Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers for the Nintendo Entertainment System is exactly like the hugely popular Disney Afternoon show it's based on. You get cartoony violence, familiar characters and a ridiculous plot line that feels bolted on at the last second. Much like the animated show that ran from 1989 to 1990, this pales in comparison to Disney's DuckTales in every possible way.
Released less than a year after Scrooge McDuck's well-received adventure, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers offers yet more simple 2D platforming action. In DuckTales you jumped on enemies to kill them and searched high and low for gold and kidnapped loved ones. Put that way, it sounds like a rip off of Super Mario Bros. It turns out that Rescue Rangers also reminds me of a Mario game -- Super Mario Bros. 2.
Here you jump around large levels picking up all kinds of heavy objects to uncover and secret items and hurl at the robot enemies. It seems that Chip 'n Dale's arch-nemesis, Fat Cat, has created a line of robot animals designed to stop our heroes in their tracks. Thankfully there are plenty of boxes and rocks to pick up along the way, giving these two rodents a fighting chance.
It doesn't take long before the player is asked to complete block stacking puzzles to advance through the increasingly difficult stages. Thankfully you'll catch up with lots of familiar faces. Look for Gadget, Zipper, Ditz and everybody's favorite furry foreigner, Monterey Jack. The bosses involve you wielding the throwable objects in some clever ways, which really makes this adventure stand out.
Rescue Rangers introduces the one thing DuckTales never had - a two-player mode. Here you and a friend can take control of Chip and Dale as they fight their way through some clever level designs. The co-operative multiplayer is one of the best reasons to go through an otherwise middling 2D platformer.
The graphics are nice, offering colorful stages and detailed bad guys. The bosses are large and look like they were taken straight out of the TV show. The levels put up quite a challenge, thanks in large part to the conservative checkpoint system. The presentation is nice and fans of the show will fall in love with the stylish look.
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers may not be Capcom's best Disney Afternoon action games, but it goes a long way to prove the importance of a solid two-player mode. Even if the game is marred by a few generic gameplay choices, Rescue Rangers is worth trying out for the multiplayer alone. It's not quite up to DuckTale's high standards, but that shouldn't keep you away from this NES classic.