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Disney's DuckTales

aka: Disney's DuckTales: La Bande à Picsou, Wanpaku Duck Yume Bouken
Moby ID: 8606
NES Specs
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Description official descriptions

Duck Tales for NES is a traditional platform game in which the player takes the role of greedy Scrooge McDuck in search of treasures around the globe. He counts on his three nephews and on other Duck Tales characters to help him in his quest through inhospitable places such as the Amazon rainforest, the African mines, the Himalayas, Transylvania (where he meets Dracula Duck) and even the Moon.

Each one of them reserves the old duck lots of adventure, different enemies and hidden rooms.

The game features a 2D side-scrolling platform gameplay very similar to Mega Man. Graphics are colorful and cartoonish, music is reminiscent of the TV series, and controls are very simple.


  • わんぱくダック夢冒険 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (NES version)

7 People

Disney Producer
Director and Graphic Design
Game Designer
Sound Designer
Sound Programmer
US Instruction Manual by



Average score: 82% (based on 35 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 104 ratings with 4 reviews)

A great game released even before the beginning of such strict control of Disney products.

The Good
Duck Tales is a very nice game for NES. The story is very simple: the player takes control of Scrooge McDuck, a Scottish old duck, who claims to be the richest in the world. Like every self-made duck, he lots of friends, but also have lots of enemies.This is the the part of the story everyone who is familiar with Walt Disney and Carl Barks works knows. In this game, Scrooge is on a quest to find some valuable treasures, hidden in places such as Amazon, the Transylvania, African Mines, the Himalayas and even the Moon! Simple, but effective, huh? OK, let's see it.

First, the game has a great appeal. It featured the Duck Tales, which were very popular for the time because of the TV series. And it is always very nice to have Disney characters starring 8-bit and 16-bit games because their traces can be easily recognized. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck and other characters have big heads (in comparison to the rest of their bodies) and people can immediately recognize them (have you ever stopped to think why Mario, Alex Kidd and Sonic have big heads?).

Well, the game is still appealing even now, after the Duck Tales are gone. Scrooge McDuck, the great star, is a timeless character. He has courage and taste for adventure. And NES is the only console to have a Scrooge McDuck game.

Of course, there wouldn't be this kind of appealing if the graphics were crap. They are really good for the time, much better than the great majority of other 1989 games. Disney characters, which the player, playing the role of Scrooge, meets all the time, are instantly recognizable. The sprites, though simple, are colorful and cartoonish and the animation is good (the movements flow very well), although there was not much control of Walt Disney Studios as there is now (meaning: expect good quality for NES standards, but never perfection). The enemies are different in each stage and are all as detailed as the main character (unlike most NES games). Backgrounds, as in most great NES games, are nice, but, as NES did not have much processor power to develop lots of graphic elements on the screen, were not really amazing. Expect colorful graphics, but be aware of the limited NES graphics capabilities.

The Duck Tales theme song is present on the title screen, but different tunes fill Scrooge's adventure. All of them are pleasant, but none remarkable. Nobody would ask for the soundtrack album. The music doesn't call much attention to it. To sum it up, they are a good accessory for the game itself. It certainly creates atmosphere and that's important: when a boss enters the stage (such as Magica the Spell or Dracula Duck) the music changes! Sound effects are nice and varied, a rarity for NES.

OK, graphics and sound are nice, but what is really impressive about this game is the fact that its creators payed so much more attention to the game itself than to the technical aspects which, although not irrelevant, are not the definitive criterium to analyze it. Graphics and sound are good, but they were made to be a great company for the gameplay first and, second, to amaze the players. In just a few words, this game is pure fun!

Gameplay is REALLY nice. People at Capcom developed this game to be as pleasant as it could. And they reached their aim. The game is very nice to be played. It had a very good use for the NES 2-button gamepad: one of the buttons jumped and the other one did nothing alone. But it was the button of movements, to be used combined with the other one or with the directional pad. And it made the game very simple to be played. It requires some practice and may not be very intuitive, but works very well. Also, it has to be said: gameplay is not completely original. It borrows many aspects from Mega Man, the most popular NES game from Capcom. But some elements are original and even this fact doesn't take the charm of the game.

The stages were full of secret passages and hidden rooms. One of them, Transylvania, had almost one surprise per screen. They were not hard to be found; in fact, it was easy to discover a secret passage. There are five stages and you can visit them all again to collect more treasures and increase your amount of money. You can go and come back any time. Just have fun! This shows the concern about quality and real entertainment the staff at Capcom had when producing this game.

