Disney's Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers is an attractive game that makes worthwhile use of Disney's most irritable duck, Donald Duck. In this platform adventure, Donald must race around the world, setting up pieces of inventor Gyro Gearloose's teleportation machine, to save his girlfriend Daisy from the evil wizard Merlock's clutches.
You'll travel through 16 different stages, split up across four different-themed levels - Duckie Mountain, Duckberg, Magica De Spell's Haunted Mansion, and Merlock's Ancient Temple. To reach a level's boss character, you must find each quarter of an energy ball and unlock each of the four stages. As you race across these areas, you also collect stars. After you collect 100 stars, you will gain an extra life. In addition, you can rescue Huey, Dewey, and Louie's toys from Merlock's evil spell, which opens up a fun bonus stage upon completion.
The graphics in Goin' Quackers are impressive on both platforms. The PlayStation version features excellent prerendered story sequences; however, some of the enemy animation is far too choppy, and the backgrounds might strike you as being a bit drab. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a bush is actually thorny and damage producing or if a quickly approaching dip in the floor implies a drop to your death or just an area with some depth, but you'll learn the difference quickly enough.
The game controls are simple. You can execute a double jump, a series of punches, and a leaping tae-kwon-duck kick. In the end, you'll most often defeat enemies by simply jumping on their heads. Despite the simplicity of the controls, there are still some flaws. Hit collision on Donald's punches is sometimes off, and double jumps often don't execute smoothly, which can cause quite a problem for younger players.
The background music is lighthearted and upbeat at times and is suitably moody at others. While the score is by no means remarkable, it suits the game well and always picks up the pace during opportune moments. The sound effects are appropriate, especially when Donald gets miffed and throws a fit or feels pumped up after chugging down a milk shake. The voice acting is true to Donald and his companions, but there just isn't enough speech to capture the spirit of the lively characters. Too much of the dialogue is in boring, hastily written text form.
Donald Duck's Goin' Quackers borrows many elements from well-known titles such as Crash Bandicoot and employs a comparable level design, albeit with far less complexity. Some stages feature segments that will have some of you crying about the plagiarism because of how reminiscent they are of other titles, but as they are generally the more enjoyable segments, this can be excused. Experienced platform enthusiasts will find the narrow passages and side-scrolling levels far too simple, which limits any sense of exploration. The locations of the toys and energy balls are always immediately apparent, despite some creative attempts at their concealment, and the danger the enemies pose is laughable at best. To make up for this, the boss enemies are a bit tricky, and you'll need good double-jump timing to defeat them with ease.
While the game was designed to be on the easy side, obviously to make it playable for young children, Gladstone Gander, Donald's cousin and the world's luckiest duck, introduces a time-trial mode that adds a certain degree of difficulty and replayability to the short, straightforward adventure. Beating each of the time-trial challenges in a level nets you a considerable reward, along with more percentage points toward 100 percent completion. Some of the times are very fast, and you'll have to truly be in the zone to defeat them.
Children will enjoy the lively adventures of Donald Duck, and some of those who enjoyed the DuckTales animated series will want to check out Goin' Quackers. Those who want a deeper, more satisfying platform adventure should probably save this for a weekend rental.