QuackShot Starring Donald Duck (Genesis) – Part 1

What would you do if you happened to find a hidden treasure map during a visit to your Uncle’s house? Would you mention it to your uncle? Or would you hide it and keep the treasure for yourself? Well, if your name is Donald Duck, and your uncle just so happens to be Scrooge McDuck, a man with a literal swimming pool full of gold, maybe it’s about time you got your own share of treasure.

That’s just what happens in Quack Shot Starring Donald Duck for the Sega Genesis. Prior to this, I’ve never played Quack Shot, but I went into it with high hopes. The Genesis was a haven for Disney games. They always had some of the most impressive graphics and music the system ever saw. They were notorious for having a few random hard spots to slow you down, but otherwise were usually praised for being high quality games. This game differs slightly from some of the others though because it’s an original story instead of being based on one of the many classic movies. But I’m not worried, like I said, the Disney games were always great. So let’s steal that map, grab the kids, and go get that treasure!

Gameplay

One day while visiting his Uncle Scrooge, Donald found a rather interesting book in the study. It chronicled the life of King Garuzia, the once great leader of the Duck Kingdom. According to the book, King Garuzia hid his most prized possessions just before he died.

As luck would have it, there was a map hidden inside the book with clues to finding the treasure. This is just the break Donald has always wanted. If he can find this treasure, it would make him filthy rich. Possibly even richer than Scrooge, though I find that hard to believe.

Unfortunately, Donald isn’t the only one with dollar signs in his eyes. At that exact moment, a member of Pete’s Gang just so happened to be spying through the window and saw the whole thing. As Donald headed home with the map, Pete’s Gang started to chase after him, but they were ultimately done in by an open manhole, allowing Donald to made it home none the wiser.

Once home, Donald grabbed his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and together the took off in their plane to start their treasure hunt. Just then, Daisy shows up demanding answers, they were supposed to be home for dinner an hour ago. But there’s no time for dinner now, not when there’s treasure on the line.

They left daisy behind to be as mad as she wanted to be, but she wasn’t the only one watching that plane fly away. Moments later, Pete and his gang had their own planes in the air following after Donald and that treasure map.

With the story out of the way, we are presented with the World Map and given our choice of destinations. As of right now, we have no clues, so we really have no incentive NOT to start in the default location of Duckburg. So the kids, apparently together acting as the pilot, drop Donald off and fly away until he needs them again.

First things first, the sprite work in this game is just gorgeous. Exactly what you would expect from a Disney game. Onto the gameplay itself, we have a somewhat typical action platformer game. It is surprisingly non-violent though, with Donald using a Plunger Gun which only stuns the enemies. But then in a dark turn, the enemies occasionally dropped whole chickens which will restore Donald’s health. Don’t get me wrong, whole chickens are a very common item to find in older games. But when the main character is a duck, you start edging into implied cannibalism.

In addition to eating his own kind, Donald can occasionally find Hot Peppers scattered about the world. Collecting these will increase Donald’s Temper Gauge. Once full, Donald will go into a full blown rage, running forward out of control and completely invincible.

By the time Donald calms down, we’ve already made it to the end of the stage where we’re informed we need to find a way to climb walls. Clearly we must have missed something while Donald was in his rage, so we start backtracking through the stage looking for what we missed.

We manage to make it all the way back to the start of the level, and we didn’t find anything new. So I don’t understand what we’re supposed to do now. We just started the game, how are we already this stuck? The only thing we’re doing now is taking damage and needlessly draining our health.

After finding a scan of the instruction manual online, I figured out what I was doing wrong. At the end of the stage, Donald planted down a green flag. When we’re standing near it, we can actually call the boys back with the plane from the item menu and then travel to a different location. So I guess we’re going to be doing quite a bit of back tracking in this game.

We still don’t have any real clues what to do next, so how about we just head off to the next location of Mexico. The scenery changed, but so far the gameplay hasn’t. All we have to do is make it to the far side of the stage. Nothing too hard yet.

