Mean Machines

By Capcom
Nintendo (US Version)

Published in Mean Machines #6


When Scrooge McDuck sets out to have an adventure, he certainly knows how to go about it. This game is set all over the world, as Scrooge travels between exotic locations looking for his nephews Huwie, Dewie and Lewie.

DuckTales is a platform game with a total of five levels which can be tackled in any order. However, they ascend in difficulty, so it's usually a good idea to take them in sequence. Finding keys and other objects gives access to parts of other levels, forcing the order of gameplay to a certain extent.

Scrooge runs, jumps and ducks (no pun intended!) his way through the game, and has a very useful walking cane. This provides a stick with which to bat obstacles out of the way and so they collide with baddies. The other use is that of a pogo stick - McDuck bounces around the screen, zapping the nasties through judicious use of the directional pad. Various chests and boulders litter the landscape, and when bounced upon reveal gems and food for bonus points and energy.



DuckTales is a fine arcade adventure and features some exceptional graphics and some very tough and challenging gameplay. I like the idea of being able to tackle any level, which means you don't have to play early levels over and over again.

But even though you can practise, it requires plenty of skill to get all the way through the game in one go. With its many neat touches, and beautifully balanced difficulty level, DuckTales provides laughs and addiction in equal doses. You'd be "quackers" to miss it (har har).


DuckTales contains some of the most exciting graphics I've seen on the Nintendo. The main sprite has some hilarious movements and reactions, especially when he's caught in the snow of the fourth level!


The action is pitched just about right, and the three difficulty levels add a great deal of playability to the game. My only gripe is that when Scrooge dies, you are sent right back to the beginning of the level - no matter how close to the end you are.

Still, this is only a minor point, and doesn't distract from the overall excellence of the game. The control can be a little on the awkward side, especially when trying to get Scrooge to bounce. However, I recommend this game highly - it's well worth purchasing.

World Party

DuckTales is set over five locations, each with its own backgrounds, scenery and monsters. Here's a list of the places and their idiosyncrasies:


1. Amazon This world is populated with gorillas (Gorillas? In the Amazon?), snakes, and giant spiders. Vines lead up and down, giving access to other areas and bonus levels.

2. Transylvania The home of Count Dracula. Expect to meet skeletons and ghouls as McDuck travels through the rooms and passageways of the castle. Magic Mirrors provide teleporters to different areas.

3. African Mines Surprisingly set underground, this level pits our aquatic hero against snails and strange slime creatures. Luckily, food is on hand to replenish energy.


4. Himalayas A snowy wasteland populated by snow goats, falling icicles, and slippery slopes. Yet again spiders attack the wandering, waddling millionaire.

5. The Moon The final and most difficult level of the game. Aliens bar the way, and it's up to Scrooge to find his way onto the spacecraft to complete the game.

Goodie Grab Bag

Items galore litter the levels of DuckTales. Gems, both large and small, either fall from the sky or are found in chests. Food, often in the shape of cakes, restores energy to the abused amphibian.


Collecting goodies is a good way to gain extra points, but care must be taken - creatures often regenerate every time McDuck re-enters the screen, meaning that danger and death can rear their ugly heads.


Presentation 82%
The intro screens are a little on the flat side, but allow the player to get straight into the action.

Graphics 93%
The wonderful main sprite more than makes up for the slight repetitiveness of the underground passages.


Sound 88%
Again, the quality of the sound effects and music is very high.

Playability 90%
Despite slight niggles about the controllability of McDuck, the action is well paced and exciting.

Lastability 85%
Three difficulty levels and five large levels make this game one that you'll come back to again and again.

Overall 90%
A great game with a true sense of humour, DuckTales is a worthy buy for Nintendo owners.