Duck Tales is a side-scrolling platform game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was first released in the United States in 1989, making its way to Europe and Japan a year later. The game is considered to be one of the most well-loved NES games of all time, with its great music, colourful graphics and tight, non-linear gameplay, a trait which it shares with developer Capcom's similarly well-received Mega Man games.
As anyone familiar with the Disney television series of the same name will be able to tell you, Scrooge McDuck is one rich bird. Not one to shy away from public displays of outlandish opulence, he enjoys nothing more than swimming in huge great piles of jewellery and gold coins, diving in amongst his hoarded treasures with glee. One might imagine that Scrooge would be content to simply wile away the hours wallowing in his accumulated fortune, but this is one duck whose thirst for coinage simply will not be sated, and he spends his time during the game travelling to various exotic locations around the globe in an effort to become even wealthier. The various places that he goes to, which can be played in any order, include Transylvania, The Amazon, The Moon, African Mines and The Himalayas, each with their own distinct music, enemies and graphical presentation.
The player controls Scrooge McDuck as he traverses the five areas of the game on his search for more money. Scrooge cannot touch or jump on the enemies without losing health, and so he must rely on his trusty walking stick which he uses to pogo on top of enemies heads, and to collect treasure and items that he finds locked up in little floating treasure chests scattered around the world. This unique take on the standard "jump on fools' heads" gameplay mechanic is one of the game's most distinctive features, and encouraged many players to forego the act of walking entirely, in favour of continually pogoing around the levels like madmen. Scrooge could also use his impressive pogoing ablities to get past nefarious spikes and other hazards, keeping his fragile webbed feet away from danger as his cane did all the work.
- Scrooge McDuck - The player controls Scrooge throughout the game, making use of a variety of techniques, while collecting different items.
- Huey, Dewey and Louie - Donald's nephews pop up in various spots in the game, usually to offer hints or to restrict areas (e.g. in the Moon level) Scrooge does not yet have access to.
- Webby Vanderquack - serves a similar function as Scrooge's nephews.
- Gizmo Duck - briefly appears to blast a wall open.
- Launchpad McQuack - Helps Scrooge over a pitfall in the Amazon. Also, he is found in every level (except Transylvania) where the player has the option of letting him take them back to Duckburg. If certain conditions are met, the player will enter a bonus round. Launchpad can be used only once per level.
- Gyro Gearloose - Shows up only in the bonus level, where he will launch diamonds at Scrooge.
- Mrs. Beakley - Appears in certain levels where she will drop life-regenerating food to Scrooge.
- Bubba - If you release him from the ice in the Himalayas, he will reward Scrooge with an extra energy slot.
- Magica De Spell - Scrooge fights this nemesis of his in Transylvania.
- Flintheart Glomgold - Scrooge must stop Flintheart from reaching the treasure before he does.
- The Beagle Boys - the beagle boys show up occasionally, usually as guards of a passage or have taken Scrooge's nephews captive.
Duck Tales is another one of the many NES games that is routinely lauded for its superior score, with its five levels all containing looped tracks that are ludicrously catchy and which persist in the minds of players even twenty years after they last played the game.
DuckTales contains an alternate ending shown when the player finishes the game with at least $10,000,000 and has found both hidden treasures. The alternate ending shows the same newspaper at the end of the game except the picture shows Scrooge McDuck with a crown on his head. The paper states that he "stunned the world with his discovery of 2 lost treasures.