There are of course a few minor changes. We encounter new enemies, like these cactus monsters. They’ll explode into flying cactus bits if we get too close to them, so we need to stun them quickly. We also encounter some quicksand, but it’s hardly a threat. Just keep moving and we get right out of it.

Mexico does have one major change compared to Duckburg though, it has more than one screen to the level. It is in this next stage that some new obstacles start coming our way. First of which is a large number of bottomless pits to jump over. Following that, we come across some poorly placed dynamite plungers that send explosions all across the ground.

Death Count: 01

However, it is the moving platforms that end up causing the first death of the game. We had the unfortunate timing to have a beehive dropped on Donald’s head just as he landed on a platform. During his damage animation, the platform simply moved on without him, sending him falling into the pit below. But we don’t let that stop us. After that minor setback we finish the stage and are informed that now we also need to find special key to enter the Ruins.

We’re told that someone had taken the key back to Duckburg. However, we already know we’ve hit a dead end back in Duckburg, so we might as well keep moving forward to Transylvania instead.

Death Count: 02

As you might expect, Transylvania is a much spookier environment than we’ve encountered before. There are some new enemies like these little bats, and there are new dangers like these waterfalls. Unlike the quicksand in Mexico, these waterfalls will kill Donald instantly, so they are to be avoided at all costs.

Death Count: 04

The general layout of the level admittedly isn’t very difficult. However, my lack of focus caused us to miss a couple of jumps and fall right into the water. After a couple of these, we end up with our first Game Over.

Thankfully, this game offers unlimited continues. We lose a little progress, but otherwise we are simply sent back to the world map and need to start the Transylvania section over again.

Our next attempt at the level goes much better. As it turns out, we were practically at the end already when we got that game over. Obviously, a trip through Transylvania would end at Dracula’s castle. However, unlike the other sections, we can actually enter the castle. Or so I thought. Just a few feet inside and we are stopped by a ghost which informs us we can’t pass unless we have a way to blow up walls, which we currently don’t. So wonderful, 3 location choices and all of them dead ends.

The only clue we’ve been given so far is that the Hero Key is back in Duckburg, so we head back there first. Thankfully the boys are smart enough to drop Donald off at the end of the level, so we don’t have to do all that again. Even better, the person at the end of the stage just so happens to have the Hero Key on him! He’ll only turn it over if we are a hero though. Is Donald a hero? OF COURSE HE IS! What is more heroic than risking your life for treasure to give to the poor? …What? …Donald is poor… Compared to Scrooge everyone is poor…

Now that we have the Hero Key, we call the kids back and we return to Mexico. After using the key on the door, the temple opens right up for us. I wonder what we’ll find inside.

What we find is a maze guarded by living fireballs. I didn’t notice it while playing, but when taking the screenshots, it actually looks like they might be flaming skulls. They move in predictable patterns though, so we just need to proceed carefully.

It is in this temple that we learn another of the mechanics of the game. At one point the only path forward is about half a block too low for Donald to actually walk under. It would be amazing for no one to have noticed this during play testing, so there must be another way through here. And of course there is. If we crouch down, and then hit the jump button, Donald will actually do a short belly slide across the ground. We need to do a few of these to make it all the way through, but now we know for the future.

After this, we have a little bit of trouble climbing a rather steep passageway. The platforms are simply too far apart for Donald to jump between them. You would think being a duck would allow him to fly, but for some reason he has never shown to have that ability. Instead, we need to stun the various Thwomp-like enemies and use them as stepping stones to make our way up.

Shortly after, we come to the end of the maze and find Goofy just kind of standing there. What the heck is Goofy doing in the center of an ancient Aztec Temple? Apparently even he doesn’t know why he’s here. He was just looking around, and randomly found his way here. He did find a note on the ground though, if we want it.

He also mentions that he found a funny plunger thing. If we shoot it at walls it will help us reach high places. So this must be an upgrade to our plunger gun that will allow us to climb walls.

Finally, he tells us that Gyro back in Duckburg is looking for us. Not sure how Goofy trapped here in an Aztec Temple knew about that, but ok. Either way, we now have exactly what we need to continue deeper into Duckburg, so it’s time to get out of here.

