Monday, 19 March 2012

Donald Land (NES)

Super Adventures in McDonaldland Donald Land - Game 1

This week I'm going to play through the McDonald's games. I suppose.

This looks like it's going to be a wild west quick-draw shooter starring a cowboy hero called Donald Land, but I promise you it really is a McDonald's game. This was only ever released in Japan, where the McDonald's sinister mascot clown is known as 'Donald McDonald'. So this is named after his first name.

I left the title screen on for a bit to see if anything happened, and eventually Donald himself dived out of the door at me. Like an alien bursting out of some poor spaceman's chest.

Bloody clowns.

Hey look, I found a typo.

Okay, after Donald's finished scaring the player on the title screen, he strolls over to this cast of characters screen and uses clown magic to summon info on all his friends.

Damn I had no idea McDonald's had so many characters. I recognize a few, like the purple thing and Hamburgler, but I don't remember ever seeing the Professor, the Captain or Mayor Cheeseburger-for-a-Head before. I guess I need to watch more adverts.

But then the sky darkens, there's a flash of lightning, and this... creature drops in from nowhere. There's no clue to who this guy is or what he wants. Maybe he's here to overthrow Donald and seize control of Donald Land, or maybe he just felt left out.

But he looks like a giant evil clown wizard, so Donald reacts like any sensible person would and runs away. And that's all the intro I get.

Good luck? For what? What did I miss? Are you going to exile poor Donald from town to appease the evil clown or something?

Damn, look at this town. And people say modern games are too brown. I can barely see that brown pick-up against the tree. Oh wow, the first level has trees. Though it's not exactly the typical platformer forest level so I'll let them off.

Damn, I honestly thought those brown blocks were platforms, but I just fell right through. They're actually burger pick-ups, I think.

That guy in the hat is pacing back and forth and throwing sticks of dynamite around, and no one seems to be volunteering to stop him. Donald Land truly is a lawless and dangerous country. The only justice is a clown with bombs.

Wait, Ronald 'Donald' McDonald carries BOMBS around with him? The fuck?

I tried jumping on his head and, well it was half successful. I didn't kill him, but he didn't kill me either. Now I have a safe place to stand and plan my next move.

That apple on the tree is actually a bomb I just threw (in the wrong direction). I can have two on screen at a time, then I have to wait for one to explode before I can throw another.

Well that's just rude. He threw a stick of dynamite while I was standing on his head, throwing me along with it.

Screw him, there's no point to killing these guys anyway. The enemies just respawn again as soon as I'm a screen away from them.

1. Trees don't work like that. The brown bit goes UNDER the green bit, you can't just walk across the line where the leaves begin to obscure the trunk as if it's a ledge. I learned that first hand through many years of tree climbing.

2. What the FUCK is that? It just sprang out of a box, and now it's bouncing up and down, completely failing to be in the path of any of the bombs I've been repeatedly trying to offer it. No matter where I throw them from, they all seem to miss.

Well, I got him eventually, but it took a fair amount of my (limited) time.

BOSS FIGHT! This woodpecker's not so bad, he just knocks pink things down from the tree as he woodpecks. But Donald doesn't get a moment of invincibility after being hit, so I was down to one hit point in seconds.

But I managed to blow up the woodpecker with a single lucky shot, and now I'm through to level two.

Wow seriously? I go to a McDonalds restaurant between levels? What does the food do, give me health?

Actually I think it gives me mini-games.

Ah, this menu's more useful. Okay then, I'll have the hit point pick-up, and... that'll have to be it because I'm out of cash.

I wish McDonald's really did sell extra lives. For the same price as a cheeseburger.

Ah, NOW I'm on the forest level. There's an extra life right at the start, but I can't figure out how to get it.

Oh shit! I was so focused on trying to jump the gap and grab the pick up that I wasn't expecting a dinosaur to leap out the water at me with no warning.

Though the game's been pretty good so far at giving me enough room to react, as Donald stays on the left side of the screen. Trouble is he stays there when I'm walking left as well, meaning I can't see a damn thing when I'm backtracking.

