Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers

Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers Cover
Platforms NES
Genre Devious multiplayer platformer
Buy from Amazon

My favorite licensed game as a kid was Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Heck, this was one of my favorite games period. Rescue Rangers was a platformer released on the NES in 1990. It had the whole cast of characters from the cartoon, captured the soundtrack personally in 8-bits, and was just challenging enough to get me coming back over and over again. Probably the best part of it though was its two player simultaneous gameplay. This game single-handedly revealed the sadist tendencies that had lied dormant inside of me for so long (only to come out again many years later while playing The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures at college - I'll save that story for another day).

In this piece of nostalgia, I'll talk about the game's license (it is licensed games month at the First Hour), reminisce about the classic multiplayer, and revel in my speed run attempts during college. If you've ever played Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, I hope you enjoy this; if you haven't, well, you're in for a treat too.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Title Screen

The License

Capcom was involved in most of Disney's games in the late 80's and early 90's, starting with Mickey Mousecapade. A game developed by Hudson but published by Capcom in North America. Now this game doesn't seem to have that many fond memories going for it, I personally enjoyed it and found its quirky and challenging gameplay very fun... back in the day. After that was DuckTales. Now this is one of those gamers where if you find anyone who was gaming in 1989, you can simply bring this classic up and you have an instant conversation piece. Everyone played this - and I sucked at it. I simply couldn't hop on his freaking cane/pogo stick. Yeah, older me believes younger me really sucked at gaming.

And that brings us to Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers in 1990. Capcom was riding high off DuckTales and hit another homer with this dandy. Chip 'n Dale is a relatively linear game where first player controls Chip and the second player handles Dale. The rest of the crew makes appearances too: Gadget provides logistics and then is immediately kidnapped by Fat Cat (though she's still able to send messages to you to help you out), Monterey Jack the mouse opens up some walls with his extreme love for cheese, and Zipper the housefly makes Chip or Dale (note the or!) invincible for a short period of time.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Fat Cat Gadget

Fat Cat is of course the main bad guy and shows off his evilness by kidnapping Gadget to force her to invent for him. You actually fight him twice, the first time he just looks like a normal cat sitting on a slot machine and the second time he's huge and is dropping cigar ashes on you! Now that's evil (but in your first encounter, it kind of looks like he's throwing kitty litter at you, I don't know what's worse)! The other bad guys are just a smattering of random characters that may or may not be from the television show.

I personally think Capcom did a decent job with the Rescue Rangers' license. They simply took the best things about the show: Chip and Dale, and put them in an amazing game. Of course there was room to do more with the license, but that's basically what Capcom tried to do with Rescue Rangers 2. Too much story and too much involvement from the other team members. The balance was perfect for this one.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Doppleganger

The Gameplay

The game's main hook are the boxes and items you can pick up and throw. Chip and Dale can only take three hits, so always having a weapon on hand is extremely important. Boxes are thrown straight across the screen and will take out one enemy in their path. You can also duck down and hide inside the box and anything that hits you will take a hit! And since most enemies die in one hit in Rescue Rangers, it's an extremely effective tactic.

Chip and Dale can move and jump around pretty quickly, so the game really tests your thumbs in those tighter situations later in the game. While the hit detection is definitely not the greatest, you're usually given enough room to wiggle around in. The game doesn't feature any impossible jumps but when you get hit, you will get knocked back. This can be a bit obnoxious if you're next to a pit, but you're not completely helpless as you recover (even in the air) after about a second.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Fat Cat Boss

There are some extra large items to carry around like apples and logs, and Chip or Dale will walk a little slower while carrying them (though if you collect the P power-up, you'll still sweat but won't be burdened). The definite must-have item though is the metal box! This thing can be reused over and over so you'll also have something to defend yourself with. Be warned though, you can't throw this box more than a few inches in front of you and if you hide in it, you'll pop out and will be vulnerable unless you pick it up and hide in it again. You can't just camp out in it all day, you know.

