Monday, August 9, 2010

Retro Monday - Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers

Earlier today while wondering what memories I'd write dealing with Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers, I thought to myself, "Had I beaten any game before I'd beaten Rescue Rangers?" True that, by 1990, I'd played a hundred or so games across the 2600 and the NES we had in the household. But had I actually finished any title before I foiled Fat Cat and rescued every boy's first furry crush, Gadget?

We'll get back to that. First a little bit about Rescue Rangers. Released in 1990 on the NES, Rescue Rangers was part of Capcom's continued devotion to taking memorable Disney licenses and turning them into very impressive platformers on the Nintendo systems. You went through the game as Chip, or both Chip and Dale if you had a second player, with a basic cartoon storyline of defeating evil crime boss Fat Cat and saving your hot mouse friend Gadget. The gameplay was, for the most part, pretty basic platforming with a few simple puzzle elements thrown in like flipping switches on/off or stacking and jumping off of metal boxes. The extra bit that made the game fun, aside from the co-op of course, was throwing items. You didn't have any way to kill enemies other than throwing crates and balls at them or hiding in a crate and watching them run into you (classic), and though that really WAS all the offensive options you had it still remained fun the entire way through. And yes, the game was littered with stuff to throw. Including your partner, if you wanted, which was hella fun.

Much like Little Nemo or Ducktales, Rescue Rangers looks and sounds amazing for a NES title. From the opening MIDI rendition of the theme song to the faithfully cartoony looks of the heroes and villains, Capcom showed that they weren't just carrying the name to the bank. They wanted to make a game that both drew you in with the license and kept you in with great gameplay and presentation. Also, the levels were creative and appropriate to the size of the characters. Hitting a switch to stop water, not too original. Jumping on a faucet to stop water? Awesome. Running across frayed power lines and avoiding electricity? Good stuff.

To get back to what I mentioned at the beginning, I truly believe the game was the first non-Mario title I'd beaten, and a rental no less. This was out of the hundred or so games I'd tried by then, and I'm not even sure I finished SMB1 at that time. Now, I won't offer the excuse that I was 9 for such a crappy completion percentage. I will, however, say that many of the game I played were either competitive games (Double Dribble, Blades of Steel, Tecmo Bowl, Track and Field) or games without any actual or reasonable ending (Megamania, Space Invaders, Breakout). After that game, though, the sky was the freaking limit, and I felt a sense of accomplishment I hadn't felt before. So thank you, Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers. You helped make me the dork I am today.

These days, playing the game the nice way requires some digging through shops or eBay, and like with Little Nemo I can't imagine Capcom would even want to make the effort to port CnDRR to the Wii VC. I doubt re-licensing old games like that is easy, especially when Disney is concerned, but also like with Little Nemo they'll have a guaranteed five bucks from me if that thing sees the light of day on the Wii Shop Channel. If anything, it'll let me hum that theme song along with the game one more time.

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