Wednesday, 30 January 2013

QuackShot (Genesis/Mega Drive) - Replay

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay 2013 - Game 1

I'm sure it can seem sometimes that as a writer and a gamer I'm basically flawless, but even I occasionally make mistakes. Like this one time I made a game blog and wrote a whole lot of terrible posts for it. And as Super Adventures reaches its second birthday, it just so happens that this is the time of year when the shame gets too much for me and I have to go back and do something about it.

So I'm going to take a look back at the site's past, at all my shitty posts that suck ass, and pick a few more of the really terrible ones to replay. It's second chance week again!

QuackShot starring Donald Duck title screen
First up is Disney's QuackShot, a slightly Indiana Jones inspired platformer released on the Genesis/Mega Drive in 1991. I gave this about ten minutes to win me over first time around, then quit on the first level because... you know, I'm reading the post again now and I can't even tell why I stopped playing. Apparently I didn't even put in enough effort to figure out that pressing start opens up my inventory, or that I could press up on the d-pad to climb ladders. Bloody hell, man.

Sadly I can't go back in time and punch myself, but I can at least give the game another chance now. Consider this post my sincere apology.

One day, Donald Duck came across an old book in Uncle Scrooge's study; a book about the secret treasure of King Garuzia. And inside was a map with clues to where the treasure could be found!

If this was anyone else's house this might seem a little convenient, but Scrooge McDuck probably has so many maps and guides and journals and other such passports to adventure like this lying in every room, that he uses genuine treasure maps as toilet paper just because he has stacks of them sitting next to the can.

Anyway Donald's a bastard and decides to swipe Scrooge's map for himself before the guy can wipe his ass on it, with plans to ebay it and get rich go on a globe trotting treasure hunt. Unfortunately one of Pete's gang had been spying through the window the whole time, apparently, and after seeing Donald take a piece of paper out of a book he instantly knows all about the treasure map and what Donald's going to do with it.

I like how the game just assumes that everyone playing it will immediately know who Pete is. I mean, why are you even playing a Donald Duck game if you don't know who Pete is, right? (I have no idea who Pete is.)

Hey it's the map from the title screen again, they're getting a lot of mileage out of this picture. I checked to see who Thomas Yuuda was and what his name is doing on a video game map, and it turns out... he was the art director. Not a massive surprise that one.

Alright, it seems we've gotten three clues to work with from this ancient map, or three places to visit at least: The City of Duckburg, Transylvania, and the entire country of Mexico. You know, for some reason I always assumed Duckburg was an east coast city.

I suppose I should check out Duckburg first, seeing as I'm already there.

Ah, I remember this now. The game's a platformer of the shooting variety, no jumping on enemies in this.

For some reason though Donald has traded his bullets for plungers, which are considerably less than lethal. The enemies just shake for a bit when hit, giving me a little time to sneak past them before they recover from the shock and carry on with whatever they were doing. These dogs mostly seem to spend their days standing in the street, absolutely still, on the off chance that I'll walk by and they can fire tomatoes at me.

OKAY WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? Oh wait I remember these guys now, evil giant centipedes that like to jump across from bin to bin and attack ducks. A plunger to the face makes them pause in mid-air, but they can never be truly destroyed.

You know, I've no idea why the no-kills thing bothered me so much the first time around. Enemies can be incapacitated long enough to slip past them comfortably, so what's the issue?

Oh right, yeah, backtracking. I wasn't that keen on having to take out the same enemies several times over while searching the level for some hidden climbing equipment. I tried firing plungers at the wall to form platforms I could jump up onto, but it didn't work. Shame really, as that seemed like pretty solid cartoon logic.

But this time I've noticed something I didn't originally catch: Donald put a little green flag down on the pavement when he reached the end of the level. It might just be a checkpoint, but I'm going to see if I can use it for anything.

AHA! I have a 'call the airplane' button right there in my inventory. When I'm at a flag it turns on and I can use the plane to get back to the world map.

But where on Earth can I find climbing equipment? Well my first guess would have been 'Duckburg' seeing as it's a thriving metropolis filled with shops, but seeing as I've tried that already I think I'll go with Mexico.

Damn these enemies are quick on the draw. I shot off a plunger almost immediately after landing my jump, and he still got managed to hit me first. Hey, I've just noticed that if an enemy is carrying a pouch they drop an item when hit. Which is cool. Lets me know which enemies are worth shooting.

