Rescue Rangers, away!
In the late 90’s the NES had already been made obsolete by both the Super NES and the Nintendo 64, yet it was around that time that I first acquired the system. My aunt ended up giving me my older cousins’ NES top loader and all of their games. I must have been around five years old at the time and the NES was really my first real venture into the world of gaming. I had a whole library to play as a kid, but the game that really caught my eye didn’t come with my cousins’ collection. That game was Chip 'n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, one of the many games that Capcom had developed for Disney.
I ended up coming across the game at a used game shop while on vacation, and being the fan that I was of the animated series, I begged my parents to purchase it for me. However, I wasn’t much of a gamer at five years old, never making it past the first level. Although, I do remember enjoying the game’s co-op play with my parents and friends, but I never made much progress in the actual game. That changed recently when I decided to go back to it after thirteen years of neglect.
The game begins by giving you the choice of either Chip or Dale to play as. There really isn’t any difference in how the two act; you’re just picking by which skin you prefer. The game also gives you the option to play with a friend, which I certainly recommend, but I was unable to do so this time around. Though I can say from memory that the co-op is a lot of fun, but in my experience a bit hard to coordinate when the only thing your friend wants to do is pick up your character and throw them off the stage.
The game’s story starts out with the Rescue Rangers being called to find a lost kitten, only to find out that it was just a plot by the series’ villain, Fat Cat. Apparently the one female on the team, Gadget, is then kidnapped and I’m sure you know the rest. To be honest, just like most other NES platformers, there really isn’t much to the story.
As for the gameplay, it plays somewhat similarly to Super Mario Bros. 2, in that instead of hopping on the enemy to kill them, you must instead pick up an item and throw it at them, though that is about as far as the comparison goes. In Chip 'n Dale the items that you use to kill the enemies range from large apples that cause your character to move slowly, to small boxes that literally litter the stages. The items can either be thrown horizontally or vertically, and once thrown gravity be damned, as regardless of the direction it’s thrown, the items will continue flying until off the screen. When the player picks up the boxes to throw at the enemy, there will often be an item there as well. These range from flowers that act in much the same way as coins do in Mario games, to acorns that replenish one of the three hearts if damaged. Also present in the game is a special box that disappears as soon as you walk through it. This box grants random items, of which the most useful is Zipper the fly, who acts just like the star in the Mario series.
After the game’s first level, you will be brought to an overworld where you will be able to choose which level you wish to play. Some of the levels are optional and can easily be skipped. Each level has its own set of enemies to overcome. There are a variety of enemies from mechanical dogs, to mobster lizards that work under Fat Cat. Each level, barring a few, also has a boss waiting for you at the end. The bosses range from a pole with arms that shoot projectiles, to Fat Cat himself. Each boss is brought down in the same manner, by throwing a red ball at their weak point. They’re really not that complicated or that difficult, but they do add something to look forward to at the end of each level.
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers was obviously designed with kids in mind, with its easy difficulty and cartoon subject matter, but I was able to come away satisfied with the game. And now I can finally say that I beat the game after all of these years.