Donald the Explorer
As a child of the ’90s, I grew up on the “Disney Afternoon” cartoon lineup. All the shows received the video game treatment for either 8‑bit, 16-bit systems or for both consoles at the time. I had a Sega Genesis and wondered when Disney would license a game based on a DA show for Genesis. Little did I know, Sega had license deals with Disney directly, and like Disney games made by Capcom, Sega made a game that wasn’t another “DuckTales,” but was set in the series’ universe and had its regular characters. His name is Donald Duck, and he made his debut in platform gaming in “QuackShot Starring Donald Duck.”
In QuackShot, Donald sets out on a treasure hunt stretching across nine stages. One day in Duckburg, Donald visits his Uncle Scrooge and while checking out his library, Donald stumbles upon a message from King Grazuia, an old ruler of the Great Duck Kingdom who has hidden his legendary treasure across the world. Enclosed with the message is a map that Donald believes leads to treasure that would make him richer than Uncle Scrooge. However, Big Bad Pete and his gang also find out about the treasure and set off after Donald, turning the treasure hunt into a race to see who gets it first.
Control of our daring adventurer is simple with the d‑pad and, combined with abundant options, ensures that you can set up movement, weapon use and dashing to specific buyouts. Donald may have odds against him, but he has some advantages with his plunger gun utilizing yellow plungers to stop Pete’s henchmen and other foes temporarily with an unlimited supply, and a reloadable popcorn gun that shoots five kernels at once. Donald also has some of the “DuckTales” crew helping him: Nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie provide transportation to each destination, and Gyro Gearloose provides Donald with bubblegum ammo that can break down obstacles. The MVP weapon in the game is the “quack attack,” which Donald can use to knock down any enemies instantly. I give credit to Sega for using Disney’s knowledge of Donald’s temper. The graphics and music were excellent, lively, and bright for an appropriately spry game.
The downsides to “QuackShot” are few but are similarly found in most platform games. You must ensure perfect timing for Donald when he either crosses dangerous obstacles or performs his dash move. Also, mildly infuriating is small voice sample usage for the characters as this was not only a debut game for Donald, but also it is set in the DuckTales universe. There was so much untapped potential for rich, established history. Finally, you can only start the game in Duckburg, Mexico, or Transylvania. To pass later stages, you need a particular item, so there is a lot of backtracking unnecessarily.
“QuackShot Starring Donald Duck” was one of the games that I started off with as a Genesis owner. A solid platformer, it showed that Sega had talent of developing consoles and legendary games using original and licensed characters. Most importantly, I got to see another Disney classic character get his limelight in his first video game with a starring role. Carry on Donald, carry on.