I have to preface this review by saying, “I love Disney.” Growing up in Florida, my family would often take trips to Walt Disney World — usually at least once a year. Because of this, Disney will always hold a special place in my heart. It should be no surprise that shows like DuckTales, and TaleSpin are also very special to me.
So when I found out that there would be a collection of 90’s Disney games coming to PlayStation 4, I was pretty excited. Now that I have it in my hands, I can definitively say this: for a sampling of old games, this collection has a great value for $20. Unfortunately not every title in The Disney Afternoon Collection holds up well for the modern gamer.
The presentation of The Disney Afternoon Collection is pretty simplistic and distinctly 90’s. From the main menu, you have only a few options. In the “Games” sub-menu you have the option of choosing to play the original, NES versions of the following games: DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, TaleSpin, or Darkwing Duck.
While it should be expected for older games, it’s still worth noting that this is one of the fastest load times I have seen this generation — or ever, for that matter. Loading each game is a breeze. From the time that the menu pops up, to the time one of the game starts, is literally a matter of seconds.
The Disney Afternoon Collection holds up well for the modern gamer
In addition to each game, you also have the option of checking out a few different bonus features. First off, you have the option to play any of the games in either normal mode, Boss Rush mode, or Time Attack mode.
In Boss Rush, you are pitted against the boss of each level one after the other until you complete them all in one game. Your time is then recorded and uploaded to the in-game leaderboard, where you can view other players times, as well as actual gameplay from their Boss Rush.
Time Attack mode is similar to Boss Rush, but instead of playing through the bosses quickly you are looking to speedrun the entire game. While I found these modes add some extra replay value, they ultimately don’t add anything exciting.
There is also a new feature baked into the games themselves. At any point during any of the games, if you forgot a piece of loot, or if you made a move you didn’t mean to make, you can hold down the L1 button to immediately rewind your progress as much as you want until you take your finger off the button. As someone who messed up constantly because of every game’s difficulty (specifically TailSpin), I did find this feature incredibly useful.
Outside of the games themselves, there are also two other bonus features. There is a “Galleries” section which allows you to not only check out concept art from each game, but also some scans of original boxes and box art from the titles. The galleries are extensive, and you could honestly spend a good thirty minutes scrolling through them. Galleries in games are usually pretty boring to me, but if you’re a Disney fan you will definitely enjoy looking at the old artwork.
Besides the galleries, there is one other bonus feature which may be my favorite: the music section. In here, you can listen to the 8-bit soundtrack from each game included in the collection. I’m not going to lie, I found my self sitting in the music section for a good thirty minutes just listening to the 8-bit version of the DuckTales theme song in all it’s glory.
In terms of the games themselves, it is very easy for me to say that DuckTales and DuckTales 2 are the immediate standouts. Both of these games are an absolute blast to play. I sat in front of my TV for hours just trying to master the first level and never once got bored. Those two games are both terrific and could be enjoyed by anyone. Their simplicity is what makes them fun. You bounce, land on enemies, collect loot, and move on.
The other games however, don’t really standup to the same level as DuckTales and DuckTales 2. Sure, Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers 1 and 2 are fun, especially if you have two people to play with. However, I found myself getting bored with them after long stretches, as it seemed pretty repetitive.
The last two titles are even more disappointing. TailSpin is so hard to control that I even threw my controller a few times because of how unresponsive some buttons were behaving. At times, Darkwing Duck is just as repetitive as the Chip ‘N Dale games, while at other times, it’s just as hard as TailSpin.
DuckTales and DuckTales 2 are the immediate standouts.
As you can see from the screenshots above, you’re not getting anything fancy. In fact, there are even a few bugs in at least DuckTales, including enemies not appearing, then spawning in mid-air. I can’t tell whether these bugs are attention to detail on defects in the original (like including screen flickering in Mega Man Legacy Collection) but it didn’t add anything meaningful to The Disney Afternoon Collection.
Also, while this isn’t exactly a complaint of the ports, I feel like remastering each game similar (in the vein to the DuckTales: Remastered game that came out a few years ago) would have been better than what we got. That game had voice acting and 3D environments. It felt like a modern game. I understand why they didn’t do this; remastering titles takes a lot of time and effort. However, I feel like I would’ve enjoyed The Disney Afternoon Collection more if it were similar to that.
Finally, trophies are incredibly frustrating in The Disney Afternoon Collection. In over seven or eight hours of playtime I didn’t receive a single trophy. Upon further inspection, it seems that each trophy/achievement is, at the very least, incredibly time consuming to earn. If you’re planning on grinding through them anyway, be warned: there is no platinum trophy, and no silver or golds either!
All in all, The Disney Afternoon Collection is something I would recommend to those who either grew up with these games or just enjoys them in general. Since they are straight ports, if you didn’t like them before, nothing in this collection is going to change your mind. I wish I could give it a higher score because of my love for Disney, and I probably would have if these games were fully remastered, but the fact of the matter is you are more than likely only going to be playing DuckTales and DuckTales 2.