Goin' Quackers is an attractive game that makes worthwhile use of Disney's most irritable fowl, Donald Duck. In this platform adventure, Donald must race around the world, setting up pieces of the inventor Gyro Gearloose's teleportation machine, to save his girl, Daisy, from the evil wizard Merlock's clutches. You'll travel to 22 different stages, across four different levels each dominated by a theme: Duckie Mountain, Duckberg, Magica De Spell's Haunted Mansion, and the evil Merlock's Ancient Temple.
To reach each level's boss character, you must find each quarter of the warp pad that unlocks its stage. You race across these areas collecting gears. Collecting 100 of them nets you an extra life. Picking up five of these in a second also grants you one letter of the word "special." Beating a stage with the word "special" unlocked teaches you one of Donald's special moves. The special moves add an actual challenging element to your scoring strategies. 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.
Graphically, Goin' Quackers is highly impressive. The CG sequences are great, and all the character animations are fluid and seamless. The level design in the DC version is much more interesting than the somewhat lackluster platforms of the PlayStation and N64 versions - owing much to the increased 3D effects and performance. However, some of the obstacles you may encounter (particularly those annoying briar plants) are just not as ominous or scary looking.
While the voice-overs aren't up to par with the PS2's quality of speech, they are still impressive. Characters sound great, but the lack of a taunting Donald is a disappointment. The background music is lighthearted and upbeat at times and 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 - best when Donald gets miffed and starts a tirade or feels especially pumped up after knocking back a milkshake.
The game uses very simple controls, with a double jump, a series of punches, and a leaping Tae-Kwon-Duck kick being just about it. In the end, you'll most often defeat enemies by simply jumping on their heads. Despite the simplicity of control, the game is still flawed in a few areas. Hit collision is sometimes off, and the flashing tirade effect of Donald being injured makes discerning enemy locations a bit of a chore. Because the DC version of Goin' Quackers lacks the special moves found on the PS2, the gameplay suffers. Otherwise the games are very similar.
Donald Duck's Goin' Quackers borrows many elements from well-known games such as Crash Bandicoot, employing a comparable level design, albeit with far less complexity. Some stages feature segments that will have some crying plagiarism because they are reminiscent of other games, but as they are generally the more enjoyable segments, this can be excused. The levels are never far too challenging, the most difficult aspect of negotiating them being a somewhat fickle camera angle during inopportune moments. However, once you've gotten used to the lack of camera-angle compensation for depth and height, the game becomes very easy and beatable within a single night. To make up for this, the boss enemies are a bit tricky and fun to defeat, requiring a good sense of double-jump timing to trounce with ease.
While the game was designed to be on the easy side, obviously to make it viable 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. Defeating 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 be in "the zone" to complete them.
The DC version of this graphically intensive platform adventure is sometimes fun but gets very old very quickly. Children will enjoy the lively adventures of Donald Duck, and some of those who enjoyed the DuckTales animated series and are looking for a comical Disney romp will want to pick this up. Those who want a deeper, more satisfying platform adventure should probably stay away or save this for a weekend rental.