QuackShot starring Donald Duck (Sega, 1991)
“Ugh, here he is on that Disney game BULLSHIT again.” Well yeah, but listen
“Ugh, here he is on that Disney game BULLSHIT again.”
Well yeah, but listen… you don’t understand. Don’t worry, you will.
I have covered some Disney console titles before, both in video and article formats. Some of them are simply terrible; a few among them are cheery or entertaining, presenting a nice light-hearted break from the norm. One of them – the one I’m prepared to talk about today – is a bona fide semi-epic adventure. Hell, it’s more than that. It’s… well, let’s just get into it.
Released in all three regions (North America, Europe, and Japan) in December of ’91, QuackShot went by the title I Love Donald Duck: Georgia Ou no Hihou in Japanese. Developed and published by Sega exclusively for their own Genesis/Mega Drive console, the game was a continuation of the successful “Illusion series” of licensed Disney games by Sega. Unlike the other entries in that series, QuackShot has a decidedly “action-adventure” flavored theme and style. It’s also pretty damn clever for a 1991 Genesis-era platformer, and a ton of fun to play.
The plot finds Donald on the hunt for a legendary treasure, hinted at by a map that he finds while poking through Uncle Scrooge’s books. Our plucky duck is hounded by Disney’s classic core antagonistic asshole, Petey the god damned good for nothing jerk dog. The race for the loot takes Donald all over the world, from Duckburg to Transylvania to such exotic locales as the South Pole and a Viking ship somewhere in Northern Europe.
The coolest thing about QuackShot (at least to me, when I played it) is how non-linear it is for a game of its time. The places you explore with Donald usually consist of an above-ground area and an additional “dungeon” region. The catch is, sometimes you have to backtrack a little or get halfway only to find you need something elsewhere. Donald plants little flags when these kinds of things happen, serving as a checkpoint where he can call in a ride from Huey, Duey and Louie. Why the operation of a prop plane is entrusted to three children is beyond me, but we’ll hold onto that suspension of disbelief inherent to the fantastic and insane world of Disney.
Getting around and defending yourself are the two major challenges anywhere in QuackShot; In an interesting deviation from Disney’s usual kid-minded aversion to such things, Donald carries some kind of a gun. However, instead of blowing Petey’s brains out (and ruining THE MAGIC OF DISNEY), Donald fires plungers, popcorn, and bubbles out of his weapon. Once you get the red plungers, these stick to walls and can be used as springboards as well as stunning enemies. Popcorn effectively “kills” most things you shoot with it, fanning out not unlike Contra’s Spread gun. The bubbles – which require a bit of a mini-quest to obtain at first – have the useful function of blasting through certain static obstacles but also harm most enemies.
The coolest way Donald can tear ass is by picking up enough chili peppers to turn all the faces in his “temper” meter angry.
Once this happens, he spends several seconds in what I like to call “ruthless bellowing invincible berserk murder mode.” He plunges forward without stopping, flailing his fists and bitching up a storm. You can still make him jump, thankfully, so his wrath can be visited on anyone in his reach until the anger wears off.
The primary foe Donald encounters time and time again while trotting the globe? Petey and his gang. These miserable pieces of shit lie in wait, toting their own mock firearms, waiting to cut the journey short so they can claim the loot for themselves. The fauna (and sometimes flora) of most locales are actively hostile, and each region usually has a “boss” enemy waiting to give you a hard time. Dracula (or at least his duck analog; Castlevania fans calm down) even makes an appearance!
The graphics are on par with other higher-caliber Genesis games, with the lush background art standing out in particular. The soundtrack is nothing short of fucking incredible, and I won’t keep talking, just have a listen. The real standouts: Duckburg and Transylvania.
Oh, man. I’m gonna have to give QuackShot a 9 out of 10. I had overlooked it for the most part when I was a kid, but it quickly became one of my favorite titles for the Genesis when I revisited it in this capacity. I highly recommend it if you’re down for a rollicking adventure with charm to spare.