Anyway, here I am in Mexico. Nowhere in particular in Mexico I guess, just in a desert somewhere. But the clue said to go here, so I'm sure if I keep walking to the right long enough I'll stumble across something eventually.

Well I shot a few evil dogs, dodged a few evil birds, jumped a fair number of bottomless pits and got hit by a falling beehive or two, and now I've come across something interesting. But do I jump on the detonator or jump over it? Can I pick it up perhaps?

Turns out the detonator is a BAD detonator! Now the whole ledge is exploding, and I've only got the one hit point left. I may have to hold the run button for this one!


ONE LOST LIFE LATER.


Great, the end of the Mexico level is another dead end. I don't know who this woman is, or why she knows my name, but she ain't lying. The door just isn't opening.

So I guess now I have to add 'hero key' to my shopping list. She tells me a team of explorers travelled to Duckburg with it earlier, so I suppose I need to get this climbing equipment before I can find them. Maybe Dracula has some gear he doesn't mind letting me borrow. To Transylvania!


BUT THEN, IN TRANSYLVANIA.


Son of a bitch, he wouldn't jump! Honestly, I'm sure I hit the button, he just carried on sliding into the instant death water. Now I've been kicked right back to the start of the level.

Then the next time I reached his point, the exact same thing happened. Cool looking trees though.


LATER, AT THE SAME RIVER.


Damn, I actually managed the jump and made it across to the platforms this time, and he fell through the last one. Man, now I know why the enemy before this section drops a 1up when he's hit. Because it probably originally took playtesters all their lives to make it across. Since when does a duck drown when he touches water anyway?

At least enemies don't knock you backwards in this when you're hit, otherwise this could get really frustrating.


LATER, INSIDE DRACULA'S CASTLE.


Well fuck, I'm all out of options now. Every destination on the world map has led to a dead end.

Though hang on, I need something to blow up the wall with, right? Remember that detonator just sitting in the middle of nowhere in Mexico? Maybe I can get some use out of that, if he can dig out the dynamite too.

Well I guess I'm not getting a detonator then. Now that Donald's planted his flag near the locked ruins, he'll only land his plane at the very end of the level and backtracking is apparently forbidden. So I really am entirely stuck.

I suppose I could go try Duckburg again, just for the sake of making absolutely sure I haven't missed anything.

Oh, okay. Turns out that this guy hanging around at the end of the street who told me I needed climbing gear also just happens to have the key to the Mexican ruin on him.

Damn, this ancient map is pretty prescient. It has clues relating to people who wouldn't be born for hundreds of years and can only be used at the exact time all these people standing in the places I need them to be. Which is right on this very day.

The key got me inside the Mexican ruins, and I was happy to learn that this isn't going to be a straight left to right obstacle course like every other level so far. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just like variety, and shooting plungers into enemy blocks to freeze them into temporarily usable platforms seems like very sensible way to climb.

Great, turns out the only thing in the ruins for me to find was Goofy. Seriously, the ancient treasure map sent me to a Mexican ruin just to find this guy so I could collect some upgraded red plungers.

Obviously this means I'm the chosen one. If I gave this map to Pete he wouldn't have a clue what to do with it.

Oh Goofy also gave me a note: 1 Sun, 2 Moon, 3 Star. Sounds like a combination code to me.

My new red plungers are awesome! I can't do any extra damage (or any damage at all) with them, but I can shoot them onto walls and use them as temporary platforms before they phase back into the plunger dimension. I have finally found happiness.

Oh, I thought I was supposed to go downwards at this point, but it appears that I have just thrown Donald off a building. Back to the start of the level then.

The way that I didn't even hesitate to leap makes me think that some visual clues are missing here; it looks too much like the other places I've had to drop down at. Or perhaps I'm just getting tired.

Oh come on QuackShot, we had a thing going. You'd stick an enemy or two in my path, I'd either take them out in time to stroll past them as they spasm, or I'd get hit and flicker through them with my temporary invincibility. But I can't shoot a shell, and it doesn't shoot back, so... what? What do I do here?

I tried jumping over him in the end, and the turtle sprang out of his shell and smacked me in the face. I walked past while flicking, problem resolved!

I was trying to grab a screenshot that really shows off how I have keep to jumping from cable to cable on this section of the game to avoid patches of electricity. But then I saw these two together and I couldn't bear to use a different shot.

Whoa seriously? The ancient treasure map clues pointed to another one of Donald's friends, just chilling out on top of a building for no reason, who gives me another new type of ammo for my gun. You know, I wouldn't be surprised right now if it turns out Uncle Scrooge planned this whole thing just to get Donald out of the house.

