Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (NES) Retro Review

Let's kick off the new week with a review of the retro variety. Before Disney focused on horrible live-action television shows, it was about great cartoons-- DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, and yes, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers. The latter is today's retro review.

We're the chipmunks.

As a child growing up there was no bigger pleasure than coming home from school, plopping down in front of the television with an after-school snack, and watching Disney's Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers. The video game developed by Capcom hoped to bring the fun of the show to Nintendo's first home console. When the female mouse and gadgeteer, Gadget, is mouse-napped by the devious Fatcat, it's up to Chip and his zany partner Dale to rescue her. What follows are nine or ten levels featuring side-scrolling platforming action.

Boxing. Get it?

Now with all their time in the past spent pestering Donald Duck you'd be led to believe that Donald would have taught the two chipmunks fisticuffs. Well, this is simply not the case. In order to defeat enemies, Chip and Dale will need to scoop up boxes and other small items to toss at the various foes and bosses that obstruct their path. There's a large variety of baddies to beat on ranging from robotic dogs to crazed jack-in-the-boxes. If you get down in health, search high and low, near and far for acorns which will regain the nutty pair's hearts (you begin with three hearts of life energy). Also hidden in the levels are stars which assist you in gaining extra lives. Last but not least, you'll undoubtedly come across black and white flower tokens. Collecting 100 of these will give Chip and Dale some extra insurance in the form of an extra life.

You need not complete or even enter every level to reach the end of the game. There's multiple paths, so you can choose to tackle one or both of the levels presented to you. Each level has its own theme and obstacles. One level you'll be scampering across live electrical wires while another you'll be traversing the treetops, dodging caterpillars and other enemies. Some areas feature obstacles like conveyor belts, rotating axes, and other devices which can be shut off with a flick of a switch. Most of the levels conclude with a boss fight. As long as you study their rather simple patterns they should go down with ease. Simply pick up the red ball, and toss it at whatever big bad boss is thrown at the chipmunk duo.

While you may be lead to believe or assume that there's 26 levels in the game (as each level is a letter of the alphabet), you'd be mistaken. The Chip 'n Dale alphabet only goes from A-I, so yes, this game can be breezed through fairly quickly. Also, the difficulty of the game can either be frustrating or overly easy to different gamers, so be forewarned. There's myriad opportunities to gather extra lives so dying a lot isn't too much of a dilemma.

Fencing. Get it?

Additionally, there's a great 2-player mode which offers the ability to play the adventure with a friend. You can either help or hurt one another as you tackle the various levels, platforming challenges, and friends of Fatcat. While the main mode may be short, you can always go back through the game multiple times with a friend.

Ultimately, this partnership between Capcom and Disney is a pretty rewarding title-- one that you need not be a fan of the classic cartoon to enjoy (though that certainly helps). While not a perfect game (it's short, the difficulty can be a challenge to beat or a challenge to die in depending on what type of gamer you are), Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers will not be any sour acorn in any game collector's collection. Pick this up if you can and have a working NES, otherwise you don't have to feel bad. You're not missing anything quintessential to gaming history.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]


The Retro Gamer said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. This was one of my favorite games when I was five. I used to have a blast just chilling with my best bud and laughing as we threw boxes at each other.

Tony Miller said...

Another classic Capcom game....One of the best co-op experiences on NES.