The game features a bunch of collectibles, the main being flowers. Every 100 flowers or 10 regular stars will cause a 1-UP star to float across the screen - yeah, you still have to grab it before it leaves the screen! There's also some acorns that will refill life, and the aforementioned P potion that will give you extra strenght. Lots of these things are hidden in boxes so if you need health, start looking! There's also these giant boxes scattered about that you automatically open when you move over them, sometimes Zipper will be hiding in one of these and you're on a 15 second path of invincibility awesomeness.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Fan Pelican

The Levels

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers features 10 levels, with three of them being completely optional. I don't really understand why they did this, maybe they thought the game would be too hard if they required the player to play them all? It's a bit baffling, but it basically means you will hardly ever play the Library, Forest, or Fenceline levels. Yeah, I call it the Fenceline level because basically all you do is walk along a fence the whole time and bugs jumps out of you from the bushes.

What makes the levels great though are their variety and originality. Since you play the game as a small rodent, the levels have to be scaled accordingly. Not many games have you hopping around sinks and stoves, let alone while dodging mechanical bees that dive bomb you. Each stage has its own set of enemies, though some are shared, but they're usually as imaginative as the settings themselves. Football linemen rodents that kick boxes at you, Goodfellas inspiring gangster lizards, ninja dressed flying squirrels, and girbils that throw green pills at you. Maybe the weirdest of them all though is an alien that turns into Chip and Dale! Nasty rodent dopplegangers.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Level Select Rocket

After the first seven levels and fight the first iteration of Fat Cat, you blast off into space and then fall back to earth to tackle the final three stages. The rocket has got to be one of the more interesting gadgets Gadget made, like, why didn't the Rangers just fly an airplane? They felt that going into orbit was the most effective way of their time and resources? It's stuff like this though that makes the game memorable.

Most of the stages end with a boss, but oddly, some of them just end when you reach the final door. Those are a bit jarring, but a relief that you don't have to tackle the sometimes challenging bosses. Well, it's really all about patterns on the NES and Chip and Dale is no exception. Grab the big red ball and just start hammering away at the boss with it, while dodging anything they throw at you. Pretty much the only somewhat challenging bosses are a centipede in the penultimate stage, and the final boss, Cigar Fat Cat. But even those guys aren't tough if you're paying attention.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Second Level Select

List of levels

City and Powerlines
Toy Room
Fan Room
Fat Cat's Lair

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Multiplayer

The Multiplayer

So I've mentioned the main weapon in Chip and Dale are boxes? Well, take the ability to pick anything up, add simulatenous multiplayer, and you've got a recipe for disaster! But in a good way, as you'll be laughing, punching your friend in the arm, and never coming close to beating the game. You can literally pick your friend's character up and throw them into an enemy or even into a pit! It's absolutely evil and yet very fun. Though the fun will only last so long as one of two characters will run out of lives pretty quickly. The other night I was playing the game with a friend, he was new to the game (and he was playing with me), so he didn't last very long. Since I'm more or less a Rescue Rangers master, I got bored with playing alone and just reset the system so he could have another go. He made it a few levels in before losing that time, but I just felt like finishing the game then, so he had to wait around a little longer.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Multiplayer Evil

While playing this game a ton during college (see below), I came up with the idea to do a Chip and Dale MMORPG during some late night pizza outing. The concept would be simple, just have a ton of people playing the game at once in a persistant world. It would be a troller's paradise being able to wreck anyone's day by tossing them into the abyss, and was, as most ideas are, a pipe dream. However, some more avid fans actually went ahead and did just what I wanted to do! One guy made a great video to the tune of the Chip and Dale theme song and another actually made the game! It's described as "the multiplayer platformer with all your favourite retro characters." I've never played it myself because it, but the concept is great. Why doesn't Capcom make this today? It'd be amazing.

The Speed Run

During my sophomore year of college, I decided to dig out the old NES and bring it to the dorms. After Mario 3 was exhausted, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers was quickly blown on and plugged in and the multiplayer was begun. After everyone was pissed off at their friends for killing them though, it was just me and the Rangers again. After so many years of getting whooped as a kid, it was time to take my revenge on the game. So I started playing the game over and over. Predicting all its surprises, memorizing the locations of all the power-ups, and perfecting my boss strategies. My first speed run game was born, and I was beating Chip and Dale in under 15 minutes without dying. I believe I eventually got my time down to around 13 minutes. I had conquered a childhood nemesis.

The Nostalgia

I honestly belive this game holds up very well even today. The platforming action is solid, the characters are loveable, and the game is just simply fun to play. And that's why we game, right? Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers is a great licensed game and one of the best games in the NES library.

Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers Fat Cat Final BossChip And Dale Rescue Rangers The End