Developer(s) – Capcom
Publisher(s) – Capcom
Producer(s) – Tokoru Fujiwara
PEGI – N/A (Suitable for all ages)
Released very late on in the shelf life of the NES back in 1993, Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2 received favorable reviews upon release and was later released as part of the Disney Saturday Morning Collection along with the original game, Duck Tales, Talespin, and Darkwing Duck. The previous review of this game that caught my eye above all others was EGM review, which alluded to what it would’ve been like to see a sequel alternatively released on more current hardware at the time, such as the Super NES or the Mega Drive. Whilst I believe it to be true that if that had indeed been the case, (indeed, it would have sold even better than what it did and would’ve been more capable of standing out), the final game is still a very enjoyable experience as well as being a more than worthy sequel, topping what the original game had to offer.
Graphics – 9/10
The most notable improvement between the first and second games is undoubtedly the graphics. Everything from the character sprites to the scenery is a lot more detailed than that of the previous game and there are definitely signs of the developers have done a lot more with the console’s relatively limited color palette. The conceptual design is also even more diverse than the last, as, towards the end of the former, the levels seemed to have similar elements to them to that of previous levels, whereas the second game doesn’t suffer from that issue at all. The only thing that this game doesn’t have going for it in comparison to its predecessor is that the soundtrack is nowhere near as catchy.
Gameplay – 8/10
The gameplay pretty much follows the same formula as the first, though with a few minor tweaks. Gone is the facility to choose between levels, as this game offers a completely linear progression, and players can now stun enemies and grab them in addition to throwing inanimate objects at them, making it even more reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 2 than the first Chip N’ Dale game. Whilst it may seem a bad thing that the second game has a far more linear progression, it’s actually an improvement, as it removes the option of skipping levels in order to progress faster, and forces the player to enjoy the full game for what it is. The most significant improvement in terms of gameplay, however, is that the boss fights are far more elaborate than that of the first game, requiring a far greater degree of strategy in order to defeat them.
Controls – 10/10
As with the previous game, there are no issues with the controls, as the 2D side-scrolling genre had become a staple in gaming at the time, and it seemed harder for developers to get it wrong than to get it right. There are a few tweaks that have been made to the controls, however, such as the facility to throw objects diagonally, whereas, in the previous game, they could only be thrown up, left or right. It was quite impressive for an NES title, since many other games only relied on the up, down, left, and right axis, whereas games like this attempted to break the trend it would seem.
Lifespan – 7/10
Lasting about the standard time of a third-generation side scroller the game can be completed inside an hour. Of course, because the game forces the player to experience every level, unlike in the first, players are forced to spend a standard amount of time on it, however. Instead of potentially skipping levels in order to progress as fast as possible. There were many other side scrollers at the time released on better hardware that was being made to last considerably longer than this, but those playing it at the time, and those looking to try it out, will not be disappointed.
Storyline – 7/10
The storyline of Chip N’ Dale 2 is also massively improved compared to that of the first game. The story is that Chip and Dale, along with Monterey, Zipper, and Gadget, are on a mission to stop Fat Cat from using an ancient artifact to achieve world domination. It seems generic at first glance in basic premise, but what separates this game from the previous, and indeed from a number of early NES titles, is that there are a notable amount of cutscenes included to tell the story, and far more dialogue than there is in the first game. Breaking another NES trend, players would be reliant on the game’s manual to learn about the majority of a game’s story. But in this game, the developers went above and beyond that to tell it in a more detailed manner in-game.
Originality – 7/10
Though there were a lot of Super NES and Mega Drive games developed at the time that had already perpetuated a lot of the things that this game did, this game stands out for it making these innovations, but on previous-generation hardware. The game, in and of itself, was a very retroactive experience; it showed developers that more could be done with the NES than perhaps they may have thought throughout the mid to late 80s; certainly in terms of controls and storytelling anyway. In terms of gameplay, whilst there are a few tweaks made, it just about does enough to be kept fresh.
Overall, whilst Chip N’ Dale 2 doesn’t hold as much nostalgic value to me personally (indeed, the first Chip N’ Dale was actually the first game I ever played), it is still a much better game than its predecessor. It celebrates the license in a more meaningful way by presenting the story better, and there are significant improvements made in almost every other aspect in addition.