With the current resurgence of 90s nostalgia, it’s no surprise that Disney and Capcom decided to cash in by releasing the Disney Afternoon Collection. Containing Ducktales, Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Talespin, Darkwing Duck, Ducktales 2 and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, the collection is a package that brings these classics into the modern digital age. Each title is preserved in its original pixelated glory, giving gamers an alternative to titles like 2013's DuckTales: Remastered. The graphics do include two filter options (TV and Monitor) for those who really want the game to look like they’re playing on an old TV circa 1991. The game also lets you choose to play in full screen, widescreen or windowed mode, and this can be changed at any time.
The Disney Afternoon Collection includes several galleries featuring original box art from their first physical release, new art from the Capcom archives and development and concept art for the curious and enthusiasts alike. It also includes music galleries for each game that let you listen to each game's memorable soundtrack. After you're done with the main games, you can try the new Time Attack and Boss Rush modes and climb the leaderboards, or go hunting for the added achievements you'd expect from a modern rerelease. For those, like me, who have difficulty with some of the levels, Capcom has included a “rewind” feature. That is, hit a button and you can literally rewind the game to just before you died or made a mistake, giving you the option to do it over again.
Though all are platformers, with the exception of Talespin which is a sidescrolling shooter, the games make a great package together, as none of them are exactly alike. Scrooge’s pogo stick mechanics are exclusive to the Ducktales games, Rescue Rangers are the only games where you can have two players, Talespin has you play the levels as Baloo in his constantly moving plane and Darkwing Duck has his customizable blaster and ammo.
The original DuckTales game, released in 1989 originally, is still a fun romp but shows its age far more than the rest of the games. As much as I love the concept of a spry old duck jumping around and beating up the whippersnappers of the world with his cane, the pogo stick and “whack-a-cane” mechanics are unwieldy at best. They require overly complex button movements to pull off when simply pressing a single button would do. Still, once you get the hang of them, the mechanics are fun to pull off and it gives a unique DuckTales touch to the games. Boss fights are also especially challenging as they require the use of the pogo stick/cane. Ducktales 2, released in 1993, makes some major improvements on its predecessor in terms of gameplay, fixing the overly complex button movements for starters and improving on level design. However, they included things like moving platforms that Uncle Scrooge has to keep pace with to avoid falling into the proverbial bottomless pit of doom. It’s nice to see that they did keep the level select option instead of forcing you to play through linearly, even if that linear order is really the best.
Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers, released in 1990, gives you the option of local co-op playing as Chip and Dale. Don’t feel like sharing? You get to pick which of the brothers you play as. Both have the same abilities, so it’s down to which one is your favorite character. Amusingly, the game attempts to explain randomly dropped helpful items as Gadget flying ahead and leaving things behind to help you. While the co-op is what really sets Rescue Rangers and its sequel apart from the other games in the collection, it also tries different attack mechanics as you can pick up items like apples and hurl them at the bad guys. It’s not a great system for self-defense as the apples are rarely where you need them when you need them, but I can't deny the appeal of throwing things at evil robotic dogs. You also learn to get pretty adept at jumping and dodging as the game progresses, much like a real skittish chipmunk. Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers 2, released in 1994 sees the return of Chip and Dale and the co-op mechanic from the first game, with some handy additions. For example, now you can duck behind boxes and villains will trip over them, as you still don’t possess weaponry. However, the levels are also clearly designed for two players, which makes it a pain to go back and get the collectibles if you’re trying for a really high score. I really enjoyed throwing small chipmunks as visual representations of my co-op partner across the screen with excessive amounts of force.
TaleSpin, first released in 1991 features combat by plane, unlike the other games. You can never stop moving because, well, you’re in a plane, which comes with its own set of challenges. A sidescrolling shooter, Baloo must shoot down enemies in planes and on the ground in order to get past them as it's difficult to dodge most of them. The mechanics aren’t flawless, but they work well and fallen enemies will turn into cargo for Baloo to pick up and deliver. Why all of the airborne animal mafia appears to dissolve into a cluster of cherries and grapes, I will never know. You do have to choose your targets carefully as you do not get to continuously shoot Don Karnage and his lackeys. The game also allows you to fly upside down and backward, which is rather alarming if you discover it by accident. As much as I felt guilty about killing Baloo and ending a level, I also couldn't help laughing at Baloo's facepalming as he has to parachute out of the plane.
Darkwing Duck, released in 1992, sees the defender of St. Canard out on the prowl fighting his usual array of villains. Darkwing’s standard gas gun is used for combat in the levels but can be modified as the player progresses, using Heavy Gas, Thunder Gas and Arrow Gas. In terms of visuals, Darkwing Duck looks the best out of the six, as the dark color palette works well with lower bit games, though there are clear improvements made to the pixel art of Ducktales 2 and Rescue Rangers 2 which were both released after Darkwing. Pixelated Wolfduck in the moonlight still looks hilarious and keeps the dark Disney feel from the TV series perfectly.
Overall, Capcom’s update of the classic games in the Disney Afternoon Collection is extraordinarily well done. With added Boss Rush and Time Attack modes, plus the music and visual galleries, this feels like it has been carefully designed and updated for fans, unlike other repackagings that just feel like cheap money-grabs. The games themselves still hold up well for the most part, and the Rewind button is a boon to any less than stellar gamers out there. So, if you’re feeling nostalgic for the nineties, it’s time to get dangerous!
This flashback collection hits right in the nostalgia, with good reason. The games have stood the test of time and come out victorious, with a few minor hiccups along the way. Capcom includes a great set of extras including Time Attack and Boss mode and music and art galleries for the enthusiast.
- Rewind Button Makes For Easy Redos
- Time Attack and Boss Rush Modes
- Art and Music Galleries
- Unwieldy Controls
- Unrefined Level Design