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A great afternoon delight

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    The Disney Afternoon Collection

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    A great afternoon delight

    For those who don’t know about The Disney Afternoon, it began as a syndicated block in the fall of 1990, lasting until the end of the decade. This consisted of their own original shows. A few of them wound up with video games headed by Capcom for the NES. Last year, a compilation was brought forth. There is no remix or remasters. It’s the same games as they were from 1989 through 94, only with a few additional features that give them more replayability.

    The stories for these six games are about as simple as you can get. You will be on treasure hunts. The world will be need saving from criminals and supervillians. Delivering packages should be a breeze as long as you can avoid the competitors trying to kill you. They follow what the shows did and stuck to their source material very well. Capcom used the licenses and delivered on authenticity.

    Graphics: Disney Afternoon has no changes to what these games looked like back then. They are exactly what they were graphically on the NES. You can tell as they got further into that system’s life how much they improved. The same backgrounds, animations and character modelings will be just as you remembered them. You can also play them with borders or stretching out the screen. All in all, they hold up well compared to most games of that era.

    Audio: Like the graphics, Disney Afternoon did not change anything in the audio. The music is still in its 8-bit glory. You can listen to them in a music menu at any time. Sound effects are just as you will remember them. The only thing new is the remixes in the menus, and they have a distinct 90s style to it. Simply put, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Gameplay: The Disney Afternoon Collection is a compilation of games that Capcom made in house for the NES. Most of these are action adventure games, but all consist of going through levels and defeating bosses. There are options to alter the controls to your liking and a language section. Other than the music to listen to, there is also a gallery that allows a look at various things that the company did 25 plus years ago. It’s not much, but it is a nice bonus.

    DuckTales doesn’t need any introduction. It is still beloved as it was when it came out in the fall of 1989. As Scrooge McDuck, you are searching in five levels for various treasures throughout the world. He can jump and use his cane to pogo jump and use it like a golf club to get past certain barriers and enemies. Lots of diamonds are scattered in each level, as are ice cream, cakes, and special treasures that add up in tons of money collected. Defeat a boss, and the treasure they have is yours. It is well designed, has a few difficulty modes, and doesn’t go overboard with the gameplay mechanics. There is some slowdown, but not anything too major. Add in a decent difficulty, and it’s one of the best games of its generation. You can’t go wrong with the original.

    Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers definitely adheres to one basic concept. It may not be as complex as DuckTales, but it still wowed people in the summer of 1990. As the chipmunk detectives, you go through ten levels, trying to stop Fat Cat and save their team member Gadget. You throw boxes at enemies that get in your way, but you have the choice to fight or avoid them. There are a few items to collect that grant you extra lives. The design really fits in the idea of how small Chip and Dale are and offer some nice areas that take advantage of where you can place the two. They stuck to the throwing concept, which is needed to get past the bosses and advance to the next area. It is one of the few games where you don’t need to do every level. My complaints are a few cheap areas and the hitbox on the chipmunks being larger than you think. Not as good as DuckTales, but still a strong title that has two player co-op to add to the mix.

    TaleSpin is unique amongst Disney games and shooters. While it’s features may have been cool in late 1991, it is the weakest of the compilation. Riding in Baloo the Bear’s plane, he must deliver packages in eight levels while avoiding the competition at Don Karnage. You can shoot or avoid various enemies, ranging from planes to level specific ones. Along the way are fruit, money bags, and packages, many of which are scattered throughout the levels. Collect all money bags and packages, and you earn more money. After defeating a boss, you have a chance to improve Baloo’s plane. One big complaint is how much it costs for the upgrades. The unique ideas include flying towards the left side of the screen and shooting diagonally. For the former, there was no issues, but the latter feels tacked on, making feel very hard to defeat certain bosses. Like Rescue Rangers, it has a few cheap areas, but way worse. I’ve seen better level design, but it’s not abysmal. Overall, not the worst title out there, but not great either.

    If there was an alternative to Mega Man, Darkwing Duck would fit the bill in the summer of 1992. As the title character, you go through seven levels, trying to rid of St. Canard of the supervillians that run rampant. Getting dangerous means using some of his gases and deflecting things with his cape, though they are optional. It has a healthy mix of shooting and platforming, each side being given a lot of care. The level design is a bit smarter than most other games. They knew when to not go overboard, and once you knew what was in each level, you knew what to anticipate. The difficulty isn’t as bad as TaleSpin, but has some cheap spots in some of the levels. With that being said, it can hold its own. It is on par with Rescue Rangers.

    DuckTales 2 is a rinse and repeat game. The same concepts from the original are here in this mid 1993 release. Scrooge McDuck is back on a treasure hunt, but on a search for the lost treasure of McDuck. You will still be jumping and using the cane through five levels, each ending with a boss fight. There are still lots of treasures and desserts to help the lad. The search in this game also is to find the pieces of a map to find that lost treasure. Upgrades can be used on the cane, which will be needed in a few specific areas. It can hold its own in the way the levels are designed. A store gives you chance to stock up on stuff, but like TaleSpin, a bit too expensive with one item being an exception. This game might be hard at first, but you will get the hang of it. Searching every inch never was that much fun. It’s not topping the original, but a strong sequel that holds onto the same mechanics and still does a good job.

    Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 is rinse and repeat as well. Once again at the control of the detectives, they must stop Fat Cat from terrorizing the world and get back the Urn of the Pharoah. Through the eight levels of this early 1994 game, you’re doing the same thing as the original. You go from area to area, throwing boxes in search of items and defeating enemies. This feels more simplistic. It almost comes off as being too easy. Even the boss fights, though unique, are phoned in. It plays fine, but it is a surprise considering the difficulty of these other games in the compilation. There is slowdown, but it’s only in a few sections. It’s better than TaleSpin, but not as good as the others.

    The compilation allows saving and a rewind feature. Regarding the latter, it is for those moments where something might be difficult, but you can try many times as long as you keep using it. It’s not the only feature. Two other options are given or each game. Outside of playing the base game, there is a time attack and boss rush mode. Time Attack is seeing how long you can go through the entire game. Boss Rush is just playing each boss fight for the respective game. Both options feature no rewind ability or saving. It’s just like playing an NES back then. There isn’t much to complain other than what has been said for each game. The Gallery could have had more images, but it’s better than nothing. Otherwise, this is a very nice compilation that goes beyond being a port.

    Replay Value: You are going to get about five to ten hours from playing these features. There is an incentive to doing better in time attack and boss rush.

    Recommendation: Get The Disney Afternoon Collection while you still can. Unfortunately, it is digitial only, but you’re better off getting it considering the costs of a few of the actual cartridges. Capcom gave people a reason to love licensed games and succeeded back then. These Disney IP’s were given a lot of care and the additional features here give it a leg up in today’s world of compilations.

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