant improvements made in almost every other aspect in addition. 

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)

SG88 Toy Story Header

Toy Story (PC, Super Nintendo, Game Boy & Mega Drive)

Developer(s) – Traveller’s Tales, Psygnosis & Tiertex Design Studios

Publisher(s) – Disney Interactive, Sega, Nintendo Australia, Capcom & Black Pearl Software

Producer(s) – Craig Annis & Steve Riding

Designer(s) – John burton & Andy Ingram

ELSPA – All Ages

 

Released to coincide with the hit Disney film of the same name, Toy Story was developed for several different systems and was released to critical and commercial success despite having been at the back end of the fourth generation with the transition into the fifth generation looming around the corner. To me, this game is another one of the more impressive licensed titles released before they were further popularized during the seventh generation and still holds up as one of the most varied 2D side scrollers of the era. 

 

Graphics – 8/10

The graphical style is extremely similar to that of Donkey Kong Country, implementing 2.5 graphical sprites provided to Traveller’s Tales by Disney themselves (albeit Traveller’s Tales has their own sprites on standby in the event of time constraints), portraying all the central characters in the film, as well as several minor ones, and featuring a massively varied range of level designs; some of which add to locations found in the original movie. The game’s soundtrack also features a collection of pretty catchy soundtracks that sound like they would’ve fit flawlessly if they were again included in the film as well. As far as fourth-generation games go, this is one of the best-looking titles of that era in my opinion; the visuals are both colorfully vibrant and wonderfully dark wherever needed, and the character sprites are wonderfully animated in addition. 

 

Gameplay – 8/10

For what is primarily a 2D side scroller, the gameplay in Toy Story is surprisingly varied for a game from this era. Not only does it feature side-scrolling sequences, but it also features light puzzle elements, car driving sequences, and even a first-person sequence very similar to Doom. But to experience all of these different styles of play, I would recommend playing the Mega Drive/Genesis version; as this version was dubbed the lead version by Disney, it is the only port to feature all 18 levels created for it; the Super NES version is missing the first RC sequence towards the end and the PC version only has 10 of the original 18 levels. The game also features situations that are unique to the franchise and that don’t appear in the actual film, such as Woody navigating his way through the interior of the claw machine, whereas in the film, he and Buzz simply slip in among the toy aliens instantly. The designers of this game made something very unique to the original film, and it really shows in every respect. 

 

Controls – 10/10

Regardless of having cramped in a huge amount of different play styles, I was amazed to find that there were no problems with the controls after replaying Toy Story. I had to go over it again, as although I’d spent a great deal of time playing this when I was a kid, I realized that I’d forgotten just how good a game this was going into it again with a much more subjective viewpoint. The only minor issue I have with the controls is that during the first-person sequence inside the claw machine, turning can be a bit wooden, but that’s just semantics, as it’s only for one level. It may have posed more of a problem if there were more sequences like it, but besides which, there are no other issues with the controls at all. 

 

Lifespan – 6/10

To complete the game will take about the average lifespan for a game of this kind, which is around an hour. I found myself not being able to give the game too much flack in this respect because it was after all perpetuating the source material of an 80-minute film; in fact, if the player explores enough, they can potentially make the game last slightly longer than the film. My initial thought was that if the game could incorporate so many different play styles that the developers may have been able to make it last a lot longer than what it does, but there are too many different factors to consider for me to criticize it too much in this respect, such as the time frame they would have needed to work to in order to get it out at the same period as the film. Regardless, for a game of its generation, it lasts a fair amount of time. 

 

Storyline – 7/10

The game is simply a retelling of the events of the film; two anthropomorphic action figures, the cowboy Woody and space ranger Buzz Lightyear, become separated from their owner Andy and must find a way back before the family is due to move house. The game does well enough to portray these events in its own way without much of the classic dialogue of the film and the soundtrack does particularly well to add to the game’s atmosphere further aiding in the portrayal of the story; especially in unique sequences not present in the original film.

