Darkwing Duck (TurboGrafx-16)

In my early twenties, I wrote articles and reviews for an unknown website called Clear Vision Gaming. Not surprising, the website is no longer around. The editor-in-chief started the site for fun, and the writers were not paid for their time. We did it because we thought it might lead to something bigger. It never did. We were young and dumb.

I was the head of the classic gaming section. I wrote reviews for games covering a myriad of different systems. At the time, I was collecting older consoles. I had a lot of fun revisiting classic titles. The following is a review that I wrote on September 2, 2001. It is not great. I am not as funny as I thought I was back then, and it needs to be edited for content. Still, it is a look into my writing and passions nearly fifteen years ago, and that has to be worth something.

Title: Darkwing Duck

System: TurboGrafx-16

Developer: Turbo Technologies

Publisher: Disney

# of Players: 1

Genre: Action/Adventure

Release Year: 1992

In Depth:

One of the most underrated systems of our time is a little 8-bit console known as the TurboGrafx-16. The TG-16 (also known as the PC Engine) was released after the NES to a tragic world that was not ready to adopt such a lesser-known system. All this aside, the TG-16 still managed to pump out graphics incredibly well for its time and develop quite a wonderful library of games. So why did the TG-16 not make a bigger splash on the world? The answer may be found in this game: Darkwing Duck.

Darkwing Duck is a less than average game released off of the popularity of its cartoon show counterpart of the same name. Disney seemed to put together a rush job on a game that is less than satisfying in all areas. The backgrounds are very minimal with little detail, and the enemies also come up looking less than satisfactory for the power that other games on the system have boasted. Darkwing himself looks a bit better. The developers seemed to have spent most their time making the main character for the game and forgot that there was more of the game to develop as well.

If the graphics were not bad enough, the sound is also lacking. Most of the sound effects are poor and grow very annoying after a short time of playing the game. From the sound of the gun shooting to the sound of Darkwing being hit, not much went into creating the effects at all. It leaves one wondering what Disney was thinking, as most of their sound effects and music are top notch in their shows, movies and games.

All of these qualities aside, Darkwing Duck lacks most in the area of control. The controls are very hard to grow accustomed to and are inaccurate to the point of almost unplayable. Darkwing seems to jump like lead weights are tied to his feet, and it takes a lot of patience to even consider getting him to jump where you want every time. Along the way your character can also pick up various bullets for his gun. The idea is neat, but most the weapons are useless for the enemies. Many of the blobs and bats that come slithering or flying towards you will be too high or low for your line of fire, leaving you with the frustration of having to duck and jump over them to get by. And as I said before, mastering the art of jumping is almost as fun as getting your hair pulled out in huge clumps.

From the sound of my review you may be thinking that this game is absolutely horrible, and if you are, then you would be right. I could not find any bit of redeeming value to this game while playing through it. Fortunately, it came with a bunch of other games that I got when I purchased the system, and I did not buy it separately. This is your warning to stay away. The only possible reason you should grab this game is if you need a good way to drive yourself insane.

Low Point:

horrible controls, lacking sound and graphics, quite possibly the reason there is still war in the world

High Point:

based off of a great cartoon series

Classic Appeal:

If something like being hit by a car at 70 MPH is appealing to you, then you still wouldn’t find anything worthwhile in this game.

Retro Rating: 2


  • This one was fun to read. I never had a TurboGrafix-16, but Darkwing Duck was a favorite character for a while. Question: You state the TurboGrafix-16 was an 8 bit system, but both the name and the cartridge imply it must have been 16 bit. Was this difference equivalent to cpu vs. gpu? Educate me 🙂

    • The system had an 8-bit CPU and dual 16-bit GPU. I cannot vouch for what I meant when I wrote this originally. It is possible I was referring to the CPU or that I wrote the info in error. Either way, it was the first system released in the 16-bit era of gaming, and most those systems would use sly wording to overstate their actual power. The 64-bit Atari Jaguar was infamous for doing this. I think I saw an article once that mentioned if the Sega Saturn had calculated its power the same way that the Jaguar did, it would have been 132-bit. It is all about the marketing!

  • Quite possibly the worst Turbografx-16 game ever. Stay away, don’t touch even with a bargepole… it has nothing on the NES version, that’s for sure.

    • Another victim of this tragic game! I don’t think I had a chance to play any other versions. I will have to check out the NES one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *