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Donald Duck: Goin’ Quackers Review

Developer: Ubi Soft Publisher: Ubi Soft
Release Date: March 26, 2002 Also On: DC, GCN, N64, PS, and PS2

Most of you are probably reading this and saying, “Why would the GCN reviewer lower himself to reviewing this?” The answer is threefold:

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1. I have this game, have beaten it, and desire to increase the quantity and diversity of reviews on the GCN page in hopes of more companies being willing to send GCN games to us (a selfish motive, I know).

2. I am a Donald Duck fan and want people to know that this game exists and is actually pretty good.

3. I am bored at this point in time and have nothing better to do.

Well, I’m just kidding about number three. Anyway, the point is that this game proves to be one of the exceptions to the old adage: LICENSED GAMES ARE CRAP!

Let’s start with graphics. The graphics in this game are not Wind Waker quality, but they portray what they are supposed to portray (a Donald Duck cartoon) very well. They are very Disney-like and look very close to what they should look like for the intention of the game, nothing to complain about here.

Same story with the sound; not the best in the world, but very appropriate to the intention of the game. The sound effects do what they need to, and some of the music is catchy. Even what music isn’t catchy is tolerable.

The story is as simple as most stories for platformers are. Daisy Duck sneaks into Merlock’s temple to get the scoop on some secret weapon Merlock is working on. She gets caught by Merlock and becomes imprisoned, so Donald has to go save her. To be able to teleport to Merlock’s temple, however, he has to put weather vanes on top of the three highest points in the world. Not much of a story, but it explains why Donald is running around nonetheless.

So far as gameplay goes, you are basically looking at a mostly 3D (some levels are 2D Mario) game. Donald kills most enemies by jumping on them, although sometimes he actually has to punch or kick them instead. All of the levels are completely linear, making getting lost absolutely impossible. There are secrets and power-ups to find, but they aren’t difficult to uncover at all.

The levels are fun, but easy for anybody accustomed to platformers. Donald can double-jump when he needs to, and when he bounces off an enemy, he gets his second jump back even if he’s already used it. A nice touch to this game are the special moves that can be done after bouncing off three enemies without touching the ground (easier than it sounds). To earn these special moves, which give temporary invincibility, you have to collect sets of gears in levels. Five gears in less than a second give you a letter, and if you spell out a word you get a special move for the level. This is not challenging at all.

The bosses aren’t any harder either. I mean seriously, three hits for the boss against two for you? Most platformers aren’t that simple and the boss patterns are so repetitive and easy, it’s pathetic, but this game is meant for little kids and thus the lack of challenge is understandable.

There is a time mode in each level that you have already beaten, and a special moves mode which challenges you to do two particular special moves in a level, which can be unlocked by earning all the special moves for a world. Both of these require you to complete the entire level in one life, unlike normal where checkpoints are abound.

About the only creative thing is the life bar, since everything is just simplified versions of stuff from other platformers. Donald has two hits per life. When at his peak, he is “happy Donald”. When he gets hit, he gets really angry and kills everything he runs into for a couple seconds, and then he reverts to “angry Donald”. Of course, the angry state can be reversed through a power-up that is very abundant in the levels.

All told, this game can serve purpose for Donald Duck fans, newcomers to gaming to get them into the concepts without it being too hard, and people looking for a quick relaxation break from harder stuff. The game is really short, though, so I’d say rent it if you have the option.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 3
Final: 5.7
Written by Martin Review Guide