I don't think I like the way these trees start grinning at me when I step on them.

Bullseye! That bomb will stick to his head now until it blows. I don't even know why I just threw a bomb at that poor bird. He was just flying back and forth up there minding his own business, more like a moving platform than a threat. I guess the game is indoctrinating me to be a maniac clown.

That wooden bridge over there started to collapse the second I jumped over to it, and I was surprised to discover that I was too slow to outrun it. And then I discovered that Donald can't swim. It would have been nice if they could have found a non-lethal way to teach me that I have a run button.

Oh, I thought I had more lives. Though it seems I do have a secret number of extra continues. Potentially infinite of them in fact!

I'm not sure why the game has lives and continues, as I seem to have to restart the level either way. I suppose using a continue resets my score, but... big deal, who even gave a damn about that back in 1988?

Damn, some of the jumps in this are cruel. Even when I landed just on the edge of rounded corner, he just slipped off and drowned. I know the pick-ups are hinting at another way over, but I'm sure I can make this jump fine if I just jump at the very last second.

This miserable creature seems to be immune to explosives, and fires off deadly tears. Of course it doesn't start crying until the clown gets close, so I wasn't given much chance to react.

I'm a little confused why those pick-ups are encouraging me to jump on the poor guy, that doesn't get either of us anywhere.

Oh shit, that old galleon in the background is firing its cannons at me. I guess they have standing orders to to fire on any clowns. Oh shit, I tried to jump away from the incoming ordinance and leapt straight into a lake. And Donald still can't swim.


Oh! I can get across the water by jumping on the splashes from the cannon balls.

Then that little bastard dinosaur returns, and this time he's a boss with multiple hit points. That's okay though, I've got multiple bombs.

He wouldn't be so bad if that other creature hadn't turned up to cry at me some more, giving me two things to dodge.

Oh crap! I was so focused on avoiding the dinosaur that it somehow didn't occur to me that running into the other guy would be a bad idea. Well, the enemy itself is harmless, but I ran right into its tears.

Turns out I didn't have infinite continues, so that's game over. I only made it two levels in, but I'm not feeling any strong need to play it all again from the start, so I'm done with it. It's not actually that bad a game though to be honest.

Shameless Advertising Rating: Medium. You play as the mascot character, collect burger tokens and visit the restaurant between levels, but it's not exactly throwing the brand in your face. The only time I remember seeing the Golden Arches logo was on some of the food displayed in the shop.

Clown Rating: Less than I expected. You play AS a clown, with a clown as the villain, but he's pretty small and inoffensive. Except for that time he jumped out of the title screen at me with no warning.

You know, I'm feeling guilty about all those bad things I said about clowns. For all I know a clown is reading this right now, thinking 'wow, look at this asshole'. When I talk about hating clowns, I'm only talking about the sinister fictional ones with no feelings to be hurt. Because they're soulless monsters.

Part 1: Donald Land (NES)
Part 2: M.C. Kids (NES)
Part 3: McDonaldland (Game Boy)
Part 4: Global Gladiators (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Part 5: McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Part 6: Ronald in The Magical World (Game Gear)


  1. I apologise to anyone who saw the name and thought this was a Donald Duck game.

    1. I was really expecting this to be a Donald Duck game XD
      Hey, this clown's name was supposed to be "Ronald" instead of Donald O_o

    2. Yeah ha has a different name in Japan, as "Ronald" is apparently hard to pronounce in Japanese. I still think it's weird they used his first name for the game though.

      Don't worry I'm sure I'll play a proper Donald Duck game for the site... someday.

    3. There is actually a more understandable reason why they did that.

      Ranald MacDonald was the name of the man that introduced English to the Japanese long ago. As such, he is well known in Japan.

      So they couldn't very well call the silly mascot of a fast food restaurant the same name now could they?

      Mind you, even though in English the names of the two are at least spelt differently, the Japanese kana rendering would output them the same way.

      So they had to call him something else, otherwise it would be seen as a bit disrespectful.


Semi-Random Game Box