Death Count: 05

Unfortunately, there is no quick way out of the temple. We have to backtrack through the entire thing. My impatience with that design choice actually cost us a life, nearly 2, but we do eventually make it back out.

With our new red plunger, we can now use the plunger handles as platforms to climb walls. Sadly, they don’t appear to be any stronger than our old plungers. Case in point, these damn turtles. If they hide in their shells, the plunger can’t hurt them, it just bounces off their shell. That would be fine if they weren’t positioned in a narrow passageway with no way around them. They also don’t like to ever come out of their shells if we’re too close to them, so they can be very frustrating.

Death Count: 06

I also feel I need to comment on the fact that, despite this being a city with buildings that are clearly built on the ground, there are still bottomless pits positioned between some of the buildings. I would accept this as a death by falling, if it weren’t for the fact that we manually climbed up these buildings just a second ago. We’re only maybe on the 3rd floor, and we actually can, if we choose, jump down to the ground rather than use the ladder once we make it to the other side of this same building. There is no reason for bottomless pits here.

Death Count: 08

Of course, that offense is minor in comparison to the next part of the level. In it, Donald must hold onto a pulley as it rides along the telephone wires. At various points there will be dangerous obstacles and Donald will be forced to jump off to another pulley, or risk falling to his death.

Death Count: 10

It takes us a few tries, but we eventually make it safely across the telephone wires. Waiting for us on the other side is Gyro. He has invented a new type of ammo for our gun, Bubblegum, which when shot from our gun will actually make Exploding Bubbles. With this, we can head back to Transylvania and blow up those walls that were blocking our path.

Before that though, we need to get back to the checkpoint to call the plane. Just like in the Temple, we are going to have to physically travel all the way back to the checkpoint. However, unlike the temple, there is actually a convenient, safe path back this time. Well, part of the way at least. We still have to jump across the building tops, but at least there is a single pulley we can ride the whole way back across the telephone lines.

Once we get back to Dracula’s Castle, that same ghost shows up again to remind us that we need to blow up the wall. Of course, it also questions why we came here in the first place. It’s so scary here. As it turns out, Count Dracula just so happens to have the treasure map we need here in the castle! Though, the ghost doesn’t think the count will be willing to part with it easily…

No point in standing around wondering though. As soon as the ghost vanishes, we switch to our new Bubblegum ammo and blast away this wall. I do want to note that the bubblegum ammo is somewhat annoying to shoot, and best used at point blank range. Standing right up against the first section of wall, I was able to blast away all 3 blocks. However, the next shot from a distance allowed the bubble to bounce a bit as it drifted through the air, and so it only destroyed the top two blocks.

Now that we’re actually exploring the castle, we have to keep an eye out for any new threats we might encounter. Right away a fairly obvious one shows up. That ghost at the entrance wasn’t alone, and some of his buddies show up throughout the castle. Unfortunately, our Plunger Gun just passes right though them. They are ghosts after all. So all we can do is try to avoid them as much as possible. On the plus side, they don’t follow Donald around or anything, they just kind of lazily drift through the air. So avoiding them isn’t much of a problem.

Then, once we get past the spirits of the dead, their skeletal remains climb out of their caskets to attack us as well. Thankfully these guys can be stunned with the plunger gun, so they don’t pose much of a threat. Also, they are very helpful in showing us where to go next. This section of the castle just kind of ends with an invisible wall. If the skeletons hadn’t fallen down the hole, I would have thought the stage was broken.

Death Count: 11

Maybe we shouldn’t have followed them though, because down the hole leads to a horrible water section. Apparently Dracula has some bad plumbing and his whole basement has flooded. And of course, Donald can’t actually swim, he just moves slowly through the water. Seriously Donald, you can’t fly, you can’t swim, you eat chicken, what kind of duck are you?!