 

Originality – 7/10

Especially as 2D side-scrolling was the most prevalent genre within the industry at the game, this game does extremely well to stand out among a vast majority of others with the sheer amount of different play styles it incorporates throughout. It was rare for a game of this genre within the fourth generation to offer so much variety in gameplay and especially for a licensed game, which back then was much more of a niche interested among gamers than what it is now, is particularly impressive indeed. 

 

Happii

Overall, Toy Story, to me, frankly remains one of the better 2D side scrollers of the fourth generation of gaming; certainly among the best of early Disney games. It offers players an unprecedented amount of variety for the time that it lasts and portrays the film in a very satisfying way, not only using the license but celebrating it in an appropriate manner. 

Score

46/60

7.5/10 (Good)

Scouse Gamer 88 Frozen: Olaf's Quest

Frozen: Olaf’s Quest (Nintendo DS & 3DS)

Developer(s) – 1st Playable Productions

Publisher(s) – GameMill Entertainment

PEGI – 3

 

Based on the hit Disney film of 2013, Frozen: Olaf’s Quest is a 2D platforming game centering around the anthropomorphic comic relief snowman Olaf, who despite being a snowman, yearns to experience the summer. However, his game makes for a very fleeting experience; not only compared to other games based on existing popular licenses but compared to the film itself.

 

Graphics – 5/10

Although the game is set mainly in mainly snowy environments, there is a small basis in level design diversity, sine the settings do sometimes alternated between those and summery settings on beaches, and two levels are even set on a boat in the ocean. However, apart from that, there isn’t a great deal to marvel at in terms of conceptual design, and I think it would only work fractionally better for fans of the film.

 

Gameplay 1/10

The object of the game is to clear 60 short levels whilst gathering as many collectible items as possible. But although I prefer easier more accessible games as opposed to more challenging ones such as Mega Man or Castlevania, I found this title pathetically easy; even for a kid’s game. There is no true basis in either legitimate challenge or enjoyable gameplay, and I have played many other games aged 3+ infinitely more engrossing; Luigi’s Mansion and Super Mario 3D World to name but a few.

 

Controls – 10/10

The best thing I can say about this title is that there are no problems with the controls at least. There is actually some small basis in innovation with the ability to throw Olaf’s head to collect certain items that are otherwise unobtainable. It could be said that the player character moves too slowly, but in a game that has taken an average of one minute to clear each level, I go and that this has little bearing on the overall control scheme.

 

Lifespan – 0.5/10

To complete all 60 levels, even to 100%, will take an average of a mere hour, since completing the game to 100% is incredibly easy. But since there’s no viable incentive for doing so, I wouldn’t advocate even playing it for that long. A lot of platformers, especially today, can be made to last far longer, but since there’s very little enjoyment to be had in terms of gameplay, and absolutely no replay value, it feels less like that much of a fleeting experience.

 

Storyline – 0/10

presumably following the events of the film, after the character Elsa grants him immunity to melting past the point of winter, Olaf sets out on a quest across the winter and summer with no apparent goal other than to collect a bouquet of flowers for the main character Anna. The game was apparently heavily criticized for its lack of story by most mainstream review sites; and after playing it, it’s easy to see why. Though I had an idea of how empty the game was in terms of story, I was still sat on the fence about it, since it had found its way into the top 40 on multiple occasions this year, and that games based on licenses don’t generally tend to sell as well unless they’re pretty good; especially my following the release of ET back in 1982, which I will be talking about later on in this blog. But unfortunately, on this occasion, I was disappointed with this title, not only in terms of gameplay but because of its lack of story too.

 

Originality – 1/10

As far as I could deduce whilst play this game, the only vague sense of uniqueness did indeed come from that one aforementioned gameplay mechanic of throwing Olaf’s head to reach distant items. But apart from that, it does play out like a bog-standard 2D platformer with a small Angry Birds influence behind it too. There was nothing present to truly make it stand out among the many games of its kind that had come before it.

