Retro Video Game Review: Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers

Capcom was one of the greatest developers of 8-bit video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. They were responsible for unleashing the awesome Mega Man franchise upon the world, and produced other fantastic hits such as Bionic Commando. Another trademark that cemented their stellar reputation was their uncanny ability to, unlike other companies, take a media license and turn it into a cartridge that was actually very enjoyable. They were charged by Disney to make a number of titles, among these the box-tossing chipmunk fun of Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers in 1990. Following its success, Capcom would go on to publish a sequel in 1993, in the twilight years of the NES, simply called Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2.

Gameplay

One player can play as either Chip or Dale, with a second player controlling the other member of the elite Rescue Rangers crew of critters if so desired. Spanning across several levels of moderately paced platforming action, the Rangers must once again defeat the nefarious schemes of Fatcat, their nemesis, as he first causes a fake bomb threat in order to distract from his prison break, after which he releases ghosts from a stolen Pharaoh’s Urn, only to then distribute three keys across a carnival and challenge the boys to find him after finding them.

The stages scroll vertically and horizontally, with screen-ending doorways to sub-sections, eventually culminating in a boss fight. Precision-jumping portions are back along with lots of crates that can be thrown straight ahead, straight upward, or at an angle up and forward at the many enemies that shall appear. As with the first game, a box can also be ducked under by pressing the down button, thus becoming a trap that will kill an oncoming enemy that touches our disguised hero. Also in their repertoire is the “super throw move,” initiating by pushing B once a box starts glowing after running forward for a few seconds. The trajectory goes up and down and the box goes entirely across the screen, rather than breaking apart upon hitting its first enemy.

The levels have some interesting features, such as conveyor belts, a mine cart level (oh yes, a mine cart level), dynamic lighting, annoying automated bouncy-ball cannons of death, etc. The pattern-based bosses are completely absurd, ranging from a pink panther throwing playing cards to a unicycling ostrich. Overall, though, the gameplay is slick and tightly honed, although the difficulty level does feel a tad watered down for the usual Disney crowd, despite a couple spots that can be genuinely aggravating.

Graphics

As to be expected from a late-release Capcom title, the artwork has been sharpened to near-perfection. The enemies are well-drawn, with a couple very impressive boss sprites (construction worker lizard and the Fatcat robot); the levels themselves are colorful and varied; and, in general, animations run smoothly and form a professional presentation.

Rescue Rangers 2 on the NES is not without its graphic faults, however. It is prone to occasional flickering issues, in some instances seeming like the programmers chose to leave in these faults rather than scale back the visuals in favor of a cleaner look, a choice that could be defended for having its merits. But, additionally, some of the scenes merely seem to recycle themes and entire background objects from the first game. Unlike a successful series such as Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros., or even the Robocop licensed games, Rescue Rangers takes the route of reusing these graphics, the protagonist sprites, and generally not tweaking the physics of the game; ergo, not profoundly affecting the visuals, either.

Sound

Capcom was a big enough development house to have high-quality composers and sound programmers on its staff, and it shows: Their Mega Man tracks are among the most fondly remembered and technically remarkable bits of music of the era, and although the Rescue Rangers games do not quite reach such heights, the soundboard is plainly fully lit as every available audio channel on the NES machine is pumped up with the lighthearted ditties that overlay bass-boop underscores that could double in present-day tracks for effects. The music is never distractingly bad, and appropriately complements the on-screen action.

Originality

Sequels are a tricky area to critique. Should a game be penalized for not notably topping its predecessors? What is the standard for how much advancement is expected of a next-in-line title? In the case of Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2, this video game receives some flak for mostly just feeling like a reiteration of the original formula and not truly stretching across any new ground. Even the “new” stuff feels tacked on and contrived, like the tennis ball available for part of one level as a reusable weapon, or the rather purposeless moment early in the game when their insect friend must fill a basin of water before Chip and/or Dale can advance. The cutscenes are rendered differently, sure, but gone is the pleasant overworld travel, and the level design is arguably inferior to the original. The information about the origin will be beneficial to Buy pokemon go accounts. All the advancements will be in the notice of the players about the account. From the beginning to the end, the designs will be impressive for the pro players.

Could merely slightly revamping the original Rescue Rangers video game just be a ploy to grab quick profits? Perhaps; nonetheless, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2 is a solid, respectable platformer title, and fits alongside their other enjoyable license games, good enough for three and a half stars out of five.