Death Count: 12

Somehow we manage to make it through the spikes and wrecking balls swinging around down here in the water and make it to the other side, and we only died one more time in the process. Now we just need to climb this wall because Donald certainly isn’t going to SWIM up to the surface…

When we emerged, we find ourselves in a long hallway chasing after a rather large ghost. He paid us no attention and simply drifted away from us whenever we got close, so I assumed he was leading us somewhere. Oh how wrong I was. After a little while of following him, he suddenly got a big grin on his face and exploded into a swarm of smaller ghosts just to mess with us!

His trick does tell us one thing though, we’re definitely not supposed to follow him anywhere. So it looks like we’ll have to find our own way out. Thankfully, some of the blocks are a different color, which makes me think to shoot them with the Bubblegum Ammo. That was exactly what we needed to do, as one of the blocks turns into an elevator to carry us up to an otherwise inaccessible door.

We’re not safe yet though. Through that door is just another long hallway full of ghosts. After that, there is a massive wall he need to climb. That would be bad enough on its own, but a sudden loud rumble tells me we’re in for another surprise. Turns out the wall next to us is closing in fast and will crush Donald like a bug if he doesn’t make it to the top in time!

Donald climbs fast enough to avoid being crushed, but now we’re stuck following that big ghost again. Thankfully we learned from last time and keep an eye out for a hidden door above the hallway.

Death Count: 13

Unfortunately, this door brings us RIGHT into Dracula’s Chambers. With very little health left, Donald dies almost before we even knew what was happening. Good thing we still have plenty of lives left. Time to fight Dracula, which is easier said than done. He is constantly sending waves of bats flying out of his cloak which protect him from our attacks.

We quickly see a new strategy that might just do the trick. Dracula is flying so high that we can simply stand directly under him and shoot him in the ass. From here, the bats barely pose a problem to us. We can start shooting Dracula before he has a chance to summon them, and even when he does, they mostly just fly away from us.

Doing this, it doesn’t take long before Count Dracula is defeated, and Donald claims the real treasure map for himself. Once defeated, the door to the room opens, and we can head back out of the castle to our next destination. This time, for once, the level is nice and drops us off right at the castle entrance. I don’t know that I would keep playing if it made me trek all the way back through the castle again.

Now that we have the REAL treasure map, there are several new locations opened up on the map. A Viking Ship to the north, Egypt, Maharajah in India, and then the South Pole. Much like before, we really don’t have any clues yet about which order we should visit these places in, so we just head to the Viking Ship and decide to start from there. The ship has obviously seen better days, but somehow there are still living Vikings defending it.

With the deck full of angry Vikings, we eventually seek safety up in the sails. Unfortunately, it looks like Pete’s Gang has beaten us to the ship and is likewise hiding up here already. No matter, the whole ship is falling apart below our feet anyway. They’ll probably fall soon as well.

Somehow we make it through the ship safely and manage to find the captain of the ship. Unfortunately, he is currently captain in name only. Apparently ghosts have taken over the ship and he is currently powerless to stop them. If we can help him get his ship back, he will hand over a diary that will help us find the Duck Treasure.

Well, how can we pass up an opportunity like that? All we have to do is go inside the ship and clear out all the ghosts. Problem is, we can’t get inside the ship right now. The hatch is locked and we don’t have the key. Even if we did get inside, I’m not sure we have any way to actually get rid of the ghosts either…

I guess that’s a dead end for now. Might as well call the kids and head off to the next location. We still don’t have any clues, so let’s see what we find in Egypt. What we find is more of Pete’s Gang already 2 steps ahead of us.

Death Count: 14

They’ve even managed to somehow learn to swim in quicksand! With surprises like that, it was only a matter of time before Donald was done in. On the plus side, many of them drop hot peppers when we stun them. After a few of those Donald can just go on one of his rages and run straight through most of the stage.

Egypt ended up being an incredibly short stage, at the end of which is a locked door. This time, we don’t even get a clue about what would open it. So this is a complete dead end. Might as well call the kids…

From Egypt, we hop over to the Maharajah and are immediately swarmed with enemies. At times, it’s a good thing Donald has such a short temper. One of his rages was just what we needed to rush through the early parts of this stage.