 

Furiious

Furiious

In summation, Frozen: Olaf’s Quest is a boring atrocity of a game, and I can’t figure out for the life of me why it sold better than many other games released in 2014, such as InFamous: Second Son and Child of Light; even with the Frozen brand attached to it. To me, it does indicate that although there have been great games released based on existing licenses in recent years, there are also some dreadful ones made from time to time that undeservedly hog away attention from games that are deserved of more recognition.

Score

17.5/60

2.5/10 (Barely Playable)

Scouse Gamer 88 Duck Tales Header

Duck Tales (Nintendo Entertainment System & Game Boy)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) – Capcom & Disney Interactive Studios

Designer – Yoshinori Takenaka

Producer – Takuro Fujiwara

PEGI – 7

 

Released back in 1989, and has many key personnel from the team behind Mega Man, including the franchise’s creator Keiji Inafune taking charge of character design, Duck Tales went on to become a critical and commercial success on the back of the immensely popular Disney cartoon series. It’s regarded by many as one of the best, and indeed most challenging, Game Boy games ever developed, and I found that whilst it is challenging, it was developed in such a way that didn’t make it inaccessible to me, unlike Mega Man, and I ended up spending a lot of time on this game when I was a kid as a result.

 

Graphics – 8/10

Though the NES version had a massive assortment of colorful environments, despite the console’s limited color palette, what the original Game Boy lacked in color variety and technological advancement developers had to make up for in conceptual design; Duck Tales is a classic example of this. Set in a variety of 5 different locations, including The Himalayas, The Amazon River, and even the Moon, it, in turn, allowed for a wide assortment of enemy designs and different types of scenery to accompany each stage. The soundtrack is also arguably one of the best 8-BIT music arrangements in gaming, which tracks for the Amazon and The Moon standing out to a majority of players.

 

Gameplay – 8/10

Like Mega Man, Duck Tales is also a non-linear 2D platformer, with players being given the facility to complete the game in any order they desire. There are also unlockable areas within each of the five different levels, giving players cause to revisit levels multiple times, adding to the game’s longevity. It was also one of the first video games to include multiple endings since there is a good ending and a bad ending to unlock dependent on how much money the player accumulates.

 

Controls – 10/10

Though the 2D platforming game formula had been well and truly mastered at this time, Duck Tales introduced one in a particular mechanic that made things pretty interesting; the pogo stick jump. Scrooge can use his cane as a pogo stick to attack enemies as well as traverse dangerous platforms in order to reach otherwise impassable or secret areas hidden throughout the game. It would have been particularly difficult for developers to introduce new ideas into a formula that had arguable been definitively perfected by Nintendo with the advent of Super Mario Bros, but Capcom managed to keep it fresh with their plethora of Mega Man game as well as Duck Tales.

 

Lifespan – 6/10

Clocking in at around an hour and a half, it lasts around the average of what a game was expected to last at that time. Less experienced players will spend some more time on it since it can take a while to master the control mechanics to effectively get past each individual challenge the game throws at them, but there had been a select few games on the NES that lasted a great deal longer than this, and so the game wasn’t able to stand out in this respect at least.

 

Storyline – 5.5/10

The game also marginally stands out in terms of story. It simply revolves around the same concept of the cartoon series, in which Scrooge McDuck, along with his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and his friend Launchpad McQuack are on an adventure to increase Scrooge’s fame ahead of his closest rival, Flintheart Glomgold. It’s only slightly more unique than most video game plots at that time since it doesn’t revolve around a white knight having to save the damsel in distress, but although most people didn’t play games for the story at this time, there is indeed a lack of it in this title.

 

Originality – 7/10

As I alluded to, it was extremely difficult to make a winning 2D side-scrolling game in the time when Nintendo had pioneered the industry standards with the original Super Mario Bros, but Capcom managed to accomplish that with Duck Tales by introducing the additional control mechanics, as well as a non-linear progression along with hidden secret areas. It was one of many licensed Disney games that Capcom went on to develop that sticks out in the minds of gamers everywhere, and helped to establish them as powerhouses within the industry.

