If you want a simple nonsensical story about Chipmunks and a rich cat then you have come to the right place. Our recent play through at LBG took us to this Disney TV show adaption. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (NES) follows two chipmunks on a mission to rescue a kitten from Fat Cat. When did cats become the enemy of chipmunks? I saw this playout once at my house and the cat lost horribly to quick sharp clawed little buggers. Anyway, the kitten was a ruse for Fat Cat to kidnap Gadget (think Mario princess only chipmunk engineer) and have her invent things for him. Way to fight the power and never give in Gadget. For a game released in 1990, Capcom pushes the NES graphics to the limit and adds some unique gameplay elements to this side scrolling (which direction!) platformer.
The game feels similar to the New Super Mario Brothers as it provides highly active screens and the ability to “help” your partner. The screen is filled with enemies, blocks, and multiple levels of platforms. Items to pick up range from apples, cement blocks, and boxes. These are your main weapon against enemies. Certain items allow you to hide inside, Metal Gear eat your heart out. This allows the enemy to be the aggressor, dying when they touch the block. Aside from blocks, you can also pick up your partner. Once lifted they are unable to move and you can carry them as long as you like, and kill you both! Unfortunately, there is no way to get out of this. Please put me down! Your weapons also hit your partner and stun them. Sweet revenge! This competitive dynamic can be used to stop them from getting power ups, items, or simply to kill them.
The level design provides many different layers and planes. Instead of just two levels, there are usually three or four. This becomes essential with two players so that you can avoid hitting one another with flying objects. The game breaks up the side scrolling by going up on multiple occasions and even allowing you to scroll to the left (WOW!).
Music on a scale of Contra (Epic) to Hydlide (repeats every 15 seconds), it earns a Megaman 5 (good but not memorable. It is energetic and jazzy which fits the theme and keeps you moving and grooving throughout.
The biggest gameplay weakness is the bosses. Each boss works exactly the same with no variation. You find a red ball in the room. Pick it up. And throw it at the boss while dodging their projectiles. Really they could not think of any other ideas? Make it challenging and give us a limited number of boxes and a moving boss. Move the screen along while fighting? Naaaah…rinse and repeat!
The game is essentially a piece of candy. Enjoyable, but a short lived burst of energy that does not sustain the gamer long. The title was well received at the time it was released. Through the years though, this game does not stand up. It is quality for the NES, but ultimately the repetitive weak bosses and lack of difficulty hold the game back. It would have served better to force the player to beat all levels rather than letting them choose. It can easily be beaten in 30-40 minutes, and is enjoyable, but you likely will not be returning for more. Unless to sacrifice a friend chipmunk. Go Rescue Rangers.