Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck is a Charming Cartoon-Inspired Romp for the Nintendo 64
Nostalgia can be a crazy thing, can’t it?
What we remember so fondly today may not hold up in the light of the here and now, but that doesn’t stop us from attributing all sorts of great qualities to that which came before.
One gaming console that benefits from this nostalgia drunk love more than most is Nintendo’s Nintendo 64, the console that birthed 3D platforming, the rumble pack, and kicked off the multiplayer era.
Most of the time when we look back on Nintendo 64 games, it is with rose-tinted glasses…with rough, anti-aliased edges, sharp geometric lines, and enough fog to make Silent Hill call foul, most N64 games have not aged well in the graphics department.
And that is why Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck is so interesting – not only are its graphics beautiful and true to the cartoon, but also they are impressive even by today’s lofty standards.
This game pits the titular Daffy Duck against an old Warner Bros. universe cartoon nemesis, Marvin the Martian, who has developed a wonder weapon finally capable of destroying Earth, the only planet standing in the way of his rule.
The game opens like a typical Warner Bros. cartoon and the sound as well as the graphics work together to make the player think he is watching an episode of said series – it’s that well done.
When it was released back in 2000 by Infogrames, Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck was not a critical success at all. In fact, the game was derided for its controls and relatively shallow gameplay.
Of course, fans of Warner Bros. cartoons loved the game and completely disagreed with the critics, the most complimentary of which called the game a weekend rental at best.
Oddly, IGN drew issue with the game’s “blurry” graphics, graphics that today stand out for their definitive rendition of the Looney Tunes spirit. In addition, the gameplay was not faulted for its mechanics per se, but rather lampooned for its simplistic execution, with one critic claiming that children that are fans of Daffy Duck should see no issue with the gameplay, while more mature players might find fault in that regard.
Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck falls into the trap that many Nintendo 64 games of this era do – fetch, collect, and repeat. That this tried-and-true formula, first debuted in Mario 64 and taken to new heights of insanity in Donkey Kong 64, should prove a detriment to the game is to ignore the era in which the game was developed.
This was basically how things were done, and given the abysmal execution some genre entries have seen in the past, this effort is not only competent, true to its source material, and mechanically sound, but it is also enjoyable as a game outside of its Warner Bros. lineage.
If you’re a fan of Nintendo 64 era platforming games, or a fan of Warner Bros. cartoon properties in general, Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck is a worthy entry in the sometimes hit-or-miss lineup of games from one of America’s most beloved cartoon studios!