Because of its gameplay qualities, Duck Tales is a game of great replay value. You can play the game hundreds of times and then discover a new secret room (you will probably discover them all quite quickly, but there are always new aspects of the game to be perceived). Or try to collect more money then before, breaking your own record (which is the aim of the game, after all).

The gameplay is so nice Sega used many of its elements to produce Castle Of Illusion for Master System in 1991. This game, also based on a Disney character (the player used Mickey to save Minnie in a much more dramatic storyline), followed the same style as Duck Tales. Well, let's see. Mickey's movements were based on Scrooge's (one button for jumping and one generic for doing anything else, but would not work alone). While Mickey could climb stairs, Scrooge would climb ropes. Mickey could grab blocks and Scrooge used his pogo stick to move them (the movement was the same: generic button + directional pad). Mickey would use his bottom to beat enemies while jumping. Scrooge could use his stick to do the same (also, the same movement: press the jump button and the other one while jumping). Also, Castle Of Illusion would feature a similar gameplay, with hidden rooms and the possibility to choose in which stage to start. OK, Castle Of Illusion is a terrific game and all this stuff doesn't spoil it, but it has to be recognized that if the Mickey mouse game is excellent because of its gameplay, so is the Scrooge one.

Also, there are three difficulty levels to choose from, which is always good news: the game can be played by beginners or more advanced gamers.

The Bad
Alright, the storyline is not very nice. Stories are never nice, but this game deserved a good one. At least it is simple and sincere: Scrooge searches for treasures all around the world and even on the moon. They don't totally spoil it inventing some tragic event happening suddenly... the story here is much more honest the way it is.

Graphics are nice, but the background is too simple and empty sometimes (such as in Amazon - the forest deserved more trees than pictured on the game - or the Himalayas). The sprites are also too simple sometimes.

It can also be said that stages are too short. Although there are lots of hidden rooms and the stages are somewhat complex, the game is really short. You can reach the end of each stage very quickly, in about half an hour or even less if you don't care about collecting diamonds and other treasures. Also, there are just a few stages. Five stages with the same backgrounds! And one of them is repetitive (you play Transylvania twice just to meet Dracula Duck at the end of the second time).

Finally, the game can be too easy for some, despite the possibility of choosing the level of difficulty.

The Bottom Line
Duck Tales is one of the best titles ever released for NES. It is involving and entertains a lot. A nice and pleasant game to play. It has nice graphics and sound, simple controls but a complex gameplay. And as the game is not difficult and is short, it is worth a try. Pure fun!

NES · by Mumm-Ra (393) · 2004

One of the weirdest sidescrollers I have ever seen

The Good
I should probably mention that this is a tie-in product, based on the similarly named TV show that aired somewhere in the 80's and has been re-released countless times since. It's probably worth checking out just because it's the only game based on a show/movie that's actually pretty good. I never watched the show myself though, I caught my little sister watching it a few days ago, but I did read the Donald Duck comics back when I was younger and I really enjoyed seeing some of the characters back (like that Witch).

The levels were really well designed with alternate routes leading to the same locations and lots of interesting secrets to find. At one point I noticed that part of the ceiling behind a support character was gone, so I talked with him and then walked through him, to my surprise the ceiling was actually gone and you could jump up there and walk to a secret room (Super Mario Bros. style). The non-linear nature of the game makes it a very welcome addition to my collection because most other sidescrollers are rather linear.

The levels have enough variation to keep you interested, the stage at the top of the list is in the Amazon and it's filled with all kinds of dangerous animals and native-Americans, but the stage after that is in Transylvania and looks a lot like Castlevania. There are also quite a lot of interesting events in the stages, such as riding around in mine-carts and hanging onto a flying helicopter in order to get over a gap. Each level also has it's own final boss which guards the treasure and these are interesting as well, although each of them can be defeated by jumping on them with the stick.

The most efficient way to get around is by jumping on your cane which looks absolutely retarded. The idea is that you jump and then press down + B which makes Scrooge jump around on his cane. Not only is this faster, but you can also reach high places by using this tactic and you can kill enemies that walk underneath you. I remember when a friend came over and we started playing this game, the look on his face when he saw me bouncing around the map was priceless.

The music is pretty damn good and very memorable, it's not overly cheerful like in Super Mario Bros., but at the same time not too dark and fast like in Castlevania. Just like in the stages, it comes with a lot of variety. To be honest, the music is the only reason that I even bough this game. I saw it appear on some top 10 list a while ago and the channel belonged to a pretty big website, so when they talked about it an quoted somebody from their forums I became intrigued.

