Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!



#97 – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

If you ever wanted to throw a friend, here’s a great way to do it!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale!

To Beat: Reach the ending
Played: 8/12/18
Difficulty: 4/10
My Difficulty: 3/10
My Video: Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Longplay

We are almost at 100 NES games into this project, yet somehow this will be the fourth Disney Afternoon NES game on the list already. Sure, I handpicked DuckTales to round out my first ten games, but then TaleSpin followed quickly after. DuckTales 2 was beaten just a few months ago. I did not watch much of those cartoons in the Disney Afternoon lineup, but I sure played a ton of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers over the years. Time to play it again and document it all!

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was an animated series from Walt Disney Television Animation. It was created by Tad Stones and Alan Zaslove. The series technically started with a preview episode that aired in August 1988. The full series began on the Disney Channel in March 1989 with a 13-episode run in its first season, which included that preview episode. Season 2 ran 47 episodes from September 1989 through May 1990. The first five episodes of the season were initially created as a standalone movie named Rescue Rangers: To the Rescue. The third and final season was an abbreviated five episode run from September 1990 through November 1990. Reruns were aired as part of the Disney Afternoon from 1990 through 1993.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is one of the few releases to launch near simultaneously in both Japan and the US. Both the Famicom version, named Chip to Dale no Daisakusen, and the NES version were released June 1990. The PAL version would wait until December 1991. There was also a port to the Playchoice-10 arcade machine. Capcom both developed and published this game. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was included as part of the Disney Afternoon Collection compilation released in 2017.

Small cutscenes progress the story.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a side-scrolling platformer. The Rescue Rangers work together to find their neighbor Mandy’s missing kitten. Chip and Dale go hot on the trail and fend off a bunch of mysterious robotic enemies. It turns out to be a distraction as their enemy Fat Cat captures Gadget, one of the Rescue Rangers. Now the remaining Rescue Rangers have to work their way through several levels to find and defeat Fat Cat. Simply reach the ending of this story to beat this game.

At the start of the game you decide if you want to play single player or two-player mode. In single player you then get to pick if you want to control either Chip or Dale. Both play the same so just pick the one you like more. In two-player mode, player 1 is Chip and player 2 is Dale. Two-player mode is simultaneous play which I have found is a big draw to this game.

The controls are normal platformer controls. You move around with the D-pad and press A to jump. You can control your fall with the D-pad for good old precision movement. Hold Down to duck low, and if you press A then you will jump down through ledges. The B button is used to pick up and throw objects. Normally you will throw crates but there are other things you can grab. Push into the crate from the side and press B to pick it up. You can move around like normal when holding a crate. Press B to throw the crate sideways the length of the screen. You can hold Up and press B to throw a crate straight above your head, like you have super strength. If you duck while holding a crate you will hide inside of it. You’ll see your character’s eyes peeking out. While hiding like this, enemies can walk right into the crate and take damage, acting like a shield of sorts. If you throw the crate while hiding you will throw it low across the ground. In the two-player mode, you can throw crates at each other, stunning your partner briefly. You can also pick the other player up, carry him through the level, and throw him around. Press Start to pause the game, and press Select to also pause the game and bring up a status screen.

Always carry a crate along.

A little information is on-screen during play, and the rest of it is shown on the status screen. The top of the screen shows your health meter in the corner. You get three hearts of health and damage from an enemy causes you to lose a heart. In this game there is no way to extend the maximum health meter. There is also a C or a D displayed above the health depending on if you are playing as Chip or Dale. The status screen from pressing Select shows your character portrait along with the number of lives, flowers, and stars you have collected.

There are powerups and collectibles you can find. Flowers are the most common item you will see all the time out in the open. Meanwhile, stars are usually found hidden behind a crate. Once you collect either 100 flowers or 20 stars, a 1up star will float into play from the side of the screen. You can occasionally find 1up stars hidden in crates. You can tell the difference as 1up stars flash colors and normal stars do not. Health-restoring acorns can also be found in crates. Normal acorns restore one heart and blinking acorns restore all health. While not a powerup, I want to also mention the metal crates. You can’t throw these, but you can pick them up, drop them, and stack them to build makeshift stairs.

Large treasure boxes may hold special items. You can find full-health acorns inside them sometimes. You can find a powerup with the letter P on it that helps you carry heavy items. There are some things like large apples that you can pick up but they slow your movement and you can’t jump as high. When carrying an apple you can see Chip or Dale visibly sweat because it’s so heavy. With the P powerup you can carry big items the same as normal ones. Boxes may contain a hunk of cheese that lures fellow Rescue Ranger Monterey Jack. He will go after the cheese while knocking a hole in the wall that opens up the next screen. The best powerup is Zipper, another Rescue Ranger. He provides temporary invincibility and knocks out all your enemies for you while it lasts.

Choose your own adventure!

You jump right into the action after the initial story sequence in a new game. The end of this level is when Gadget gets captured. After a message from one of the characters, you get to choose the next level you want to play from the map. Each area is identified by a letter of the alphabet, and you can fly your plane to the one to want. Of course, you have to beat a level before you can pass it on the map to the next one.

