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Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow - Chapter 2

Posted May 28th, 2018 at 4:27 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Updated September 5th, 2018 at 8:24 AM by Rainbow Chara X
Tags lp#7

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

Chapter #2 - Tests of Duckhood


[Current OST: Intro]

Oh boy. Maui's got himself in trouble now. Just how will he get himself out of this one?

[Current OST: Muddrake Mayhem]

Welcome to the home of the Muddrakes, the people native to Unnamed Mojo Island(tm)! You see, I hold the fondest amount of nostalgia for level 1 and 2 mostly due to them being the first levels in the game. (Cause you know, of course I'd remember them - I was too young to be competent at video games, so I'd get stuck on them a lot)

Muddrake Mayhem is where the game starts to bear its duck-shaped fangs a bit, and it only gets more intense from here. I just gotta say, I love the mix of browns and purples in the background - in fact, the use of purple has been pretty significant so far.

It's been used to give off "supernatural" vibes, given how the only area in the game that hasn't had a purple sky was the beginning of Level 2, and look how long that lasted.

Plus, this music is ridiculously catchy. It's to the point where I'd hum the part from 0:51 onwards even if I haven't touched this game in years. It's that much of an ear worm.

These little guys are the Muddrakes. They may be small, but they sure pack a wallop considering they're one of the few enemies in this game that actually use weapons.

Again, I'm not sure why they want to roast Maui into Peking Duck, but it must have been amazingly terrible. They're also kind of freaky with their super sharp teeth. Like those chompers can put a shark to shame.

The first part of the stage has you jumping onto these mud-covered poles over a pit of highly volatile mud. If you stay on it for too long you slide down.

The mud is actually dangerous unlike the water in Mojo Mansion, with it taking off 10 HP every time you fall in. That's some killer bacteria! (Oh, and there's brown piranhas too. How they live in mud is beyond me.)

Hitting a Muddrake makes them wig the psyduck out and poof into feathers. I just find the motion hilarious, alright.

As you can see, they are not messing around.

Muddrakes use buzzsaw yo-yos (though in the context of my LP adventures they wouldn't be the first ones), boomerangs and blow-dart guns. No wonder they're called a band of tiny warriors.

Level 1 had a focus on just using Detective Maui while Level 2 had a focus on using Cold Shadow, but level 3 onward is when they can be used at the same time. It's a pretty neat dynamic now that you've had time to get used to how both characters control.

Stage 1 doesn't last very long. It's surprisingly straightforward and short, which is strange but whatever.

Stage 2, on the other hand, immediately starts you off with a high wall that you can't jump over. What's the deal?

There's a rope you have to climb to get up to this point. You have to watch out for Muddrakes popping you with their giant buzz-saw yo-yos, but it's otherwise an easy walk up to this giant cork.

Also, there's an off-screen extra life that you're blocked off from. There goes that sense of curiosity again!

When you pop the cork, a wave of mud flows down the rafter and makes a pile for you to stand on. That said, wow I don't know if it's my inner child acting up, but I can't help but see all this mud as... something else.

Why did I bring it up.

Jumping over nets you a meeting with this swanky guy. What's shaking, my man?

He hits me with a cheap voodoo trick!

In all seriousness, I love all the weird muk that happens to Maui in this game. He gets turned into a ninja and then he gets shrunken down by some weird Muddrake shaman that laughs in his face.

You are then forced into these houses filled with Muddrakes that you have to defeat in order to progress. Thankfully being small only affects Maui's mobility. The result?

Bullets still hurt no matter how small they are.

I bet they were all smug as muk too, like "maui can't do anything if we shrink him!!"

While we're at it, the Muddrakes are surprisingly brutal for a cartoony tribal race. That last room had bones hanging from it and everything.

You do have to fight these grubs, though. Blech.

I don't normally show this off, but one of the types of luau loot you can grab is a magic lamp. This is Disney, after all, so that's a nice touch.

The only real downfall of Tiny Maui is his pathetically reduced jumping ability, but it's still neat that they try to spice the gameplay up like this.

I don't know why the shaman decided to turn Maui back to normal size, but whatever I'll take it.

Stage 3 is the final part of Muddrake Mayhem and the one you need to be careful for the most.

These little bastards will jump you from behind the banners and it's nearly impossible to avoid them with how imprecise the jumping controls are.

It's even worse in the Genesis version because they let out these ear-shattering shrieks each time. Like jesus christ.

Oh boy, this looks like a nightmare waiting to happen.

It's an arena?

Let's get ready to rumble!!

The boss of Level 3 is a tribal mask filled with Muddrakes. Impressive intimidation tactics, boys, but you ain't getting me.

You can bash into the mask itself and force them to break formation without having to shoot, but that still leaves the individual Muddrakes themselves to gun down.

You can shoot the pants off the Muddrakes and they stumble a bit to put them back on. I would question how this works given how Maui himself isn't even wearing pants, but it's still a funny sight gag given how we're absolutely pantsing the opposition.

The most annoying part of this is actually the guy that hides on the bleachers because he'll often be out of range of your gun.

