Along with Duck Tales, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers and Tail Spin, Darkwing Duck was one of Disney's popular animated TV shows from the early 1990s. Not only was Darkwing Duck a parody of the popular Batman comics, but it also featured a number of characters from other Disney TV shows, such as Gizmoduck and Launchpad. But Darkwing Duck was more than just a Duck Tales spin-off, it was one of Disney's greatest television ventures, a show that was beloved by kids and critics alike. It was only a matter of time before this daredevil duck was ported to a home console, with plenty of bad guys and crazy gadgets Darkwing Duck felt like the perfect fit for a video game. Unfortunately this TurboGrafx-16 game was unable to capitalize on any of the humor or charm of the cartoon, instead opting for an utterly forgettable experience that should be avoided like the plague.
Wouldn't you know it, Darkwing Duck has been called upon for an important mission. Resplendent in a sweeping blue cape and large, wide-brimmed hat, our hero is here to protect the city of St. Canard against the evil schemes of the organization F.O.W.L. As leader of the group, Steelbeak has, along with his cronies Megavolt, Tuskerninni and Moliarty, been photographed with stolen paintings by the authorities. Unfortunately, this is only a portion of a much more sinister plan. F.O.W.L. is working on something purported to be the ultimate crime weapon.
Your mission is devided into four parts. Within Steelback's fortress are hidden parts of a painting that will give you information regarding the secret weapon that F.O.W.L. has been constructing. To recover the parts of the painting, you must venture within the lair of Megavolt, Tuskerninni and Moliarty. Contained within these strongholds are the 36 pieces of the paintings that will give you the information needed to proceed after Steelbeak.
After selecting either the easy or normal game mode, you may then choose to move against Steelbeak's three henchmen in any order. Tuskerninni's area is fairly short and simple. As Darkwing , you must travel uphill along a city street and through a sewer system below ground, gathering pieces to the picture, bullets, eggs (which restore your health) and other items as you proceed, while either dodging or defeating enemies along the way.
Although bullets are certainly effective against the enemies, Darkwing has been gifted with an extraordinarily tough underside, with which he can defeat many enemies by simply jumping and landing upon them in the right fashion.
Megavolt must be tracked through the rooftops, over obstacles and along electrified lifts, while Moliarty is hidden deep below ground and has several holes and lifts to be navigated as well. If you manage to make it through the terrain, you will meet each of the three in the usual boss matchup, before heading back with any new pieces of the painting you have picked up.
If you don't manage to get all the pieces in the area, you can simply go through it again. Each time you go through, bonus points are awarded for the number of lives and amount of health you have left, as well as for the number of bullets you have remaining.
Once you have managed to complete the picture and discover what terrible weapon is being planned, it's time to go after Steelbeak himself. Before you can nab him, however, he frees his henchmen and heads off for Las Duck.
At this point you must tail him with your motorcycle, dodging other motorists as you attempt to travel the distance within a set period of time. If you manage this, you must make your way through a Las Duck casino for your final confrontation. If this all sound fairly simple and straightforward, believe me, it is. Although there are some challenging areas within the game, mostly it's just a matter of timing your jumps to enable you to make it through any of the areas within the game.
The graphics of the game characters are okay and animate decently enough, but the supporting cast and backgrounds are sadly lacking in many areas. Sound effects and music are equally unimpressive, with perhaps two different repeating effects to speak of other than a gunshot or a plink when an object is grabbed. Things go from bad to worse when you actually pick up the control and try to play the game, Darkwing Duck never feels right and is generally unforgiving in its difficulty. While the idea may have been sound, the execution in this game is sorely lacking and finesse.
Perhaps this wouldn't be so painful if it wasn't being compared to the other Disney TV video games. Duck Tales, for instance, is still one of the greatest television licensed games of all time. You would think that Darkwing Duck (with its gadgets, bosses and crime element) would make for a perfect game, yet somehow NEC managed to get it wrong. Those old enough to remember the cartoon may get a kick out of seeing the Darkwing Duck characters again, but even the most die hard fan will no doubt be angry with the shoddy execution in this game.