At the end of each level before the map screen, you get to play a bonus game. This is a single-screen platforming segment with a few crates that have items inside. You want to find stars and 1up stars here if you can, but the bonus game is over so quickly that you have to be intentional on where you want to look. In two-player mode this is especially devious as you can stun the other player with thrown crates, losing precious bonus time in the process.

The levels themselves are mostly straightforward platforming. There are locations where everything is large in contrast to your small size. You can run around library books or jump over steaming pots in the kitchen. Some stages have interactive elements. For instance, you can turn off streams of water in the way by jumping on top of and turning the tap. You can also hit switches with crates to turn things on and off. The path of the level may take you in any direction, but you always stay on track and the screen doesn’t scroll to let you backtrack.

Turn the tap to shut off the upper valve also.

Most stages end in a boss battle. Instead of the bosses dropping throwable items, you get a single red ball used to attack. This ball acts like the crates but it is permanent. Throw it into each boss five times to defeat it. The ball always rebounds off the wall and flies backwards before dropping to the ground after its next collision with one of the sides. This is so you can’t lose the ball behind some of the larger bosses in the game.

You start the game with three lives. You can play when the status screen shows zero lives remaining, so you always have one more life than it appears. The same thing happens with continues. You can continue up to three times from the start of the stage where you died. Before your last continue, the Game Over screen will display “Continue 0.” I think it’s nice to have what feels like an extra continue just in case you need it!

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was a game I’ve owned since I was a kid and I have played through the game countless times. We did not own this new, but it sold well enough that there were a lot of second-hand copies floating around. I don’t recall how I got my first copy but I have had a few other copies I bought within game lots on eBay. As a popular, yet common game, it always sells for around $10-$15.

This huge boss is probably some kid’s toy robot.

I have played a lot of this game, but I hadn’t played it recently. I liked the idea of trying to beat the game without dying, but this time I just wanted to beat the game well enough to move on to the next one on my list. I died four or five times in my run and I didn’t get too far in before I died the first time. It’s not a great outcome, but I’m satisfied with it. I made sure to play all the stages. Poor Area E gets ignored by just about everyone since there’s really no reason to play it due to its location on the map. I wanted to give it part of the spotlight during my playthrough because it’s a good level like the others.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a great NES game suitable for any collection. It has colorful and detailed graphics, peppy music, responsive controls, and fun levels. The enemies and traps are interesting with some creative behavior and interactivity, and the boss battles are well made. The levels are in some unusual but clever settings and they really suit the game well. My only gripes are that the game feels a bit too short and the game difficulty is mostly easy. A few of the levels can be skipped over entirely making for an even quicker game if that’s what you want. These are minor complaints. This is an excellent game made even better by supporting two players. Games like this tend to make me crave more of it, but lucky for me there’s an NES sequel coming up someday. I haven’t yet played Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2, nor do I know much about it at all, so I am very much looking forward to playing it!

#97 – Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers


#70 – Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

You won’t need any cat-like reflexes to get through Puss ‘N Boots.

This static title screen’s theme music has an ending.

To Beat: Reach the ending
Played: 1/7/18
Difficulty: 2/10
My Difficulty: 2/10
Video: Puss ‘N Boots Longplay

Most people familiar with NES games know of the concept “Nintendo Hard.” Things like limited continues, unfair enemy patterns, fragile heroes, and little to no checkpoints are just some of the features of games that have this reputation. In this case, Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure has virtually none of these issues. That sounds great, but what is left is a game that is super short and way too easy. I’ll spend far more time explaining the game than it took me to play it. Maybe Puss ‘N Boots is the kind of romp that you might be looking for in an NES game, so read on to see if it’s something you might want to try on for size.

You have to go way back to find the roots of this game’s character. Puss in Boots is an old European fairy tale about a cat who tricks others in order to gain power and fame. The oldest known telling of the story was from the Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola around the year 1550. The most famous version of this story was later written by French author Charles Perrault in 1697 within a collection of eight fairy tales. There were many adaptations and retellings of this fairy tale, and the one of importance here is the 1969 Japanese animated film The Wonderful World of Puss ‘n Boots by Toei Animation. In this version, the cat was named Pero after Charles Perrault and he would become the mascot for Toei Animation.

Starting off within a ghost town.

There are two games based on The Wonderful World of Puss ‘N Boots. The first is the Famicom exclusive Nagagutsu o Haita Neko: Sekai Isshu 80 Nichi Dai Boken. It was released in November 1986, published by Toei Animation and developed by Shouei System. The developer is mostly known for Fist of the North Star games in addition to Puss ‘N Boots. The NES received the sequel Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure in June 1990. The games are both loosely based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days and are quite similar in style and structure. The NES game was also developed by Shouei System but published by Electro Brain.

