The Disney Afternoon Collection (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Back in the late 80’s and early to mid 90’s, Disney had a block of weekday after school cartoons on TV called The Disney Afternoon.  They featured such memorable and high-quality shows like DuckTales, Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and many more.  Tons of people, including myself, have very fond memories watching these cartoons as kids.  I guarantee that if you search for Disney Afternoon on the Web or YouTube, you’ll find lots of folks gushing about these shows.  Anyway, around this time, game maker Capcom published some licensed games based on many Disney Afternoon properties for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Back then, just like today, most licensed games were not very good.  But Capcom bucked that trend with their Disney games, as most of them were just as good as what the best the NES had to offer.  In fact, Capcom’s Disney and Mega Man games were more memorable to me as a kid than Mario!  Anyway, many other gamers can attest to the statement that these games were good.  And now, Capcom has gathered six of these classics in a compilation called The Disney Afternoon Collection.  Although they might as well have called it The Cary’s Childhood Collection.  Anyway, you can download this set of games on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but it’s reviewed on PS4 here.

The six games on this collection are all 2-D in nature, but are mostly very different games.  DuckTales is a 2-D platformer where you play as Scrooge McDuck, and you use your cane in creative ways to defeat enemies and bypass obstacles.  You can tackle the sprawling stages in any order, and can explore every nook and cranny to find hidden treasures.  This game was so popular that a couple of years ago, Capcom released a Remastered version.  DuckTales 2 was released a few years later and is more of the same, but now Scrooge can do a few more things with his cane and find upgrades for it, too.

Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers is also a 2-D platformer, but it focuses more on action rather than exploration.  You can play with one or two player co-op as Chip or Dale as you run, jump, pick up objects (or each other), and toss them at bad guys.  The sequel is more of the same as well.  TaleSpin is more of a 2-D shooter as you control Baloo in a pint-sized version of his Sea Duck plane as you shoot down enemies and collect cargo for points that you can spend to upgrade your plane.  And finally is Darkwing Duck, which plays very similarly to Mega Man.

They’ve added a few new features to this collection.  Probably the most handy one is the rewind button.  At any time during the games, you can push a button to rewind your actions in case you make a mistake.  NES games are known for being brutally hard, and while Capcom’s Disney games were a bit easier, there are some parts in these games that are a bit tough, so this feature makes those games a bit more accessible (TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck are especially more difficult).

There are also Boss Rush and Time Attack modes for each of these games, and they’re really fun.  You can even see leaderboards for each mode and watch how they got their times in replays.  There is also a gallery where you can view cool artwork and interesting facts about the games.  And they all look super sharp and crisp in 1080p.  Plus you can save your progress in any game.

It was really hard for me to find any problems about these games, but I guess there are a couple of minor ones.  20 bucks may seem like a lot for a handful of NES games that you can beat in a couple of hours each, but when you look to see how much the cartridges for these games cost now, it doesn’t seem so bad.  Some may complain that this game isn’t on the Switch, which is a shame, but I don’t think that’s Capcom’s fault.  I think it’s Nintendo for keeping their upcoming Virtual Console service so secretive.  We don’t even know what it’ll be like, and that may be what’s preventing Capcom from putting this collection on that console.  And finally, it would’ve been nice to have seen some of Capcom’s SNES offerings on here, like Goof Troop (which unlike the cartoon, the game was surprisingly good).  But those are only minor problems and this is still a highly recommended collection.

Kid Factor:

The Disney Afternoon Collection is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Mild Fantasy Violence and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco.  When you beat enemies or get defeated yourself, characters just fall off the screen and that’s it.  In the first Rescue Rangers game, when you battle Fat Cat, he flicks cigar ashes at you as an attack, so that’s where the use of tobacco comes from.  Just a sign of the times, really.  Use of alcohol is even stretching it further, as the only things I could find is that in the Rescue Rangers Casino Stage, you can climb on giant wine glasses as platforms.  And in the sequel, one of the bosses drinks something that lets him breath fire (could be alcohol, could be hot sauce) But that’s it.

When people ask me what games are good to start kids out on, I usually recommend older games like arcade and console classics.  They are easier to understand and the controls are simpler and the games are less violent.  And these are good examples of those kinds of games.  Normally, NES games are brutally hard, but Capcom knew their audience back then with these titles so most of them are a bit easier.  And the rewind feature makes them even more accessible.  Plus, I loved these games so much as a kid, that I can’t imagine today’s kids not liking these games either.  In fact, I liked these games so much, that in my next blog, I plan to write about each of the games in this collection in more detail, and also share my personal memories of each game and the cartoons they were based on.  So check it out later this week!  –Cary

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