The Disney Afternoon Collection is a compilation of six NES classics by Capcom that previously released throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Capitalizing on childhood nostalgia, this bundle is the perfect way to play older games based on the cartoons starring iconic Disney characters.
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Review platform: This game was reviewed on Xbox One with a review code provided by the publisher.
Release date: Apr 18, 2017
DuckTales, the oldest game out of the bunch, is one of the best games in this bundle along with its sequel. By using Scrooge McDuck’s cane as a pogo stick, players can hop across levels collecting money and various treasures. It’s easy to view this as an early influence for the jumping mechanic in Shovel Knight. These platforming levels more so than others encourage exploration. Tucked away areas and hidden rooms house secrets that can be uncovered throughout the diverse offering of environments. The controls are responsive, but the combat, if it can even be called that, is frustrating. While Scrooge can pogo hop to defeat enemies, he cannot swing his cane to do so. Instead, his cane swing destroys obstacles. In order to swing his cane, I would need to be pushing the analog stick in the direction of my attack. Doing this next to an enemy would cause me to walk into them and get injured. Still, both games’ strengths far outshine their weaknesses. Although DuckTales was completely remastered a few years ago, these ports are terrific in their own rights.
Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 1 and 2 feature the iconic chipmunks going on different missions that can be played alone or with a friend. The platforming in both of these games is merely average compared to nowadays, but they still play wonderfully. I would have liked a more sophisticated combat system, as the one currently implemented consists of picking up objects and throwing them in one of three directions, but that’s a byproduct of the time it was originally developed.
Darkwing Duck is one of the better titles, though not as good as DuckTales, in my opinion. Armed with a Gas Gun, Darkwing Duck has the most satisfying gameplay as he has the ability to shoot projectiles at his enemies while fighting crime in the city. This is arguably the hardest in the collection, in part due to its difficult bosses. Almost every boss battle contained multiple ledges which I needed grab onto while the boss jumped between them, moving above and below me. As I was dodging projectiles, it was difficult to jump onto the same platform as a boss to get a quick shot in before he would immediately jump to another level.
TaleSpin may be the most unique title in the bundle as it replaces the traditional platforming gameplay in favor of auto-scrolling while you fly an airplane. Unique, however, does not mean great, and I found this to be my least favorite title as it limited what I could do. The controls allow you to flip the plane upside down to fly in either direction, but no matter what, the screen is always scrolling. I couldn’t enjoy each level like I normally would when I was constantly worried whether a wall would crush me as the screen moved by.
You’d expect these types of games to run at a smooth frame rate on Xbox One, but that’s not the case. There were several instances, mainly while playing DuckTales and DuckTales 2, where the frame rate severely dropped and the gameplay slowed to a crawl as the screen tried to chug along with my movements. These occurrences only lasted for a couple of seconds each time at most, but it was jarring and odd that such simple titles could not hold a steady frame rate.
Every game in the collection can be played in its original format, but there are full screen and widescreen options as well. The latter options tend to stretch the image a little, but not to a point that they are unplayable. The original formats include borders with beautiful artwork for the game you are playing at that time.
One of the most welcome new additions is the introduction of a rewind mechanic. At any point during gameplay players can hold down the left bumper to correct past mistakes. In a similar fashion to rewinding a cartoon, you can rewind to an exact moment in any game, even after death, if you feel the need to. You can’t hold the rewind button down forever, but it is generous with the amount of time given during each rewind. This feature is a lifesaver and makes The Disney Afternoon Collection more accessible and appealing to young players. Instead of the unforgiving nature of retro titles, anyone can enjoy these games without putting too much pressure on themselves lest they screw up.
Time Attack and Boss Rush are two new modes added in this collection. Time Attack could pass as a speedrun mode as it has a baked in clock in the bottom corner of the screen. Taking away the ability to rewind or save, this mode challenges players to beat each game as fast as possible. Boss Rush is comprised of exclusively boss battles and tasks players with defeating bosses in the least amount of time as well. Both have online leaderboards to compete against other players. Though these modes are fine additions, they don’t offer a ton of variety, and I much preferred just playing each game like normal.
Soundtracks from each game can be chosen in the menu and the 8-bit chiptune music is fantastic. It’s hard not to be brought back to your childhood while listening to the soundtracks, reminiscing about watching cartoons on the television, even if I happen to have been born after these games and shows originally released. Thank god for reruns!
Another bonus in this collection is the Gallery. Featuring unpublished and original artwork, fun facts, and behind the scenes information about the games, players can scroll through and appreciate some of the work that went into the creation of these titles. The Gallery doesn’t add a whole lot of value to the bundle and it’s completely optional whether players even want to look at it, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
Though every game in The Disney Afternoon Collection is over twenty years old, they all hold up fairly well. The gameplay mechanics are simplistic and can feel a bit dated, but they are great versions of Disney classics. If you are looking for a game with exceptional and more modern gameplay, there are better retro-inspired games on the market. But if you are looking to play these for the nostalgia while taking advantage of their enhanced visual fidelity, this is the bundle to get, especially at its $20 price point.
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