DuckTales is a side-scrolling platformer developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was originally released in North America in 1989, making its way to Europe and Japan a year later. The game is based on the animated television series of the same name and follows the exploits of multi-billionaire "Uncle" Scrooge McDuck as he embarks on yet another globe-hopping adventure.
DuckTales was also released on Game Boy in 1990. While the gameplay of the original NES release was largely unchanged, the portable version features remixed stage layouts to compensate for a reduced screen resolution.
Thanks to the success of DuckTales, Capcom developed and published DuckTales 2 in 1993 as a direct sequel. The original game also received a full remake with the release of DuckTales: Remastered in 2013.
Scrooge McDuck is the world's wealthiest individual. On most days he enjoys nothing more than swimming through the great piles of treasure and currency he hoards inside his gigantic "Money Bin" located in Duckburg. Although most multi-billionaires would be content to simply live out the rest of their lives in comfort and luxury, Scrooge is a duck whose insatiable desire for wealth often drives him to the ends of the earth in search of even greater fortune.
For his latest treasure hunt, Uncle Scrooge enlists the aid of his three grand-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, as well as several of Scrooge's other acquaintances and employees. With the help of his friends, Scrooge travels between various exotic locations around the globe (and even the Moon) in order to uncover five "legendary treasures" and become even wealthier. However, Scrooge's enemies have already staked out each treasure's location in an effort to prevent Scrooge from obtaining these valuable artifacts.
- Scrooge McDuck - The world's richest duck. The player controls Scrooge and must make good use of his cane-based abilities to collect items and cash.
- Huey, Dewey & Louie - Donald Duck's precocious nephews can be found in various locations throughout the game, usually to offer hints or to restrict areas that Scrooge can't access yet.
- Mrs. Beakley - Scrooge's live-in maid and nanny to his grand-nephews. She appears in certain levels to offer life-restoring food for Scrooge.
- Webbigail "Webby" Vanderquack - Mrs. Beakley's granddaughter. Like the duck triplets, she sometimes appears to offer hints.
- Launchpad McQuack - Scrooge's crash-prone aircraft pilot. Launchpad can be found in nearly every level (except Transylvania) and gives Scrooge the option of returning to Duckburg without completing the stage. If certain conditions are met, the player will enter a bonus round. Launchpad can only assist Scrooge once per level. He also helps Scrooge cross a bottomless pit in the Amazon.
- Gyro Gearloose - An eccentric but brilliant inventor in Scrooge's employ. Gyro shows up only in the bonus level, where he will launch diamonds at Scrooge.
- GizmoDuck - Scrooge's high-strung accountant Fenton Crackshell reluctantly dons the advanced cybernetic "Gizmosuit," designed by Gyro, in times of peril. After Scrooge acquires the Gizmosuit's Remote Control, GizmoDuck briefly appears in the Moon stage to blast a wall open.
- Bubba the Caveduck - A prehistoric "caveduck" adopted by Scrooge after time-travelling to present-day Duckburg. If he is released from the ice in the Himalayas, Bubba will reward Scrooge with an extra energy slot.
- Magica De Spell - A powerful sorceress who schemes to steal Scrooge's lucky Number One Dime. Scrooge first encounters her as as the boss of the Transylvania stage, and then once more at the end of the game.
- Flintheart Glomgold - One of Scrooge's oldest rivals, Flintheart is currently the world's second-richest duck. In the final sequence, Scrooge must race against Flintheart and Magica to reach the last treasure and complete the game.
- The Beagle Boys - A bumbling gang of criminals who constantly attempt to steal Scrooge's fortune. The Beagle Boys show up occasionally in the game, usually as guards or to take Scrooge's grand-nephews captive.
Players control Uncle Scrooge as he travels the world on his quest for treasure. Unlike many platformers, Scrooge takes damage upon any contact with an enemy regardless of his angle of approach. Players must instead rely on Scrooge's trusty cane which can be used to "pogo-jump" onto enemies' heads; this also increases the height of Scrooge's jump, allowing players to reach higher areas. The cane can be used to collect items and treasure locked up inside of treasure chests scattered around the world; it can also be swung like a golf club to destroy obstacles or knock objects into enemies at range. Scrooge can even use his impressive pogo-jumping ablities to traverse deadly spikes and other hazards, preserving his tender webbed feet as his cane does all the work.
Scrooge can normally take up to three hits before losing a life. However, players can discover two hidden health upgrades in the Himalayas and Transylvania, potentially increasing Scrooge's HP to a total of five. DuckTales does not feature continues or a save system; players must complete the entire game in a single session without depleting their stock of extra lives in order to reach the end.
- Small Diamond: Worth $2,000.
- Large Diamond: Worth $10,000.
- Red Diamond: Worth $50,000.
- Magic Coin: Grants Scrooge temporary invincibility.
- Ice Cream: Restores one point of health.
- Cake: Fully restores Scrooge's health.
- Scrooge Doll: Gives players an extra life.
- Skeleton Key: Grants access to the African Mines.
- UFO Key: Allows Scrooge to explore the UFO's restricted area.
- Remote Control: Used to call GizmoDuck near the Moon's boss room.
DuckTales features five stages which can be played in any order, each with their own distinct music, enemies and graphical tileset.
- The Amazon: Scrooge blazes a trail through thick Amazonian jungle to reach an ancient temple containing the "Sceptre of the Incan King". Unfortunately, the temple is also riddled with traps and guarded by a living stone idol.
- Transylvania: Magical mirrors teleport Scrooge between sections of Count Dracula Duck's decrepit haunted castle. At the end of this stage, Magica De Spell can be fought to obtain the precious "Coin of the Lost Realm". After clearing all of the game's stages, Scrooge returns to Transylvania to face off against Count Dracula Duck himself.
- African Mines: Upon entering this stage, Louie informs Scrooge that the Mines' entrance is locked. Scrooge is immediately transported to Transylvania, where he must locate the hidden Skeleton Key before returning to Africa. The rotund Terra Firmie King acts as the stage boss and holds the "Giant Diamond of the Inner Earth". One of the game's two hidden treasures, the "Golden Ring," can also be found here.
- The Himalayas: Deep snow and slippery platforms slow Scrooge's progress in this cavernous ice stage. At the peak of the mountain, a fearsome Yeti boss guards the "Crown of Genghis Khan".
- The Moon: Scrooge's quest leads him to explore the lunar surface and a large UFO. Once the Remote Control is acquired, Scrooge summons GizmoDuck to blast open the path to the giant rat boss and its unusual treasure, the "Green Cheese of Longevity". One of the game's two hidden treasures, the "Golden Plate," can also be found here.
DuckTales contains a special ending shown if players finish the game with at least ten million dollars and have acquired both hidden treasures. This alternate ending shows the same newspaper from the normal ending, except the inset photograph shows Scrooge with a crown on his head. The article also states that Scrooge "stunned the world with his discovery of 2 lost treasures".
A third ending involves completing the game with zero cash in Scrooge's bank account. This ending's newspaper shows a picture of a dejected-looking Scrooge and remarks that he "lost his fortune in his search for the legendary five treasures. He will use them to rebuild his empire".