Darkwing Duck (1)

Genre: Action
Year: 1992
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom
Platforms: NES
Feeling Like: The Terror that Flaps in the Night

I can very clearly chart my life through video game consoles. The Super Nintendo meant I was still in grade school, trying to figure out who I was. The N64 meant that I could drive, mostly over to friend’s houses to play Goldeneye. The arrival of the Gamecube and PS2 indicated I would soon be off to university and everything beyond that was being an adult.

The Nintendo Entertainment System entailed my baby steps into video games. Eventually, I convinced my parents that it would be a really good idea to re-locate it to my room, but prior to that, we had it in our sunroom on Oliver St. You know what belongs in a sunroom? NOTHING. It’s a glass inferno that attracts a million insects, ruins furniture and causes concerning levels of sweating. Absolutely not the place for a television and a NES.

So of course, that’s where we had it.

Darkwing Duck (5)
Would you like to have Nintendo in the sunroom? B! B!

I look back on the location with mild ire, but I also have to acknowledge that it honed my skills; I had to become adept at the game itself, but with the added handicap of being overly warm AND the glare from the magnified sun on the CRT’s 13 inch screen. This forced me to get up REALLY close to the screen and consider each move with great caution. Regardless, I was playing video games and didn’t have to share with my sisters, so it couldn’t have been all bad.

Much like DuckTales or Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers this was another Capcom produced, licensed product that played suspiciously like Mega Man and was based on a Disney television show. I’ll say this – they know what they’re doing.

This would be one of the last NES games that Capcom produced, arriving in mid-1992, when the vastly superior Super Nintendo was already out. Gutsy, I’ll give them that. Take one look at Super Mario World and you’re going to try and convince your target demographic to play an inferior game, on an inferior system, when the hot trend at the time was better graphics?

Darkwing Duck (2)
There’s no WAY a game can look better than this! …Kids, come back!

Well, if you’re going to be the underdog, you better have an Ace up your sleeve and it’s obvious here what that was; the Darkwing Duck television show kicked monumental amounts of ass.

You have Jim Cummings, a god among voice talent. You have a neo-noir backdrop of St. Canard, colorful villains, an endearing supporting cast. To boot, a motivation from the protagonist rarely seen; Drake Mallard didn’t want to help the innocent or do what was right, he wanted fame and fortune.

Let’s not forget the signature entrance lines. Forget “Avengers, assemble!” or “My spidey-sense is tingling!” Instead we have…

“I am the grade curve that gives you an F!”
“I am the ingrown toenail on the foot of crime!”
“I am the rhinestones on the jumpsuit of justice!”

Darkwing Duck was SO concerned with a grand entrance and being popularly notorious that he focused more on his catchphrases than training, or studying his enemy.

Darkwing Duck (4)
To be fair, Quackerjack isn’t exactly Mephistopheles…

The TV Show was a hit, and Capcom knew it. Slap on a Darkwing skin over a Mega Man engine (complete with the traditional, dramatic delay of switching screens when you fall down a pit) and you’ve got yourself a worthy addition to the NES library. 

The platforming was enjoying, the controls were easy to learn, the bosses are a cinch and all the villains are easily recognizable. What’s not to like?

Darkwing Duck (3)
It wouldn’t be a Capcom game without instant-death jumping sections.

Once again, I can’t help but lament the fact that I have this game so high up…although, is it high up? I still have 366 games to go. Why the hell did I pick a number like the 500? If I’d called this blog the 133, I’d be done by now. I suppose the early days of trying to conquer a rental in 25 minutes or so had more of an influence on me than I thought. Without the internet guiding me, or a magazine recommending to me, all I had was recognition of a beloved cartoon character to draw my interest. Maybe that’s why it’s so high up; I was proud of myself to beat a game all on my own.

Or maybe…maybe my memories for Darkwing Duck are heightened because THIS is the source of my hatred for the sun. After all, Darkwing is the terror that flaps in the night, NOT the one that basks in the sun.

Previous 368 Knights of the Round                                           Next 366 Sonic the Hedgehog