Blast from the Past: Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)
There was once a time in the world of gaming that two powers collided to create something unique and beautiful. While many are ecstatic about Walt Disney’s collaboration with Square Enix there was a time they joined forces with Capcom. Out of that partnership they launched gems that will forever be etched into the minds of those who played these games – one of those being Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers on the NES.
After the huge success Capcom and Walt Disney experienced with their first collaboration, DuckTales, it was time for another big franchise of the time to receive the ‘epic NES classic’ treatment. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers fit right into whatever vision Capcom had in place and produced one of the most loved games on the NES that money can buy.
The plot involves Chip ‘n Dale being tasked to find a missing kitten, Mandy, and before they know it they find themselves in a bit of a pickle as the culprit is no other than Fat Cat. Fat Cat has other plans for the duo and used the Kitten to merely lure them into his evil plans. You set out from here to bring him down by performing all forms of crazy platforming wizardry.
It is your typical platformer of the 8-Bit era, it’s just that Capcom brought their own magic. Chip and Dale both control so well that you at no point feel out of control. Should you lose all three your hearts, and lose a life, you at no point blame the game as it’s purely your fault, and you know it. Your aim is to pick up boxes, apples, acorns and just about anything you can grab to throw at your enemies. These include oversized mechanical robot dogs, really pissed-off rats, mafia-like crocs and all forms of weird and wonderful enemies, each with their own attack patterns. Walk through a large box and it might have a bottle of fluids that restores your hearts or it could contain Zipper that acts like the invincibility star in Mario games.
Considering you only have an A and B button, along with a D-Pad it’s impressive how much Capcom got out of the simplistic setup. Press down, should you carry a box, and Chip or Dale will hide in it. Should an enemy touch it they die. Find a cement block and you get to keep this handy attack pattern to the end of the stage. What is perhaps a little funny in hindsight is that there was no limit to the weight the chipmunks could carry – be it wood, cement or a huge apple, they had all the strength they required to defeat any stage thrown at them, and this lack of logic is what makes it all the better. Throw in another player and suddenly it’s a game of complete chaos.
The 2-player co-op mechanic allows players to pick each other up. As you might guess it does not take long before you’re sitting there an hour later… still on level 1. It’s just too much fun to kill one another or throw either player off the stage, all awhile battling those pesky mechanical robot dogs, rats and dodging exposed electric wires. Play it as intended and that too is incredibly fun. Is Player 2 (shame, poor player 2) having a rough time jumping a gap? Pick him or her up and jump.
There is however one major problem with Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers all these years later. It’s incredibly short, as it’s simply too easy, which is something you don’t often hear about NES games. You, without the assistance of a friend, can finish it in under 30 minutes. All-in-all you’ll play 10 levels and see the credits rolling and it’ll be over just as you’re about to get into it. There’s absolutely no replay value, other than trying to finish it with as many extra 1Up’s as possible.
Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers will forever remain a Walt Disney and Capcom classic. It’s still as enjoyable as it was back in 1991, but be aware that your experience is very short by standards set by modern games. If you want to experience some of the best platforming ever created on the NES you won’t find much better, but it won’t last you very long.