 

Happii

Happii

In all, Duck Tales is indeed one of the best platformers on the Game Boy, as well as the NES, and a gaming experience that still very much holds up to this day. Though it conformed to many of the story limitations synonymous with gaming at the time, it excelled in the aspect that truly matters; the gameplay.

Score

44.5/60

7/10 (Fair)

Scouse Gamer 88 Aladdin Header

Aladdin (Super Nintendo)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) – Capcom

Designer – Shinji Mikami

Rating – N/A

 

Part of Capcom’s repertoire of licensed games, Aladdin for the Super Nintendo was in fact in direct competition with a counterpart for the Sega Mega Drive developed by Virgin Games, which were both met with critical and commercial acclaim; with the Mega Drive port becoming the third best-selling game for the system behind Sonic 1 and 2. The Super Nintendo game was developed by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame, who went to say that he actually preferred the Mega Drive version, but in my opinion, the Super Nintendo version is much more challenging, and more enjoyable by proxy.

 

Graphics – 10/10

With what technology was available at the time, the developers captured the feel of the film perfectly. The city of Agrabah is shown in every different time frame, ranging from day to sunset to night, and the Cave of Wonders has the same dark and ominous atmosphere, along with some pretty elaborate level designs. There was also even a level added in the form of the Desert Temple, depicting Aladdin attempting to rescue his companion Abu, after he falls of the carpet whilst riding back to Agrabah, which doesn’t happen in the film.

 

Gameplay – 7/10

The game is a traditional 2D side scroller, which was commonplace at the time. Players are required to adapt to the structure of each level in order to get around as best as they can; similar to the Lion King video game, but with a great element of challenge in my opinion. Shinji Mikami stated that the reason why he thought the Mega Drive port to be better was because of the fact that Aladdin wields a sword, but in my opinion, not only does the lack of a weapon make for a heightened sense of challenge but it also better adheres to Aladdin’s character in the film, since he likes to improvise.

 

Controls – 10/10

There are no issues with the game’s controls whatsoever. It’s actually quite interesting to witness how well the developers were able to modify the 2D platforming formula by giving Aladdin so many different acrobatic abilities in order to overcome all the different obstacles in each level. The level whereby this factor is at its most prominent is in the Cave of Wonders, with the player having to make very careful precision jumps over narrow rock and skipping stones.

 

Lifespan – 5/10

The game can take just over an hour to complete, which at this time was just about the average lifespan of a 2D platformer. With the advent of Super Mario World, Nintendo had proven that 2D Side scrollers could be made to last considerably longer, whilst also having much more substance in gameplay, so at this point, Aladdin’s lifespan was made to seem underwhelming in comparison.

 

Storyline – 6/10

Depicting the story of the film, it follows a young street urchin named Aladdin, who comes across a magic lamp, and uses the genie inside to change the course of life for the better. As was customary in video games at the time, there wasn’t a great amount of emphasis on the story, with the developers merely sticking to the broad strokes. They added another subplot to it in order to in turn add a new level, but of course, it’s much better to simply watch the film to get the best feel for the story; the comedic element is much stronger, as it is provided by the late great Robin Williams as the genie.

 

Originality – 5/10

Unfortunately, since this game followed the trends and tropes of what most games did at the time, it’s a clear sign that this game was rushed out to retail to coincide with the film to a certain extent. But regardless, the game isn’t without its charms; it’s a challenging title, in lieu of Capcom tradition, which isn’t too inaccessible and presents players with an experience that stands out among a fair few other side scrollers released at the time.

 

Happii

Happii

Overall, Aladdin was a fairly well-developed licensed game, made in a time before the medium of games based on a pre-existing license would generally become frowned upon within the industry. Batman: Arkham Asylum would go on to break that notion many years later, but Capcom made good use of many Disney licenses, and this game is no exception.

Score

43/60

7/10 (Fair)