Two years ago, the folks at Digital Eclipse released the Mega Man Legacy Collection, a compilation of six iconic Mega Man titles. Now, they’re back at it again with another nostalgia-packed release, The Disney Afternoon Collection. If you’ve been paying attention to this space, you know how excited we were when it was announced back in March. After a month of waiting, it’s finally time to see how some games from our childhood stack up on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Whether you’re pogo-ing your way through DuckTales, soaring over the pixelated ocean in Tale Spin, or masquerading as the terror that flaps in the night in Darkwing Duck, The Disney Afternoon Collection is a fun blast from the past in a polished package that’s brimming with new challenges, time trials, and that early ’90s-era charm that makes us feel like kids again.
While mentioning the price tag isn’t always entirely relevant for a game review, it is in this case. Whenever a game is being rereleased, remastered, remade, or wedged into a collection (like this one), you probably think to yourself, “Is spending ‘x’ amount of money worth it for a game I’ve already played?” The good news is, at $20, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. The Disney Afternoon Collection comes packed with six classic games: DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Chip ‘n’Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, Darkwing Duck, and Tale Spin. Each title features its own unique brand of platforming, familiar characters, and memorable boss fights—which brought back a rush of memories of spending afternoons (and pretty much any time I could) taking turns playing the game with my older brother.
On top of including the same gameplay mechanics, story, and structure of the originals, each game features a challenging Time Attack mode and Boss Rush Mode, which are both surprisingly deep features. After heading into the Time Attack menu on one of the titles, you can either play through a time trial, try to race against other players, or pick a user from the leader board and watch their run.
The same three-pronged layout is also available for the Boss Rush mode. Tired of running through the familiar level? Go for the jugular right away with the Boss Rush mode. Racing against the clock while you cycle through one of the six titles’ heavy-hitting bosses is supremely satisfying. On the flip side, being able to watch other boss rush runs is not only impressive entertainment, but a great way to come up with your own strategic plan for a baddie you may have been stuck on. It’s definitely great to see Capcom recognizing the popularity of speed-runs and implementing it into their content.
Speaking of getting stuck, the developer also packaged in a handy rewind feature that allows you to rewind gameplay at any given time. So, if you accidentally miss a jump, or fail to pogo-hop on a menacing enemy, simply hitting L1 will allow you to try again. Sure, none of the six titles are as difficult as a platformer like Mega Man, but they might still be a bit of a challenge for some players. The tool will surely come in handy for new fans and makes the games more accessible. The feature is also particularly useful for preserving health before heading into a boss fight, which, as a result, makes the games a lot more enjoyable. The feature isn’t intrusive, so if you prefer a challenge, playing the game as it was originally intended is easy to do.
That said, anyone who is familiar with the games knows the controls aren’t all that difficult once you get the hang of the timing. Because the mechanics are only tied to two buttons and the d-pad (or the left thumbstick), they translate pretty well to modern day controllers. While it’s pretty easy to figure out the control scheme for each character, there are detailed instructions that explain how to play within each game’s pause menu. There, you’ll also find options to save, reset, or load your game, as well as filters, and screen options that allow you to play in wide, full, and original, with the latter two able to be displayed with or without a special border featuring artwork from the Disney property. There’s also a fun in-game museum packed with original artwork, fun facts, and nostalgic goodness for each of the games. A bit of fan-service goes a long way.
While the games’ characteristic NES art style and gameplay remain unchanged from their original state, all six games have been fully upgraded to support 1080p. The graphics are crisp, vibrant, and packed with nostalgia. There’s just something special about seeing the ’90s titles up on the flat screen, while the original soundtrack/themes inspire and fuel your adventure through the pixelated worlds.
As for the actual gameplay, it’s still as challenging and charming as ever. Of the six, I had the most fun taking the night as Darkwing Duck—let’s face it, he’s the most charming character in the bunch. It was great to reunite with familiar Disney faces from the Disney Afternoon TV show block to tackle each adventure. When it comes to beloved childhood titles, it’s always difficult to remove the nostalgia-tinted glasses and look at the bigger picture. But, as it just so happens, the titles hold up pretty well in 2017. That said, they aren’t necessarily as intricate as other retro stand-outs.
If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, or craving the ultimate ’90s throwback, look no further than The Disney Afternoon Collection. At a third of the price of a new game, you get six full retro titles that are still as fun as you remember, a museum of original artwork and behind-the-scenes facts, an exciting boss rush mode, and time trial mode tailor made for the speed-running community, or folks who want to test their skills. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Editor’s Note: This review was completed using a PS4 copy of The Disney Afternoon Collection provided by Capcom. The game hit PS4, Xbox One and PC today, April 18.