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The Disney Afternoon Collection

The Disney Afternoon Collection

Written by Russell Archey on 5/4/2017 for PC  
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Back when I was a kid, I was a pretty big fan of some Disney cartoons, namely Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers and DuckTales.  When video games were released based on two of my favorite cartoons I was pretty happy to put it mildly.  Over the years the Disney NES games have become some of my favorite games on the system…most of them anyway (Adventures in the Magic Kingdom…enough said).  Then I saw that Capcom was releasing six of those games in a compilation on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One.  Even though I have the original carts for most of those games, this was still a no brainer for me, but what about for others who grew up with the games or for younger players who have never played these games?  Let’s take a look at The Disney Afternoon Collection and find out.

The Disney Afternoon Collection is a compilation that includes six classic NES games based on four of the most popular Disney cartoons from the late 80s and early 90s: Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2, DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Talespin, and Darkwing Duck.  Each of these, save for Talespin, are side-scrolling platformers whereas Talespin is an auto-scrolling shooter.  Each game has its own unique charm to them though have roughly the same goals: get to the end of each stage and defeat the boss.  The path to getting there though usually isn't just a straight forward path and each game brings their own unique mechanics to the table.

Talespin is probably the second most straight-forward game on the compilation behind Rescue Rangers 2.  The goal is to simply fly to the end of each level while collecting cargo boxes and money bags while taking care of the enemies that Shere Khan has sent to try and stop you.  After defeating the boss of a stage you’ll go to Wildcat’s hanger and can upgrade your plane, called the mini-Seaduck, with a few parts such as rapid fire, extra speed, and an extra hit point.  Again, it’s pretty straight forward.  Darkwing Duck is probably one of the more challenging games on this compilation while still being somewhat straight forward.  The game is split into three segments and you can choose any of three stages in the first two segments in any order you wish while the final segment is taking down Steelbeak, the lead villain in the game.  Beyond that it’s your standard platformer where you complete the stage and take out the boss.  Early on the game isn’t too difficult, even for younger players, but the later stages and enemies can prove to be a bit challenging and has a nice difficulty curve to it for the most part.

Both of the Rescue Rangers games play about the same way except that in the first game you can kind of choose your path in a couple of instances, possibly avoiding a stage or two that you’re having difficulty with, while the second game is completely linear until near the end where you’ll have a choice of three stages you can tackle however you wish.  The goal of the games are to reach the end of each stage and defeat the boss, uniquely done in these games by picking up boxes and other objects and hurling them at enemies.  In Rescue Rangers 2 you can even stun certain enemies and pick them up to hurl at other enemies.  Kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  While the original Rescue Rangers can be pretty easy overall with minimal difficulty until the last few stages, Rescue Rangers 2 ups that a bit with the bosses being a bit more challenging until you play them a few times and learn how they work.  That doesn’t make it any less fun however.

Finally we have DuckTales  and DuckTales 2 which play pretty much the exact same way: you pick your stage from five different locations such as The Amazon and Egypt, then pogo your way across them on your cane while searching for treasure…they did a pretty good job of incorporating the theme of the show in the games.  DuckTales was pretty basic in this format as you did have a few extra items you could find such as a couple of extra health points and a couple of other treasures to net you some more money, but DuckTales 2 expanded on that a bit with the ability to find upgrades to your cane to allow you to pull and break objects you normally couldn’t to open up new areas and find shortcuts.  DuckTales 2 also includes a shop between stages where you can buy items, plus there’s a treasure map with seven pieces you can collect that will open up a new hidden area.  Both games are very enjoyable, as is pretty much every game in this compilation.

However, if you’ve grown up with these games then you’re probably a bit more interested in the extras.  The first is the new rewind feature which is present in each game when doing a normal playthrough.  The rewind feature lets you literally rewind the game back a bit in case you accidentally fell down a pit or are having difficulty with a certain section of the game and keep taking too much damage.  It’s essentially intended for younger players, and that I have no issue with since it’s completely optional (though you can’t re-bind the rewind button to something you’re less likely to accidentally hit).  I do find it amusing that you can rewind the game at any point, including after you’ve already beaten the game, and the music and sound effects rewind with the gameplay, which just sounds weird, yet awesome at the same time.

