Let’s us find the Cosmic Jackhammer first, and then go on the Jerk ‘n Whirl
(Note: This article is part of the Disney Afternoon Collection review set, in which all games included in the package, as well as the package itself, get a review of their own.)
The final game in The Disney Afternoon Collection (2017) is Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (1994). This platformer is arguably the best game in this package but was developed and published just before Nintendo discontinued NES games entirely, which regretfully means it was left in relative obscurity for over 20 years.
The adventure starts with Fat Cat breaking out of prison and having his lackey, “Water Rabbit”, place explosives in a nearby restaurant. The bomb, as it then turns out, was only meant to distract the Rescue Rangers, as the real plan was to get the urn of an ancient pharaoh with lots of evil spirits inside. When Chip and Dale finally catch up to the feline mafioso, he unleashes “Grim Ghost”, whom the chipmunks must now defeat. Sadly, the names of all of the bosses are as creative as the two just mentioned and the game’s plot seems to be less connected to the series. Somehow, no one at Capcom could be bothered, which is a shame, given how awesomely close to the source material the Disney Afternoon games started out. The game makes up for this, however, by having some really well made levels and boss encounters.
As third-party developers were very familiar with Nintendo’s classic home console by 1994, they were all able to show just how much the NES could do graphically. The haunted mansion stage in Chip ‘n Dale 2 is especially noteworthy here with its incredible color cycling, where the lamps and the level change colors. Furthermore, the developer team also found an awesome way to hide the limitations of the hardware by having the final stage slowly go dark just before the boss fight against the Fat Cat Robot – an enemy that fills up around a quarter of the screen – begins.
But it’s not just that the second Rescue Rangers game looks great, the other titles in this collection pale in comparison to its pixel art. This is even more highlighted when contrasting details like the pots in Stage B of the first Chip ‘n Dale game to the ones in this sequel. The two protagonists even blink with their eyes when they are idle. However, not all design decisions are great. Overall, the game just oozes with color and mostly great graphic design. The contention here lies with the head-up-display (HUD), or better head-down-display.
The life meter for both characters is shown at the bottom corners of the screen. Even worse, should someone in single player decide to play as Dale, the health bar will be shown at the bottom right corner of the TV, which is a terrible place to put that. Most games have the health at the top left corner, which is where players would expect it to be. By placing it somewhere else, the eyes wander across the screen searching for the health instead of looking at enemies. The hearts even have the same shade as the floor in some areas, which left me a bit flummoxed at some point during my first playthrough. Nevertheless, once players know where Dale’s life meter is to be found, they can go back to making their way to Fat Cat.
The mechanics in this sequel are as solid as ever and immediately feel familiar. The heroes control just like in the first title, but their move set has now been expanded so that the chipmunks can perform charged throws after walking in one direction for a set amount of frame, as well as the ability to hurl crates diagonally across the screen. Since I was playing with an Xbox 360 gamepad, the diagonal throws started out as nuisances, but quickly turned into very welcome additions to the arsenal. They even turn out to be important in the fight against the “Grimacing Gecko”, a boss who controls a crane with a wrecking ball attached to it.
Surprisingly enough, the levels themselvs contain virtually no RNG, which makes them ideal for speedruns and the overall fast-paced nature of boss battles are generally a lot of fun as well during casual play (though the long waiting times between each boss’ attacks is a drag during speedruns). Unfortunately, Rescue Rangers 2 does have a couple of issues when it comes to playing with a friend.
In local co-op, the game slows down occasionally when a lot is going on on-screen at once, like in the fight against the “Flying Feline”. The minecarts in the Western World stage also seem to not have been built for co-op and sem just a wee bit too short for both heroes to fit on to them, which means one of the two players will often fall off the cart. Lastly, as was previously mentioned in the Disney Afternoon reviews, local co-op only works when both players use a gamepad and, at time of writing, it seems impossible to have both players share a keyboard or mix and max a controller/keyboard combo. Some users also noted that their gamepads don’t work with The Disney Afternoon Collection at all, which can be an issue for those wanting to play with their significant other or friends and family.
Chip ‘n Dale 2: Rescue Rangers is a great platformer and a perfect addition to this collection and really shows what the NES could do. The game is currently available as part of The Disney Afternoon Collection together with another five other titles for the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, and Steam. The bundle itself costs U.S. $ 19.99 or your local counterpart.
Be wary before ye read
Thank you for reading my article. If you like, please do feel free to leave a comment. There’s no need to register or login. Also, all screenshots shown here were taken by me during my playthrough. You can also follow my reviews on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/8839524-Gaos-Corner/ Have a nice day.
Links to the other Disney Afternoon Reviews
- Gao Li Reviews The Disney Afternoon Collection
- Gao Li Reviews DuckTales
- Gao Li Reviews Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers
- Gao Li Reviews TaleSpin
- Gao Li Reviews Darkwing Duck
- Gao Li Reviews DuckTales 2