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 Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)

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Galaxite Omega
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PostSubject: Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)    Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:22 pm


Awwwww here we go. Time for a comeback... and this time with a personal stake!

Donald Duck in Maui Mallard, otherwise known as Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow is an infamous Disney game from my childhood that was arguably one of the games that shaped me as a person, alongside Chrono Trigger and Donkey Kong Country, etc. It features Donald Duck as a hard-boiled private eye detective called Maui Mallard and his perilous island adventure.

His goal? Return the Mojo idol known as Shabum Shabum before the whole island goes up in smoke. Ninjas are involved. If that and the unbelievably catchy big-band style title theme isn't enough to drag you in, then just wait and see.

The version I had growing up was the Super Nintendo version, but it was also released on the Genesis (I might cover that version as part of this just so this LP doesn't count as a one-off) and the PC, complete with the PC version having a complete orchestrated soundtrack.

(I've also put Sailor Moon to the side due to switching emulators because ZSNES is a nightmare to work with. SNES9x at least allows me to keep real save states and not just save slots.)

Chapter #1 - Bad Mojo Rising
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Spoiler:
 


Last edited by Galaxite Omega on Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:10 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)    Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:22 pm

This is no laughing matter. In fact, you could say these are...

Chapter #2 - Tests of Duckhood
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Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)    Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:58 pm

I find it interesting that the chapter set-up so far reflects how I've thought of this game as a child.

Chapter #3 - Ghosts of Bad Mojo (SNES Finale)
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Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)    Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:02 pm



Ready for round 2?

Donald in Maui Mallard is the original Genesis version of Maui Mallard that was only released in Europe for some reason. The reason I'm covering this version too is because the SNES and Genesis versions are vastly different when you put them side-by-side.

Their level design and aesthetic of the Genesis version differs enough to get its own chapter, and well... it feels like a piece of history I missed, seeing as I've never actually owned or even knew there was a Genesis Maui Mallard until high school.

There was also a PC port released on Windows, but all it does is clean up the visuals of the Genesis version and give it an orchestrated soundtrack. That's neat.

With that said, let's keep it going in...

Chapter #4 - Mojo Redux (Genesis 1)
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Spoiler:
 


Last edited by Galaxite Omega on Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)    Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:18 am

I think it's time to finally put this old duck to rest in...

Chapter #5 - See You, Space Duckman (Genesis Finale)
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Spoiler:
 


Last edited by Galaxite Omega on Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow! (SNES/Genesis) (LP #6)    Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:20 am

Goodbye, Maui Mallard. Here's to the 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance your property will get a modern remake.

Final Thoughts (SNES & Genesis)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Rating scale: Excellent (84 – 100)
Good(70-83)
Average(50 -69)
Bad – also counts as B-Movie So Bad It’s Good in case I happen to enjoy it (35 – 49)
Awful (34 to 0))

Full Title: Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow / Donald Duck in Cold Shadow

Originally published: Maui Mallard was originally released on December 8th, 1995 for the Genesis. The SNES version was released in Europe on November 28th, 1996. There was even a PC version released on September 30th, 1996.

Type: Sidescrolling platformer

Length: Both games are on the brief side at almost two hours - combined it's about four.

Difficulty (SNES): Fair, but reasonably challenging. Some parts are pretty intense, but nothing that can't be resolved with some practice.

Difficulty (Genesis): Absolutely brutal and in that kind of fake difficulty kind of way too. The stiff controls don't help when there's instant-kill pits all over the place, not helped by some other aspects.

Developers/Artists/Etc.: Disney Interactive Studios (Developer), Eurocom Entertainment (Developer), Michael Giacchino (Composer), Patrick J. Collins (Composer), Steve Duckworth (PC soundtrack Composer), etc.

Overall Plot of Both:

  • You are a "medium-boiled" down-on-his-luck duck detective known as Maui Mallard. You are originally without much of a purpose until you learn that the Mojo Idol known as Shabum Shabum has been stolen by the nefarious Witch Doctor. It's your job to get it back or the island will be destroyed!


Pros & Cons (SNES)

· Impeccable graphics for the SNES with a vibrant color palette and fluid animations. This ranges from the beautiful purple stormy sky and sea in the Ninja Training Grounds to the terrifying elder god eye in the Realm of the Dead.

· An incredible and memorable soundtrack, with Level 2, 4 and 5 being my favorites. It also has a unique theme for the Flying Duckman.


· Surprisingly dark storyline for a Disney game, but it's handled with some comedy as to not be completely grim


· I love the Hawaiian aesthetic this game has, it certainly makes it unique

· Level design is generally well-made and non-linear - there's quite a bit for you to chase outside of just going to the exit

· The difficulty is fair and the controls, while a little stiff, function pretty well.


· Cold Shadow, Maui's ninja alter-ego, is a really badass design. I like how the game gives both him and Detective Maui time to shine, especially during the final boss fight.