We quickly make our way to the Palace, and for once we aren’t turned away. Instead we are offered a challenge. If we can defeat the Tiger in the Garden, we will be rewarded with a Sphinx Tear. We’ve never heard of the Sphinx Tear, but that sounds like it might be what we need to get through that door back in Egypt. So of course, we accept the challenge.

Just hearing that we need to fight a tiger, we already knew we would be in for a difficult challenge. However, we didn’t expect that challenge to include FINDING the tiger. Unlike the previous areas, the inside of the palace is a literal maze of doors going from room to room and looping back to the beginning.

Of course, this task is made all the more difficult by the variety of enemies lurking around the halls. The worst of which has to be the snake charmers. If Donald so much as hears the music, he will be frozen in a trance. Then the snake will slither out of the basket and attack Donald before he can snap out of it.

There are maybe 20 doors in the palace, so we resign ourselves to having to check every single one of them. FINALLY we manage to find the door leading to the Garden and the Tiger. Unfortunately, we have no idea what we’re supposed to do about it. Not only do the plungers pass right through it, but for some reason this tiger is capable of breathing fire. What they hell kind of tiger is that?

Death Count: 15

We try the Bubble Gun, and that also causes no damage. As a last resort we switch to the Popcorn Gun which we’ve so far never used. Apparently this shoots out a shotgun like blast of popcorn in a wide arc. This actually does seem to cause some damage to the Tiger. However, we don’t have nearly enough ammo to expect to win the fight that way. Not that it matters because we also have nowhere near enough health to survive the fight either.

Death Count: 17

When the battle restarts, we are still down to only a single shot with the Popcorn Gun since it takes 5 kernels per shot. When that runs out we’re left helplessly firing plungers at the beast with no effect at all. All we manage to do is run around while it slowly kills us…

Once the game continues, we now have another problem. Yes we managed to find the door, but I can’t remember what sequence of doors it was that actually brought us there. It takes us a while, but we finally figure it out. From the palace entrance, we need to jump down and go in the first door we see. From there, we need to head to the right, and straight into the door with a 5 over it.

In the next room, we need to ignore the first door we see. Instead we need to climb the wall and belly slide to the door hidden away behind the small opening.

Finally, we need to get past the snake charmers and head all the way to the right. There is a small passageway that Donald needs to belly slide through. If we send Donald all the way down this hall, the door there will just start the loop over. Instead we need to get him to stop in the opening about half way through. This is the door that leads to the Tiger!

After a bit of luck, we finally manage to land a hit on the Tiger. Apparently we can only damage it if we manage to shot it in the back of the head. Since it’s usually facing us that is a rather difficult task. However, there is an opening. When the Tiger jumps around the room, we need to be quick and shoot it before it manages to land. If we keep firing as fast as we can, we can actually land a few shots all at once.

Death Count: 18

Unfortunately, the Tiger is craftier than we gave it credit for. We thought it would be safe to stand underneath it when it jumped to the upper ledges. We were very wrong. Apparently this tiger, in addition to breathing fire, can actually control the path of the flames with its mind, bending it around the floor to attack Donald below…

Death Count: 19

In fact, it can ever transform the flames into a pride of little fire tigers that run across the ground. As it turns out, dead center in the room is just about the safest spot to be. From this relatively safe spot, we manage to get in our attacks when the tiger jumped down, and eventually it was defeated!

True to his word, the prince hands over the Sphinx Tear now that we’ve managed to defeat that tiger. Maybe now we can head back to Egypt and see what’s inside that temple.

Death Count: 20

Before that though, I figured we might as well check out our last location first. And so, we head our plane all the way down to the South Pole. As you would expect, the whole area is coated in ice and Donald will be sliding a bit with every step. However, that isn’t what annoys me the most about this area. What really annoys me is the fact that the whole area has so many extremely steep hills, and it’s so hard to hit the penguins when they slide down them.

Thankfully, the South Pole is an extremely short stage. After just a few hills, we find a key frozen in a block of ice. No doubt that’s the key to the Viking Ship. But how are we going to get it out? I guess we’ll just have to come back later.