Many of us were raised on the Disney cartoons of the 80s and early 90s. We’d while away the hours watching the likes of Donald Duck, Darkwing Duck and Talespin. The game adaptations of these cartoons on the NES were surprisingly well put together titles, sporting clever mechanics, tight controls and challenging adventures. Now you can relive your digital adventures with these classic Disney games, or finally get to try them if you missed out. And thanks to excellent emulation with added features, they’re more accessible and enjoyable than ever.
The Disney Afternoon Collection is a selection of nostalgic drenched NES titles from Capcom, including two Ducktales games, two Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers games, Darkwing Duck and Talespin. The six games represent the golden age of 8bit platformers, with smart level design, simple objectives, yet challenging enemy placement and enemy quantity.
The Ducktales title’s standout feature is their non-linear level design, allowing you to explore multiple paths across densely populated levels with a pleasantly surprising amount of verticality. Meanwhile, the Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers title’s challenge you to conquer a level without an attack, instead you must pick up items to throw at enemies or dodge them altogether, making for a unique platforming experience. Darkwing Duck feels far more traditional, with platforming and shooting making the title feel like a Disney branded Mega Man title and offering a refreshing change of pace as well as combat abilities. Finally, Talespin’s side-scrolling shooting from the titular plane offers another nice departure from its bundled brethren, although this is easily the least enjoyable title from the collection, with the slow movement and combat paired with peculiar level design failing to fit with the mechanics. Overall, it’s a brilliantly diverse set of titles that offers unique challenges to test even the most veteran platforming connoisseurs.
However, to help combat the striking difficulty is the rewind function. This allows you to simply rewind time, making an otherwise fatal mistake a mere possible future in your time travelling escapades. It’s a neat feature that we’re seeing more and more with HD remasters of older titles, and it allows these classics to maintain their archaic lives systems while offering a more contemporary checkpoint-esque solution. There is also a save function, but its use is limited per level. In addition, there are visual options to help re-create the look of these titles from their NES days or sharpen them up for modern displays, as well as a Boss Rush and Time Attack mode for those looking for an even stiffer set of challenges. Meanwhile, digital version of each title’s manuals as well as some history and art work, makes this collection more than just a solution for playing these classics on modern hardware but also turns it into a museum piece for collectors.
Being able to play these classics, these points of inspiration for so many titles going forwards, is a delightful treat. They don’t entirely hold up to the nostalgic memory for those who played them back in their original form, but the added extras and the wonderful chip tune tracks are sure to put a smile on your face. Meanwhile, for those less versed in these titles, this is an excellent way to see what all the fuss was about. Indeed, there’s some fun to be had here and the history behind the titles is interesting, but a stiff challenge and some archaic design isn’t going to impress everyone.
Thanks to Xbox and Capcom for supporting TiX