Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!

#78 – DuckTales 2

Scrooge McDuck decided he didn’t have enough money after all.

Look at that shiny gold!

To Beat: Reach the ending
To Complete: Beat the game with the best ending
What I Did: Completed the game with all endings
Played: 3/12/18 – 3/15/18
Difficulty: 3/10
My Difficulty: 3/10
My Video: DuckTales 2 Longplay with Best Ending

It’s another milestone of my Take On The NES Library project, sort of. DuckTales 2 is not the first sequel on my list. That goes to Super Mario Bros. 2. However, DuckTales 2 is the first direct sequel, in the sense that it is basically the same game. Milestones are going to be harder to find the longer I go into the project, so I like pointing them out and celebrating the ones we have. DuckTales 2 doesn’t do a whole lot in changing the formula of the original game, but I think that’s okay. NES DuckTales is quite good, and more of the same shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

For more information on the background of this series, check out my DuckTales review.

DuckTales 2 was first released on the Famicom in April 1993. The NES release in North America followed in June 1993, and a PAL release followed later in the year. It was published by Capcom. Make Software is credited as the developer, although from what I can find, they may have only been responsible for the sound engine in the game. My belief is that Capcom and Make Software co-developed the game. That is pure speculation on my part just because of how similar this game is to the original DuckTales which was developed by Capcom. A Game Boy port followed in November 1993 in North America and December 1993 in Japan.

Travel the world in search of treasure again!

DuckTales 2 is a side-scrolling platformer where you control Scrooge McDuck. The story begins with Huey running to Scrooge with a torn piece of paper. They figure out that it is a portion of a treasure map left by the late Fergus McDuck. Naturally, they want to try and rebuild the map so they can locate the lost treasure of McDuck. Scrooge and company start an expedition to five different locations both to find the remaining portions of the map and to collect highly guarded treasures along the way.

The game controls the same as the first game. You walk around with the D-pad and you can duck by holding Down. The A button jumps. While jumping, if you hold Down and B you use your cane as a pogo stick. You bounce high off the ground, and this is how you defeat enemies and pass over spikes. If you walk into a wall or solid block for a little bit, you will see Scrooge stand in place for as long as you hold the direction button. If you press B in this state, he will swing his cane like a golf club and whack the object next to him. You can also jump with A in this state and then swing your cane to hit objects off the ground. You can press Start to pause.

A few features were added to DuckTales 2. Scrooge’s cane is used to hook certain objects. Perform the golf swing on these things to grab onto them with the cane instead of hitting them. You can then hold the opposite direction on the D-pad to pull on them. You can drag certain blocks on the ground, as well as pull switches and activate objects. Release the B button to let go of your hooked object. There are hooks above the ground that you can grab onto simply by jumping to them. Press A again while hooked to jump off or press Down to fall.

Scrooge’s cane is more versatile.

At the start of the game, you see a map of the game world. There are five levels and you can play them in any order you like. Simply use the D-pad to move a cursor to the different stages. The icon next to a stage will show Scrooge’s face if you have already completed the level once. Otherwise, it shows the treasure you can find guarded by the boss at the end of the stage. Launchpad will read some information about the level you selected. You can choose to play that stage or switch to a different one.

There are three equipment upgrades you can find. You can speak with characters by walking up to them. Normally they give you some advice about the level you are in. In certain levels, you can find and talk to Gyro and he will give you an adaptor upgrade for your cane. The hammer adaptor gives you a more powerful golf swing, the iron adaptor gives you a stronger pogo jump, and the power adaptor lets you pull heavier things. They are applied automatically when you get them and they are permanent. Now you can break or pull certain blocks that hide treasure or other paths you can explore.

Like in the original game, you can find different items in the stages. Sometimes enemies will drop jewels that add to your money total at the top of the screen. Small diamonds are worth $1000, large diamonds give you $10,000, and red diamonds yield $50,000. Items mostly come out of treasure boxes, both small and large, that you can open by bopping them with your cane, either by pogo jump or golf swing. Boxes may also hide ice cream cones that restore one point of health and cakes that refill your entire health meter. Extra lives in the shape of a small Scrooge also appear occasionally inside a treasure box. A couple large treasure boxes hide special treasures that are worth a million dollars each. Also, each stage has one large treasure box containing a piece of the treasure map. The difficulty level chosen on the title screen influences the items you’ll find. The harder difficulties have fewer health recovery items, replacing them with jewels.

Check every nook and cranny for the map pieces.

DuckTales 2 features an item shop. Like in the first game, each level ends in a boss fight and you earn a treasure worth a million dollars. Combine that with your earnings from the stage, and then you get a chance to spend it in the item shop. Two items in the shop are ones you can bring into the stages. The cake acts just like the cake item from the treasure chests, but this one you can use anytime. Pause the game, then use the D-pad to scroll through your items to select the cake. The other item is the safe, but unlike the cake you don’t have to use it through the menu. The safe lets you keep your money earned if you lose a life within a stage. Normally you lose your accrued cash when you die. You can buy extra lives and a continue globe that lets you continue if you run out of lives. The extra energy item adds a point to your maximum health. You begin with three points and can buy two of these items to get up to five health. You can also buy a piece of the treasure map, but this isn’t always for sale.

