Saturday, August 7, 2010

Donald Duck: Quack Attack (PSX) Review

AKA Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers [NA]
2000 Disney Interactive/Ubisoft

I am a big fan of Disney's creations. Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, and so much more, including Donald Duck. I think he may have been one of my favorite cartoon characters when I was little. I love his crazy mannerisms and the way that he has temper tantrums. People say that video games based on licensed characters are not good, and for a long time I could not understand what they meant by that, considering that the majority of licensed titles I played were decent. Donald Duck: Quack Attack is a multiplatform title, meaning it's been released for multiple consoles. The only versions I played of this game were the original PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 versions, but the most fondness I have is for the original PlayStation version.

One day, while in Gyro Gearloose's house, a live news report from Daisy Duck was being watched on TV from her boyfriend Donald Duck, Gander Gladstone, Donald's longtime rival, and Gyro, the inventor. Daisy is inside the temple, and while reporting, she discovers the evil sorcerer Merlock; yes, as in the main antagonist as seen in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. While Daisy is telling her story, she gets kidnapped by the necromancer and blocks out the footage from the camera. Donald and Gander get upset over this, and want to save her, but their rivalry gets the best of them. Gyro tells them that he made a machine that may help in getting Daisy back, but Gander, who usually is a "lucky" character, foolishly gets in the machine in hoping to do so before Donald does, and all that causes is for him to be lost somewhere and not be seen again until the end of the game. So now, Daisy's fate rests on Donald Duck's shoulders. However, Donald Duck has to find a piece that is missing in Gyro's machine. He will go through four worlds: the woods, the streets of Duckburg, a haunted house, and the temple. At the end of each world will be bosses that await your arrival: including the Beagle Boys and Magica De Spell. Also along the way, Donald will have to reverse the spell Merlock has casted on his nephews' (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) toys. This game was released as an homage to Carl Banks (1901-2000), who died the same year this game was released. He created Duckburg and many of the characters that appear in this game, who've appeared in comic books and animated series. The dialogue is also amusing at times, and there are some funny scenes. Rest in peace, Carl.

This game plays well. You take control of Donald Duck, the main protagonist of the game, and you can jump, double jump, and attack enemies in this 3D platformer. That's it, really. The jumps are easy to control, but sometimes you'll have to time your double jump at the right time to get up to a ledge or to get far. By pressing the attack button multiple times you can send out multiple fists while on the ground, and while in the air you can kick. You can collect as many stars if possible, and if you get a hundred you'll earn a life. In each of the four worlds, there are four stages (the first two being vertical, the last two being sidescroller), one unlockable stage, and one boss stage. The stages are decently designed, and there are times when you'll have to jump over moving platforms. If you're about to fall down near a platform, there is a chance that you can save yourself if you lightly step on the ledge and do a jump. You can take up to two hits before you die, and if you do die, you'll have to restart from the last checkpoint. There is always a refreshment in case you're in your anger phase (1 HP); and if you get the refreshment while in you're in full health, you'll temporarily be invincible ramming through enemies. Online, I've seen this game's gameplay being compared to that of Crash Bandicoot's, and having played both games, I can see why that is. If you see a floating book, that means that there's a toy nearby, and once you make contact with the book, you only have a set amount of seconds to get the toy before it becomes translucent; but, should you fail, you can always try again. In each stage there are three toys, and they are easily collectible. If you get all the toys from all four stages in a world, then one of the nephews will step out of the warp and grant you access to the unlockable stage. In these unlockable stages, you have to escape from the monster that's chasing you from behind. The bosses are pattern-based, and their attacks are easy to predict; and after you defeat the boss, you'll find a piece of Gyro's machine. But, in order to access the boss, you must retrieve the orb from all four stages of the world. The camera angle is always fixed and cannot be changed.

The soundtrack is quite decent. This game has lovely sounds, and they all correspond to the world that they're playing in. The woods theme is appropriately atmospheric, and the haunted house theme is appropriately creepy. The boss theme is always the same, but they're fun numbers. The voice samples are good, and they're all the familiar voices you know and love from the cartoons. I've always liked Donald Duck's voice, even though some people may not easily understand what he's saying. His quacking sound for whenever he gets hit is funny. This game was built on an optimized Rayman 2: The Great Escape engine, which is why the sound effects seem like they were lifted straight from the aforementioned title, including the sound on the title screen. And they are really good sound effects. What I didn't like was the sound of Donald yelling whenever he falls on the lava in the temple world.

The graphics are really nice, even though they're slightly showing their age. They're quite beautiful, and the choice of colors is sweet. The foliage in the woods and the waterfalls are sweet, and the haunted house is quite dark. The Duckburg stages are nicely detailed and gave a sense of being in the streets. The temple stages are nice, and the flowing lava is a nice touch. Donald Duck is smoothly animated, and the enemies and boss rosters are cool. I like how, if you lose a few lives, he'll get flustered and throw his hat on the ground. Several of the enemies you will have to contend with are mooses, squirrels, stray dogs, construction workers, scarabs, and the most unthinkable of enemies: ghostly frail women on their rocking chairs trying to swing their sword at you. The bosses are nicely animated and detailed, especially Merlock. The introductory and ending scenes are nicely done 3D-rendered FMVs (full-motion videos).

This game's really low point is the challenge. It's very easy to complete. The stages are short and the enemies are easy to evade or attack, while the bosses have easily recognizable patterns. The toys can easily be findable; and if you beat the stages for the first time, you can try them again to see if you can beat the timer (which is part of the percentage). In most cases, it's easy to outtime the timer in one or two lives. If a life is lost during this moment, the timer will still move. Another thing about Donald Duck: Quack Attack is that it is incredibly short! It takes a few hours to finish this game in total, because the stages aren't very long. Your progress in this game has to be recorded by Memory Card.

Even if this game is game is very short and easy, I still found it fun. The gameplay is well-structured and the game's aesthetically nice. Visuals are very pleasing to the eyes, and the music is really nice. The stage designs are decent and the game has got fun boss fights. I just wish that this game had a tiny bit of challenge and a tiny bit more longevity; because four worlds is not enough, especially considering that the stages are awfully short. I liked trying to get everything on the stages, including recuperating the toys from Merlock's spell and beating the timer. Doing all this will net you an uncanny 112% total; completing each world gives you 28% status, completing a stage (with all three lights lighting up) gives you 6% status, and beating an unlockable and boss stage both give you 2%. The thing I found cool was that if you beat the unlockable stage, you would earn a different outfit. It may not seem like much, but I liked the fact that I could change outfits (which must be unlocked) during the game; examples being a sleeping outfit and an archaeologist outfit. The game is not a great example of the 3D platformer genre, but it's a good title nonetheless. If you're a fan of Donald Duck, or Disney, you might enjoy this game. Just don't expect it to be very challenging.


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