QuackShot (Sega Genesis) Review
I’ve been playing quite a bit of Genesis games in 2021 and QuackShot is one that I stumbled upon when looking at my game collection. QuackShot is a follow up on the success of Disney’s Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Sega opted to give the waddling Donald Duck his own game on the Mega Drive sporting his plunger gun on the cover.
Released in 1991 on the Sega Genesis, QuackShot is a non linear action adventure platformer. Prior to first picking it up, I remembered how I first thought it wouldn’t have much in terms of meat on the bones. Boy was I wrong, dare I say it’s actually a metroidvania game before the likes of Super Metroid and Castlevania Symphony of the Night.
At first glance, QuackShot is heavily inspired by the Indiana Jones movies. From the opening title sequence, To Donald Duck’s costume, Even Pete himself wears a similar outfit to Dr. René Belloq sporting a white suit and fedora.
QuackShot starts you off within the first three stages of the game. The first time you reach the middle of the level you’ll place a flagpole to be able to resume where you left off at a later point. You can call in your airplane that takes you off to another stage. This is where the backtracking comes into play. You’ll often reach a spot where you need a particular item or key to progress that can be found in one of the later levels. It’s almost like a platformer where you have to put the pieces of a puzzle back together throughout the various stages.
After you finish the first couple of stages, the game unlocks where you can travel throughout the rest of the stages where you’ll pick up new items such as the Bubble Gum Gun that lets you destroy walls to find hidden areas, key items or even unlock a path to the next stage.
Then there’s upgrades to the plunger gun where you can shoot plungers to stick to the wall to let you climb up on them.
The controls are very simple, you can move around with the Dpad, hold A to have Donald run, the B button shoots your weapon, the C button jumps. You can also press start to select an item to use, switch your weapons or call in the airplane if you’re at a checkpoint. The controls are good enough to work with and respond well to your inputs. Donald does feel a bit sluggish when moving around and judging the distance to make tricky jumps is a little harder than I expected it to be. Some of the areas I felt it was better to damage boost my way through rather than carefully progressing.
Donald can also pick up chili pepper items that fill up a temper gauge. Once it’s completely full, he’ll charge forward in a frenzy taking out anything in his path. You don’t have complete control over Donald in this mode but luckily this typically happens in areas where Donald isn’t near a pit for a cheap death.
The graphics in QuackShot are stunning. Compared to Castle of Illusion, The sprites are large and detailed. Donald has much more to his animation than Mickey did. Given that the Genesis has a limited color palate compared to the SNES, Each level stands out and is extremely detailed.
I just love each of the areas that you can play through, It really puts you into the perspective of an archaeologist navigating through each of the stages. Whether you’re navigating through the tombs of Egypt, Sliding in and around the South Pole, or fighting ghosts in and around the Viking Ship.
The music in QuackShot is fairly good, with each of the tracks going along well with each of the respective levels. Nothing here was over the top or fantastic but overall a great soundtrack. Even the sound effects were great.
The only real downfall here is that I wish that Donald duck did have some voice sampling. Donald has a really distinguishable voice that could have been brought to life in Genesis.
The storyline is told in a short slideshow opening where Donald discovers a book in Uncle Scrooges Library telling the tale of an ancient hidden treasure of King Garuzia, the ruler of the mythical great duck kingdom. Donald also finds a map of an ancient hidden treasure and calls on Huey, Dewey and Louie to help him find this treasure. It just so happens that Big Bad Pete was spying on Donald the entire time, trying to beat him to the punch. Throughout the game you’ll have to fight off members of his gang.
The bosses offered very little in terms of challenge. Most of the patterns were downright laughable and can be figured out in a matter of a couple tries at most. I did like the animation of most of the bosses like the Viking Ghost, The Tiger even though they aren’t at all very difficult.
I guess it balances out some of the trickier platforming sections being a kids game and all.
QuackShot got great reviews back in 1992 and quite deservingly. Mega Tech Magazine gave it an 82 out of a possible hundred and said the graphics are excellent but the infinite continues make the game easy to complete.
This is true because QuackShot can be finished in a couple of hours at most once you get the hang of it.
QuackShot is an excellent platformer that leapfrogs most platformers on the Sega Genesis. Sega really did put together a catalog of great Disney titles released. Anyone who owns a Genesis should have a copy of QuackShot in their collection. It’s a great title to break out and play every so often.