Anyway, to Transylvania! Oh crap, there's no flag here, I'm going to have to go do both the cable riding and skyscraper jumping levels again, only backwards.


LATER.


Agh, son of a bitch bat, attacked me as I was being dropped off by the plane! Just out of curiosity, I got right back in the plane and came here again, and yep it happens every time I come to Transylvania. Those crazy game developers! (Though you can dodge him if you're expecting it.)

Actually, on closer inspection, that bat looks suspiciously like a dog.

The bats may be dogs, but looking at that painting Dracula's definitely a duck (I'm surprised they didn't call him Count Duckula, but I guess that's someone else's character). Those skeletons on the other hand could be anything.

I'm starting to think the game wants me to jump down this hole, as I can't see anywhere else to go, but last time that happened I ended up plummeting from a skyscraper so I'm a little hesitant. I've got two lives left though so I'll give it a shot.

Oh so now Donald can swim just fine! Well okay he can't swim in the slightest, but he can hold his breath indefinitely. I'm having a little trouble jumping onto my plungers down here though because he moves so slowly underwater. They keep disappearing before I get up there!

I've been having this problem with the healing items dropped by enemies too. Unless I run up immediately to grab them they'll often flicker out of existence in front of me. I guess the food goes bad if sits the floor any longer that that.


LATER.


Alright, I'm totally stuck now. This large (and very human now that I think about it) ghost keeps bobbing up and down in front of me, every time I step forward he moves forward too, and every now and again he'll explode into smaller ghosts which will bounce around and attack me for a bit. And when I reach the end of the level, it loops back to the start and I have to do it all again.

Obviously there's some puzzle to it I'm just not seeing, but I haven't got the faintest idea what it could be.


EVEN LATER STILL.


Man, I hate it when you I get a screenshot I like, except for the tiny problem that the character is entirely missing from it. I'd gotten hit by a ghost and took the shot while I was still flickering, caught Donald on an 'off' frame.

Well now I know that the red bricks tend to contain bubblegum ammo when I shoot them (except for this last one which seems to have glitched out on me), and I've also learned that the guy only explodes into ghosts if I move while he's doing that smug grin at me. This isn't helping me in the slightest though, as the guy's immune to my bubble shots!

I lost my last life trying to figure this out, but at least now I know the game has continues. No saves or passwords, just continues. Aw fuck it, I'm going to watch a smarter person than me show how it's done on youtube.

The glitchy brick turned out to be a secret lift that takes you to an exit.

You know how some puzzles can seem so obvious and logical in retrospect? This is the opposite of that. This is just bullshit.

And of course I just end up back in another looping corridor against another bloody ghost. I spent ages trying to figure out what dumb trick it wanted me to do this time and completely managed to overlook the blatantly obvious and logic solution. The exit's up there, so I just need to shoot a plunger into the wall and jump up!

The damn game made me turn the switch in my brain from 'use logic' to 'try dumb shit' and I hadn't switched back yet!

And now I'm fighting an anthropomorphic duck vampire who floats across the screen and shoots out dog bats at me. Fortunately he's vulnerable to bubbles and I've got a ton of hitpoints left, so this hasn't been a great struggle so far.

I did try out the popcorn ammo by the way, which was suggested in the comments on my last 'attempt' at the game, and it turned out to be a five way shot. Which would be pretty handy if it didn't burn through five ammo with each and every shot. I'm going to hold on to that until I really need it.

At last Dracula is done for, and he's given me a new treasure map! That is to say I broke into his house motivated only by greed and killed him for it. But that's okay, he was evil! Possibly.

Of course it's another one of those vague treasure maps though, that just says things like "Egypt" or "South Pole" or "Viking Ship" and expects me to figure things out myself from there. Wait, Viking ship?

I don't know what's weirder, the fact that there's an old sailing ship full of actual live Vikings still sailing around, or that those bastard dogs have managed to get here before me! Where they spying through Dracula's window while I was getting that map or something?

Actually I do know what's weirder: the fact that those kids managed to land a biplane on this thing.

I ran into a similar situation at the South Pole, with evil dogs at every turn. Did they plant a tracking device in his fedora or something?

This is actually a (surprisingly rare) appearance of the slippery slidey ice world on the site, though to the game's credit I didn't even realise until I reached the end of the level, let go of the controls, and went skidding across the ice.

Even in Egypt I wasn't safe, as the dogs popped out out of the sand to... I dunno, bite me?

