Lost in Time: DuckTales 2

When I started writing this series, DuckTales for NES was on my list of titles to cover. And technically, I guess I still could. DuckTales may have been transformed into the brilliant DuckTales Remastered, but at the end of the day, the original version still isn’t available anywhere outside of the original gray cartridge thanks to it still floating around in rights limbo. But instead, today I’m going to talk about a different game. One that wasn’t blessed with a glorious HD remaster. One that, in fact, a lot of folks didn’t even know existed. Today I’m talking abotu DuckTales 2. 

Originally released in 1993, DuckTales 2 for NES should have had a lot going for it. The industry at large was focused pretty squarely on the 16-bit consoles, but with an absolutely gargantuan install base on the NES and Nintendo proving earlier that year that there was still life in the aging hardware with Kirby’s Adventure, making a sequel with a big name tie in was a sound strategy on paper. So Capcom went ahead and released DuckTales 2 and then… nothing. It just didn’t take off. 

DuckTales 2 followed the Mega Man sequel formula. It reused several art assets and the basic game engine, but changed things up enough to call it a new game. Scrooge looked exactly the same as he did in his first outing, but now he could use his cane to hang from things as well as use it as a hook to pull objects. It once again puts you and the rest of the DuckTales cast in a globetrotting adventure to collect some crazy treasures, and has that classic Capcom level of challenge. It looks great with some very colorful backdrops and clever stage design, and the music, while nowhere near the level of Hiroshige Tonomura’s classic work in the original, was perfectly adequate. So what went wrong?

Well, the show DuckTales had been off the air for about 2 years by the time this game was released. It was still around in reruns, but that brand was definitely past its prime. Like I said earlier, it was going up against the 16-bit titles of the day, and regardless of its install base, the NES simply wasn’t the powerhouse it once was. But I’d have to say that the biggest reason for its relatively unknown status is that it wasn’t all that great. There’s something soulless about this one. What I said about the soundtrack applies to the game as a whole. It’s perfectly adequate, but it’s not really anything special, and at that time, if you weren’t doing anything special, there was no way to be a success on NES, especially when SNES and Genesis were in town. 

That said, it’s still a game that’s worth playing, if you can manage to get your paws on one. Loose copies of the game go for close to $200, and heaven forbid you want a CIB copy. Thanks to its relatively low sales numbers, there weren’t that many copies of this game produced, and since it’s a hard-to-find sequel to a beloved NES classic, the insane collectors market has inflated its price accordingly. Still, if you’re crazy enough to take the plunge, and you’re a tremendous DuckTales fanatic like me, it’s certainly a game worth playing. 

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