· Hilarious ending that unfortunately drops a sequel tease that never got followed up on.


· Trying to get a password via Babaluau Baby is unnecessarily complex, but at least I can see it was an incentive to explore all the levels fully. It's also nice that they tell you how much loot you have to grab to get the bonus at the start of every level.

· It's one of those "beat it in one shot" type of games if you don't look for all the loot, though. The game only has passwords to keep track of progress.

· The bungee vine level in Test of Duckhood is tedious and annoying with how much busy work you have to do, not helped by the strange hit detection in certain parts.

· It sucks that Zombie Powder isn't permanent like in the Genesis version - your health resets to 100 every time you complete a stage.

· The amount of death pits towards the end of the game made exploration a little more painful than it should have.

· The goddamn tower level in the Realm of the Dead Stage 2. It's an escort mission combined with a painfully slow climb that also has no checkpoints should you fail. You have to start from the bottom if you die or if Quackoo's remains get dragged off screen.

Pros & Cons (Genesis)

· Impeccable graphics for the Genesis with a vibrant color palette and fluid animations, although they're a bit more subdued and muddy than the SNES version.

· An impressive soundtrack, complete with actual boss music that the SNES version lacks.


· Surprisingly dark storyline for a Disney game, but it's handled with some comedy as to not be completely grim. Some things are a bit more outright terrifying here, like the flaming tiki head boss in Level 4.


· I love the Hawaiian aesthetic this game has, it certainly makes it unique

· Level design is generally well-made and non-linear - there's quite a bit for you to chase outside of just going to the exit

· I like how Zombie Powder can be permanent throughout the game if you don't die


· The addition of the Bomb Beetle adds a new layer of strategy to Detective Maui's gunplay



· Cold Shadow, Maui's ninja alter-ego, is a really badass design. I like how the game gives both him and Detective Maui time to shine, especially during the final boss fight. I also love how the enemies lack invincibility frames in this version, so you could combo them to death with just Cold Shadow alone.


· I like Babaluau Baby more in this version because it's not some weird vertical fireworks chase and is instead an on-rails unicycle section.



· Hilarious ending that unfortunately drops a sequel tease that never got followed up on. 

· The Genesis version was released first in Europe only while the SNES and PC versions came later. This explains why there's so many quality of life additions in later releases. 

· (PC Version) Not fond of the soundtrack in that version.

· It's one of those "beat it in one shot" type of games if you don't look for all the loot. The game only has passwords to keep track of progress.

· The game has hideously punishing difficulty - not only does the game ask you to make some pretty steep jumps, but there's also the fact your health doesn't regenerate at the end of every level (because of Zombie Powder's permanent HP mechanic).

· The controls are terrible. The basic movement and attacks are fine, but trying to swing from a hook point with Cold Shadow in this version has cost me more lives than I'd want to admit. You have to be precise with both your swing and your momentum or you fall into the abyss, and you have to do this a lot... especially in the final boss fight.


· The game has certain mechanics that they never tell you about, such as the Teleport move that Cold Shadow possesses. (At least this one was somewhat remedied in the PC version with a hint system.)


· It sucks that Zombie Powder goes away when you die.

· Maui's basic bullets are laughable in this version - they do the least amount of damage and don't go very far.

· The amount of everything that can kill you towards the end made exploration more tedious than it should have.

· The pirate ghost boss in The Flying Duckman is a test of patience because you have to hit him when he pops up, otherwise you're eating 25 damage mine bombs with disjointed hitboxes.

· The goddamn tower level in the Realm of the Dead Stage 2. It's an escort mission combined with a painfully slow climb that also has no checkpoints should you fail. You have to start from the bottom if you die or if Quackoo's remains get dragged off screen.

SNES Final Thoughts (91/100)

Genesis Final Thoughts (75/100):

Maui Mallard is an interesting game - it was a standalone Donald Duck property with some black comedy, a hawaiian setting, ninjas and a visit to the Duck equivalent to Hell. It had so much potential, to the point where the creators themselves planned out a sequel and an animated series(?), only for that dream to wither away due to the games' mediocre sales.

The SNES version was a major part of my childhood back then, with it being one of the games (Chrono Trigger and Donkey Kong Country included) that shaped me as a person. It still remains pretty charming today, albeit with some flaws.

The original Genesis version, on the other hand, suffers quite a bit and it's not because I didn't play this when I was young. That'd just be petty. 

It's the same game at its core and I still like it, but its difficulty comes from cheapness rather than fair and balanced game design. The lack of HP restoration, stiff controls, and mechanics they don't ever tell you about don't really leave a good impression on me.

Like seriously, you have no idea how painful swinging from hook points in this game is like unless you play it yourself.

That said, I've enjoyed my time with this part of my childhood and I'm always glad to share more obscure games to whoever's out there. See you guys later with more Sailor Moon or Pokemon Emerald.
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