If these goons are so good at getting around, how come they're waiting around to ambush me instead of getting the treasure themselves, huh?

Anyway those locations all lead to dead ends, so it seems that Maharajah is the correct destination. Or perhaps the correct person, as this guy promises he'll give me an Egyptian sounding relic if I'll go shoot his tiger.

Crap, the Maharajah never mentioned anything about a door maze. Wait, I remember now... the code I got from Goofy: 1 sun, 2 moon, 3 star! Actually... that doesn't apply here at all does it? There's no moons or stars around and the doors have identical numbers.

I've got two hit points left and three lives, but I'm all out of patience so I'm turning this off now. Shame I can't save my game.


QuackShot is actually pretty decent for what it is, I have to admit. I was way way too harsh on it first time around. It's far from my favourite platformer, but it controls well, the levels are reasonably varied, and most of the time it felt like a fair test of skill, rather than a memory test. Plus it looks pretty decent for 1991, and the music... exists. There's far worse games out there than this.

But should I give it a gold star when I don't much feel like ever going to that door level again? I think the fact that I even played as far as the maze level when I had a perfectly reasonable place to quit after the Dracula fight makes me think... maybe. Plus I could always just get over myself next time and use a bloody walkthrough.

Man, I'm just giving these away lately. I've gone soft.


Comments, criticism and opinions about QuickShot, my post, or the site in general are always welcome! Especially if you post them on a different website entirely so I get free advertising.

10 comments:

  1. Made it much, much further than 10-year old me managed. Seem to remember enjoying it at the time, but wasn't a patch on Mickey & Donald's World Of Illusion that I got at the same time (and the first computer game I ever completed). Ah, memories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice job spoofing AVGN there, Mr Your Aerial Radness xP

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, perhaps the fact that you were unfair on the game and quit for seemingly no reason made the post more entertaining?
    I know everyone's been telling you to give the games more of a chance, but that mostly ends up with you saying "this happened in the game, then this, then that, then...".

    Irrational, brash judgements are funny (well, when it comes to video games, at least), long descriptive or analytical posts aren't. But maybe that's what you're going for and I completely missed the point.

    I do like the new logo, though, nice work there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been trying to find the middle ground between long tedious infodump posts that bore people to death, and short snappy meaningless posts that show a few pictures, make a few quick jokes, but explain nothing. Basically I want to make everyone happy, then have my cake and eat it too.

      I'm sure that after this Replay Week is over my normal laziness will resume and I can get back to being impatient and easily annoyed. Only these days I try to at least get past level one before switching the game off.

      Also I'm glad someone actually likes the new logo! Don't get too used to it though, it's only going to last 354 more days.

      (PS. Don't read my new Final Fantasy post if you dislike endless dull descriptive text that drags on forever. Seriously.)

      Delete
    2. Hurray for laziness, then.

      And I'm afraid I've already opened the Final Fantasy post in a tab, too late to close it now!

      Delete
  4. I wonder how this site made it for 2 years, it only prove that the idiots behind have absolutely no skill, no patience, are probably too dumb to piss and then think they can and should write about video games that are way above them.
    What a sad bunch of losers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people want me to be dumb, some people want me to be smart, I can't win!

      Also thanks for your feedback. It's great how you threw in a couple of insults there, it really helps me take your criticism seriously.

      Delete
    2. I dont understand you, Ray. Why do you read those anonymous comments. Me personally, I cant take seriously comment from somebody who doesnt have balls to post his name with his comment. Best thing would be to completely block all comments from anonymous users. I dont think it would discourage normal people from commenting here (in nowadays almost everybody have at least google account). In recent time I noticed great emergence of bashing and insluting comments from trolls on this page.

      Delete
    3. Not trolls, just people who are annoyed by those idiot proving to have no skills, no talent at writing but still thinks he has to right to bash all games, even classics, just because he apparently can't read, can't play and probably is even overchallenged by Minesweeper.

      And what does a name have to do with anything? Do i know if your name really is Patrik? You could also be a fake profile opened by Ray to get some "positive" comments on this site between all the rightful criticism.

      Delete
    4. Patrik, I don't really want to block anonymous comments as a fair number of legit comments have been from unregistered users and it's no great hassle for me to delete anything really offensive or insulting. Plus I'd have to be a pretty massive hypocrite to block people because I didn't like their opinion that they didn't like my opinions.

      On the other hand it'll be even easier for me to flick that switch if it becomes a problem.

      Delete

Semi-Random Game Box