The Bad
The controls are absolutely the biggest problem in this game, the earlier mentioned jumping around on the cane only works if you lad precisely on land, a few pixels too far and you are going to stop and get hit by one of the enemies. There is also another attack which you pull off by repeatedly tapping the B-button, I can't for the love of god imagine why you couldn't just tap it once. This attack is also needed very early on to hit blocks with your cane (some blocks can't be destroyed by jumping on them) and since I don't have the manual that proved to be much harder to figure out then it should have been.

The game is really big on putting you in situations where you can't dodge an enemy. The earlier mentioned helicopter flight ends with a collision involving your elderly face and a bee and I tried everything to jump off before the bee would hit me, but there is no way you are going to dodge that. There was also one time when I died and the game spawned me next to an enemy. Of course there are also the instant death pits which I despise in every single game they are in.

The game has a life system and a timer, both of which are terrible gameplay ideas and should never have been used in videogames. The lives system is the one that confuses me the most, why would you want to use something like that? It was used to make sure that little children would keep coming back to arcade machines if they ever wanted to finish a game, surely the home console concept was intended to make sure that even normal people can finish a game and not just the ones who have insanely rich parents.

The fact that you can go game-over is also worsened by the fact that some levels require you to find items in other levels, take for example a door in Africa that can only be unlocked by using a key found in Transylvania. Not only do these situations make no sense, but they also suck when you die and have to get those items again before you can play another stage. It also makes it pretty useless to allow the player to choose the order in which they want to play the levels, seeing as it still forces them to follow a certain pattern.

The Bottom Line
Duck Tales is one of the most popular games on the NES and I can see why, it's a non-linear sidescroller based on a very good Disney show that's very unique in it's design. There are a lot of sidescrollers on the NES and even more on the Super Nintendo, but you won't find a single one that is like Duck Tales (not counter Duck Tales 2). If you are a collector, then you are simply obligated to have this NES game in your collection because you won't find any other game that can possibly fill it's place.

Duck Tales recently aired on television again, but I am not sure if that was just a short nostalgia hour or if they are starting the show again. One way or another, kids will probably need a little adult help when playing this tie-in, but they will almost certainly be entertained by it. Adults who don't have never watched the show are still going to have a very good and unique NES game, but they are going to miss out on the best experience, seeing as they don't know the characters.

NES · by Asinine (957) · 2011

A good platformer on the go (on the po-go really)

The Good
Ducktales is a platformer developed by Capcom.
The NES game was the first entry in a successful partnership between Capcom, Disney and Nintendo. Naturally the GameBoy required a port. So, how is it?
Well, quite faithful to the original. Yes, the levels have been re-designed and though they seem a tiny bit shorter and perhaps easier, for the most part everything is here. Nice graphics, an OK sound rendition, the option to complete the levels in different order, the required knowledge of secrets to move forward, the variety in enemies, the secret rooms, and the one thing that defined the original: The pogo stick mechanic. Which feels really good! Is identical to the one in the NES, so the platforming fun is guaranteed.

The Bad
For the most part the bosses are very easy. Except for the last boss: count "Dracura" (ha, ha love that!), very close to be unbeatable because of a failure in design that the original fight just didn't have.

The Bottom Line
Ducktales for the GameBoy is a very nice port. As a platformer is less challenging but also less frustrating and so, better in my opinion.
The NES game might be the more complete version but I rather play this one.

Game Boy · by pelida77 (36) · 2023

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


North American version

To comply with Nintendo's censorship policies, the North American release was changed so that the crosses on the tombstones in one level said "RIP".

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Related Sites +

  • Howard & Nester do Duck Tales
    A regular feature in Nintendo Power magazine, Howard & Nester was a comic strip about two game whizzes who would one-up each other, while disclosing hints and tips, in the settings of various recently-released games for the NES platform. In the November/December 1989 two-page installment, Howard frees Nester from the wrong side of a wall on the Moon by summoning Roboduck (... indicating that the comic author only played the prototype, before Roboduck was given his correct name, "Gizmo Duck", back.) All this without infringing on any Disney intellectual properties, using generic ducks.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Mumm-Ra.

Game Boy added by Ben K.

Additional contributors: chirinea, monkeyislandgirl, Pseudo_Intellectual, CaptainCanuck, Atom Ant, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 14th, 2003. Last modified September 23rd, 2023.