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Deadly Duck Review

Developer: Sirius Software Publisher: Fox Video Games
Release Date: 1982 Also On:

One of the more unusual companies that released games for the Atari 2600 was Fox. They did a number of strange titles, some based on television shows, and then a few that were based on standard genre releases with new twists. Deadly Duck is one of these games, basically running like Space Invaders but with a duck, insects, and crabs. At first I rather liked it, but in time I saw it was pretty shallow and probably won’t have a lasting effect on most gamers.

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Graphically, I’d say they did a good job with Deadly Duck. Your duck is well-detailed and the crabs are easy to make out. The colors have this cool, cutesy scheme going on that fits the strange concept of the game. It almost looks like you’re looking at a carnival duck pond from hell. Not sure how much better to describe it, but that works. Overall, no real problems with the graphics. Nothing stellar, however.

The sound in Deadly Duck manages to keep the action flowing pretty well. My big problem is that there aren’t very many effects, nor is there any real music to speak of. Since Deadly Duck is similar to Space Invaders, it serves to mention that. The thing that made the simplicity of Space Invaders awesome is that the effects played into the pace of the game. In Deadly Duck, they’re mainly extra fluff. Basically, just sound effects instead of nothing. If it had nothing it would still look the same and really wouldn’t lose it’s atmosphere. They should have created a few more or added a little music somewhere. The wave-like incidental sound just doesn’t cut it.

Deadly Duck, as you already know, is similar to Space Invaders. You control a duck at the bottom of the screen that floats in a small pond. You can move and shoot. When you shoot, your duck moves its head up and fires towards the top of the screen where there are moving rows of crabs. The crabs spit at you, and in later stages a barrier of bugs is between you and the first row, blocking your shots and rebounding if you hit it. If you don’t shoot at the crab shots, they hit the water and turn into temporary barriers that stop your movement. Take out all the crabs (the bugs are invincible), and you move on to the next stage where the challenge gets a little more intense. Check it out here:

Deadly Duck’s main problem is the lack of variety. It never really gets much harder as you progress. Though the crabs move faster and the bug shield gets longer and faster, it doesn’t add much depth to the game. You can basically stay all the way to one side and shoot; eventually the crabs will be finished off. The only real challenge comes from the barriers the crabs form and their erratic patterns, which are more annoying than they are challenging. Deadly Duck could have used some fine-tuning in the gameplay department, but it is kind of a fun for a short while.

As for creativity, I’d say Deadly Duck has some creative features to it, at least in concept. I mean, looking at the art with flying crabs and a duck with a shotgun coming out of its mouth, you expect something pretty weird. I kind of like these odd little games from Fox that went against the grain in terms of general ideas, but really, when it comes down to it, Deadly Duck is basically a clone of Space Invaders. The gameplay seems different until you realize it’s pretty much the same, minus the enemies moving down towards you. Without that tension, it starts to wear pretty thin.

Deadly Duck can be played in short bursts or as long as you can survive. However, unlike others by Fox, like Beany Bopper, Deadly Duck doesn’t really give you any incentive to want to keep playing. Reaching point milestones only speeds up the game and increases the difficulty a tad, nothing special happens, so you’re basically lulled into a stupor if you play it for more than fifteen minutes once you max out the difficulty. I’ve come back to it a number of times, but I just can’t say it’s a real favorite. It seems pretty cool at first, but in a few minutes the erratic crab movements really get on your nerves. Nothing was more irritating than that one remaining crab that I couldn’t hit for a good ten minutes because it kept moving all over the place. Just die already, seriously, I’m not the least bit excited.

Deadly Duck is one of Fox’s lesser games. On the surface it seems kind of cool and an interesting twist on Space Invaders, and it does have this charm to it that might make you come back to it from time to time like I do. Still, though, it doesn’t have any real lasting challenge for experienced players and you can master it in a single sitting. It’s something to vedge out over now and then, but it’s not exactly a tournament level game or something to tell your friends about.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 5.5
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5.5
Final: 5.9
Written by Stan Review Guide