The story is a little bit more interesting than your typical NES game. You play the role of Pero who was ordered by Count Gruemon to get rid of a mouse in his castle. Pero befriended the mouse and helped him escape. This really upset Count Gruemon, so he enlisted the help of Dr. Gari-gari to send Pero in a time machine to the past. To make matters worse, Pero is being pursued by hitmen from the Cat Kingdom because Pero violated Cat Kingdom law by helping a mouse. Pero must travel through seven different areas all over the world in order to track down and defeat Count Gruemon and Dr. Gari-gari and take their time machine to get back home. Do this and you beat the game.

Puss ‘N Boots is a side-scrolling platformer with a typical control scheme. You use the D-Pad to walk around left and right. Press the A button to jump and press B to fire your weapon. The Start button pauses the game. While paused, you can press Left or Right to select one of Pero’s three weapons. Then press B to equip the weapon and unpause the game. Pero can squat by holding Down. If you are standing on top of a ledge, you can squat and press B to fall through the platform. I’m not sure if this even works since I didn’t need to try it.

Pero travels by steamboat in mostly calm waters.

All of Pero’s weapons have unlimited use and you can pick whichever one you want at any time. The default pistol fires a straight bullet ahead. The bomb is thrown in more of an arc. It goes upward a little bit and then falls quickly, exploding when it hits the ground. It’s useful for lower targets. The boomerang is a pretty large weapon that is thrown in a huge loop spanning most of the length and height of the screen. You can have two pistol shots on-screen at once, but only a single bomb or boomerang.

There are a bunch of vehicles you get to ride throughout the game, all with slightly different controls and capabilities. The ship floats on top of the water. All you can do it in is fire missiles straight ahead or move left and right. The underwater submarine can move in all directions and you can also raise it by holding the A button. The B button fires torpedoes that can destroy pieces of land that get in your way. The car has the same missiles as the ship, but you can jump and move similar to how Pero moves on foot. The airplane has the same movement as the submarine but is armed with a machine gun that functions similarly to the missiles, and it only faces to the right so you can’t shoot behind you. The hot air balloon is more like the submarine but uses missiles like the ship and the car.

There are some items you can find along the way. The boot makes Pero invincible briefly and awards 500 points. The hamburger is also worth 500 points and restores some of Pero’s health. The money bag is just for additional points, but you can earn either 1000 or 3000 points each. The Pero face powerup is an extra life. You can see Pero’s remaining lives, health, score, high score, and weapon selection at the bottom of the screen during play.

Just driving through the desert, no big deal.

Puss ‘N Boots has quite the variety of enemies. For the most part, the enemies are suitable for the levels they are found in. There are pirate ships on top of the water, piranhas in the water, and birds and other balloons while airborne. There are weird enemies too, such as flying horseshoes and UFO’s. Perhaps my favorite are the giant lightning bolts that you can blow up with your firepower. Puss ‘N Boots also features a few boss battles at the end of some stages. These are neat but don’t really make much sense. After the ocean stage, for instance, the boss is this giant mechanical frog. You have to hit him in the mouth while he spews out smaller frogs. Bosses have a health bar displayed below yours during these fights.

Pero begins his journey with two extra lives. I don’t think you can earn more lives with your score, just by grabbing 1ups. If you lose all your lives you may continue. There is a Continue option on the title screen that starts you off with three more lives. Either using a continue or resuming after death puts you back at the most recent checkpoint. Some levels don’t have any checkpoints and other stages have more than one part to them with a checkpoint at the start of each section. It’s a generous system. The catch is that you can only continue three times before starting over from scratch.

This was my first time playing Puss ‘N Boots. It’s not the most common game out there, but it is inexpensive. I’m pretty sure I got my copy in one of those eBay bulk lots I bought often while actively collecting. It wasn’t until after that that I learned that it is regarded as one of the easiest NES games. It did seem pretty simple when I tested my cart out but I only played a couple of minutes.

Puss ‘N Boots is also part shooter.

The game’s reputation did not disappoint. I was able to beat Puss ‘N Boots in 20 minutes on my first try. It’s such a simple game and you don’t even have to take your time in the levels to have a decent shot at getting through successfully, at least until the end of the game. Most of the experience is move to the right and defeat any enemies that approach you. The final area is a door maze that also has some sections that scroll upward. There are two bosses in this stage. The first one isn’t too bad, but the final boss is surprisingly tricky and easily the most difficult part of the game. It’s easy to have your health sucked away fast. I used up a bunch of lives here but eventually I got through. I would have given the game a 1/10 difficulty rating up until the final boss.

There is nothing notable about Puss ‘N Boots on the NES. It doesn’t look very good for a 1990 NES game. I don’t recall anything about the music. They tried to introduce some variety with the different vehicles and weapons, but everything feels roughly the same. The physics feel very unpolished. Jumping and throwing projectiles is rigid, and you move forward faster by jumping all the time. Levels are straightforward and end before they get going. It’s the brevity of it all that makes Puss ‘N Boots completely forgettable. If you are in the mood for a short, easy game or get a thrill out of beating something new, then this is definitely the game for you. Games like this are very welcome for my kind of long-term project but aren’t all that interesting otherwise. You aren’t missing anything special if you take a pass on Puss ‘N Boots.

#70 – Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

#70 – Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure