Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.
Developed for the NES by Capcom and released in North America in 1990, DuckTales was one of several great Disney licensed titles to come out during the 8-bit era, and it is usually one of the first games brought up when discussing the great platformer games on the NES. It was quite popular in its time, and despite some quirks in the gameplay, it has help up wonderfully over the years.
You play as Scrooge McDuck as you work your way through five levels, of which you can play in any order and even revisit once you’ve finished them. There are hidden treasures in nearly every inch of each level, including two hidden special treasures that can unlock an alternate ending. The gameplay is fairly straightforward as Scrooge’s attacks are limited to swinging his cane or using it as a pogo stick to jump on enemies. There are tons of hidden areas in the game as well, so exploration is just as important as combat.
The game itself isn’t terribly challenging, but it’s addictive and memorable. Anybody who played it remembers the sound of Scrooge’s pogo cane, at least one of the hidden passages they found, and how they used Scrooge’s golf-style swing to send a rock flying to knock down a treasure chest. The game can be completed in around 45 minutes or so, but it’s worth playing through multiple times. I probably play through it at least twice per year.
It’s unlikely that this will ever see a Virtual Console release, so you’re left hunting down the original cartridge if you want to play it legally. But honestly, few games are worth it like DuckTales is. At last look, it was only $3-$5 on eBay, so that makes it a great bargain for retro gaming fans. It’s definitely one of the best games ever.