Here are the five stages in the game:

Niagara Falls: This is the first level in the list and not a bad one to start off with. This level has water in it that you can cross on a life raft. Knock the raft into the water and smack the wall while standing on the raft to push it to the other side. There are logs falling down the falls that you must cross, as well as a crumbling bridge.

Bermuda Triangle: This stage takes place on a ship near the Bermuda triangle. This level has barrels that you can smack with your cane that sometimes give diamonds. One neat object is a cannon that you can fire by hooking with your cane and pulling a cannonball loose. There are also conveyor belts that you can drive by pulling them with the cane.

Behold the rare spring blossom!

Mu: This level takes you below ground passing through the ruins of past civilization. There is an ancient city here that can give you something special if you can find it. There is a flower that you can tug on with your cane to springboard you across a large gap. It’s the only one in the game but it’s neat.

Egypt: This pyramid level is the most maze-like stage of all. It has several looping paths and hidden floors. There’s a lot of treasure for the taking if you are willing to look for it.

Scotland: This stage is a large castle, and there are plenty of knights and spikes to contend with. One enemy here is a floating hand carrying a lantern. It shows up a lot and sometimes you can bounce off it to reach treasures.

There’s a bit more to play past these five stages. Scrooge’s rival, Flintheart Glomgold, appears on the pirate ship. You have to go there and deal with him to beat the game. If you can find all seven pieces of the map, you get to play one additional level containing the lost treasure of McDuck before the final showdown.

Snakes and quicksand are a dangerous combination.

This was my first time playing DuckTales 2. It’s one of those late lifespan NES games that is both fun to play and very expensive to buy. A loose cart sells around $125 these days. It has been near that amount for several years now. The first DuckTales game was popular enough that DuckTales 2 seems to have sold decently well for a 1993 NES game. I say that because it is easier to find than many of the other expensive NES games. I have seen a few copies for sale in stores since I’ve been looking for games, and I can’t say that for other games this costly. It’s also the most expensive NES game I’ve owned more than one copy of. I bought my first one for $100 on eBay, and the other I found in an eBay lot of six games that I bought for $60 total.

I struggled a little bit more playing DuckTales 2 than I would have expected. I got Game Over a couple of times while I was l learning the levels and looking around for secrets. I suppose it’s easy to be careless when you aren’t focusing solely on surviving and beating levels. Once I committed to buying the health upgrades and whatever else I needed, I didn’t have any problems beating the game after that. I got the normal ending of the game with plenty of lives to spare.

Getting the best ending like I wanted took a little more effort. Through normal play and exploration, I found all of the map pieces but two. The one in Niagara Falls I thought was very well hidden. I found that one last though I found it on my own. The map piece in Egypt gave me real trouble. To get it, you have to solve a puzzle that opens a gate leading to the map segment. There’s a clue before the area that gives you the hint needed to solve it, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I tried everything I could think of and got nowhere. I had to look up the solution to that one online. I gave it my best try so I have no issues with looking up the answer, even if I prefer not to.

These lantern hands show up in tricky spots.

Just like in the first DuckTales game, there is a third, bad ending if you finish the game with no money remaining. There’s a clearer path to the ending in DuckTales 2 because you can spend extra money in the shop, and you spend in smaller amounts than in the first game. If you need some extra money to balance it out, or simply more chances to buy in the shop, you can leave a level through Launchpad. This lets you keep the money you have earned in the stage plus lets you shop again. You can do this as many times as you want. I was able to get the bad ending on my second try. This means I got all three endings in DuckTales 2.

I think DuckTales 2 is a little bit easier than the first game. I rated DuckTales a 4/10 and gave DuckTales 2 a 3/10. Most of that difference is due to the ability to purchase additional lives and continues. Another difference is that I believe you can earn unlimited money in DuckTales 2. In the original, you could only leave with Launchpad once per stage. Here you can revisit a level you are good at, take the money or any extra lives you can find, and leave with Launchpad as many times as you want. It’s grinding made easy. The difficulty of the levels themselves are roughly the same in my mind. It’s not a complete pushover of a game but it shouldn’t take experienced players very long to beat.

DuckTales 2 is a great NES game, but doesn’t offer as much as you might expect from a sequel. The graphics, music, controls, and gameplay are all top notch. It’s the kind of quality you would expect from a Capcom-published NES game from the 90s. The upgrades are nice and help add a bit of exploration to the game even though it can be a little tedious replaying stages. The levels all have a good amount of secrets to find, as well as branching paths and some neat obstacles to interact with. It’s a fine game, but it does feel just like the first DuckTales game. I appreciate games like DuckTales 2 that give you more of what you want. I know not everyone feels that way. Plus, it’s hard to recommend buying the game when it’s so expensive and is over so quickly. It’s worth a play any way you can manage it if you like DuckTales.

#78 – DuckTales 2 (Best Ending)

#78 – DuckTales 2

Posted In: Finished

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