The bulk of the extras are a few galleries of items such as promotional artwork and some early screenshots and sketches, and even the full soundtracks for each game which is nice, though I do have a couple of minor nitpicks with them.  While a couple of the features do have a decent spread between the four franchises represented in the compilation, a couple of them seem to lean heavily towards DuckTales.  Don’t get me wrong, I love DuckTales and it’s my second favorite series represented here behind Rescue Rangers, but it would have been nice to see a little more stuff from the other games.  Also, one of my favorite extra features is the collection of every game box for the NES, Game Boy, and Famicom versions of the games.  However, I’m curious as to where they got the boxes because a few of the NES boxes looks kind of beat up and one of them is even missing one of the edge flaps on top.  Yeah it’s a minor nitpick, but the presentation for a couple of them seems a bit lacking.

However, the best parts of this compilation for me are the Time Trials and Boss Rush modes.  Each game has these two features and their implementation is very well done with one minor nitpick which I’ll get to in a moment.  They function as they sound and they’ll keep track of your best runs through each, allowing you to compare your times against other players and even view replays of said runs.  The Boss Rushes even have time splits so you can see how you did for each boss compared to your best run, similar to how speedrunners use programs such as WSplit in their runs.  My only real nitpick is actually with unlocking achievements.  Each individual game has three achievements: beat the game, beat the game’s Time Trial in under two hours, and beat the game’s Boss Rush in under one hour.  Sadly, you can’t obtain the first two of those just by beating the Time Trial in under two hours: you can only unlock the “beat the game” achievement by beating the game normally and not in Time Trial.  I kind of understand that concept, but still a bit of a misstep in my opinion as to unlock everything you have to beat each game twice.

My final nitpick is actually with the controls.  For the record, I reviewed the Steam version of this game so this shouldn’t apply to Xbox One or PS4 users, but the Steam version seems to be pretty picky on what controllers are compatible with it.  I have three USB controllers that I know are compatible with other games on Steam: an Xbox 360 controller, a PS4 controller, and a Super NES USB controller.  Of those three, the only one The Disney Afternoon Collection would recognize natively was my Xbox 360 controller.  However, the controller is getting pretty worn out and I know the A button has its issues, so I ended up downloading an program to make Windows think my PS4 controller was an Xbox controller and that worked perfectly fine with no input lag that I could detect.  It’s weird though because you would think that since this was released on the PS4 as well that the Steam version would natively recognize a PS4 controller, but I digress.

Overall, this is a very well done compilation of six classic NES games with only a few missteps here and there.  While I’m still waiting patiently for a Rescue Rangers remastered, it is nice to be able to play several of my favorite NES games without having to hope my NES will still power on and work.  As a bit of a speedrunner, I really enjoyed the Time Trials and Boss Rush options and those will likely be the two things I’ll keep coming back to.  While the gallery options and pictures were a bit lacking (outside of DuckTales anyway), it’s still a nice inclusion to an already great compilation.  Plus being able to play DuckTales 2 and Rescue Rangers 2 without breaking the bank is a nice touch as well.

The Disney Afternoon Collection is a pretty solid compilation of six classic Disney NES games.  The extras included are a nice touch, even if some of the gallery pictures are skewed more toward Ducktales. But the time trial and boss rush features are great for veterans to see how they stack up to the rest of the world, while the rewind feature is great for younger players.  Plus you can play two rare NES games without shelling out hundreds of dollars for the original carts.

Rating: 8.8 Class Leading

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I began my lifelong love of gaming at an early age with my parent's Atari 2600.  Living in the small town that I did, arcades were pretty much non-existent so I had to settle for the less than stellar ports on the Atari 2600.  For a young kid my age it was the perfect past time and gave me something to do before Boy Scout meetings, after school, whenever I had the time and my parents weren't watching anything on TV.  I recall seeing Super Mario Bros. played on the NES at that young age and it was something I really wanted.  Come Christmas of 1988 (if I recall) Santa brought the family an NES with Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and I've been hooked ever since.

Over 35 years from the first time I picked up an Atari joystick and I'm more hooked on gaming than I ever have been.  If you name a system, classics to moderns, there's a good chance I've not only played it, but own it.  My collection of systems spans multiple decades, from the Odyssey 2, Atari 2600, and Colecovision, to the NES, Sega Genesis, and Panasonic 3DO, to more modern systems such as the Xbox One and PS4, and multiple systems in between as well as multiple handhelds.  As much as I consider myself a gamer I'm also a game collector.  I love collecting the older systems not only to collect but to play (I even own and still play a Virtual Boy from time to time).  I hope to bring those multiple decades of gaming experience to my time here at Gaming Nexus in some fashion.
These days when I'm not working my day job in the fun filled world of retail, I'm typically working on my backlog of games collecting dust on my bookshelf or trying to teach myself C# programming, as well as working on some projects over on YouTube and streaming on Twitch.  I've been playing games from multiple generations for over 35 years and I don't see that slowing down any time soon.
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