You have to fight two or three more mask mechas before they stop coming, but they shouldn't be hard as long as you conserve your special bug ammo. I love the idea behind this boss though, even if it's ultimately not that hard to defeat.

Don't take it personally, chief. Maui's just too good for you.

No Babaluau Baby, though. That's what I get for blitzing past the stages.

[Current OST: Intro]

See what I mean by brutal? I'm not surprised given how we shamed their best warriors and blew up a quarter of their population.

Also wow, they really just pulled the "Hawaiian volcano sacrifice" thing on us. Cheeky Disney.

[Current OST: Sacrifice of Duckman]

Awwwww yeah, here we go. One of the best pieces of music in the entire game, and maybe the SNES as a whole. I kid you not, this is arguably my second favorite track in the game for how it reeks of "crazy energetic hula dance party".

Let's bring up that Bellossom gif again.

This is one crazy level regardless - just look at that giant lava face in the background! They really went out of their way to make the SNES version looks fantastic, even if these setpieces also exist in the Genesis version.

(Edit from future Dan: No, they are not.)

The first enemy you face is this... soda chugging, mad scientist fire spirit?

Once they're done shaking up their drinks, they'll chug them down and shoot out three fireballs at you. That part's manageable.

Actually hitting them will force them to show their skeleton and shoot out a homing fireball in retaliation. I don't know why, but I found this kind of unsettling as a kid. I mean, granted, it still comes out of nowhere today.

The name of the game when it comes to the Volcano level are these updrafts (with ghoul faces) and bubbles that you have to jump off of. There are lava pools that you can fall in, but they only really do 15 damage at best.

You'd think lava would cook us a bit more than that, but I'm not complaining!

Maui breaking the laws of physics in a glorious GIF animation. He looks like has so much fun doing it too.

The spinning attack, on the other hand, is what happens when you press R as Cold Shadow. It looks like it's really powerful, but it's useless compared to the vaunted shin-stab technique and only really serves to eat up your Ninja Meter. Oh well.

We get another extra life for going off the beaten path and wowza look at our health. This has to be the most we've ever gotten in one stage.

... There's a reason for that, though.

For you see, we have already reached the boss!

... Yeah, really. It's still the first stage, mind you.

The gimmick with this boss is that each segment of its body is its health. It starts off easy and slow, but when it's just a head it starts zipping across the battlefield.

Good thing Maui has a ninja form that lets him smack things with ease. I'm actually sad I have to give up all that extra health, but them's the breaks I guess.

Stage 2 kicks it into high gear immediately. You see that bubbling at the bottom of the screen?

It's instant kill lava, folks.

This whole level is a race to the finish. If you don't get moving, you will get fried by the pool of lava regardless of how much health you have.

The stage itself isn't much to talk about other than that, but I will say that it's fun to play through.

So we've made it to stage 3. We already beat the boss of the level, so what's left?

There's just a random rock floating in the lava and nowhere else to go. This is bound to end well.

Yep, the final stage of the volcano is a high stakes lava ride of all things. Honestly, this is arguably the best way they could end the volcano world.

Again, I find it interesting that Maui survives all of this. Even Quackshot (another Donald Duck-centric game that was also on the Genesis) didn't have Donald do these kinds of crazy death-defying shenanigans.

If you so much as scrape the ceiling, however, you get crushed instantly. Doesn't help that they get reeeeally tight with the spaces you can fit in, so that's fun.

If I'm having trouble now as an adult, I can only imagine this level being a nightmare for baby Dan.

You do get breaks in between each lava ride, but it gets faster and faster each time. One small mercy is that you can control how the lava rises and falls (somehow?) with the D-Pad.

While calling this part a secret is a bit of a stretch, it does net you an extra life if you go to the left. You still have to hurry though because the death lava is right behind you.

They must have known this level was stressful if they still hand you an extra life regardless. I can imagine this being a trial and error game at the very worst, so at least they have the courtesy to provide all these goodies.

Yep, definitely stressful. Granted, this isn't exactly lightning fast, but when the ceilings are death on touch, it kinda gets to you.

Greatest honor, huh? Normally the volcano sacrifice would incinerate a lesser duck, but Maui proves everyone wrong. (Sure took a lot out of me though, given how my lives counter fluctuated between shots)

Oh, and we even get a Babaluau Baby for our troubles.

I get another Continue and a password, but I feel it'd be important to state that these are not guaranteed? You could get to Babaluau Baby and still not get the password despite all the work you did to get here, just because you didn't collect the rockets.

That puts Luau Loot in a more useful light, at least for people playing this on a real console.

[Current OST: Intro]

Oh wow. We've come along way from her hating us, but it still seems like we have to convince the Muddrakes at least. The way they build up the Muddrake alliance through these levels feels like a genuine effort on Maui's behalf, so I have to give them props for that.

But oh boy, here it comes... My favorite level in the game, even if it's only for how it looks and sounds!

[Current OST: Test of Duckhood]

Just... holy muk, I am instantly brought back to the days when I was a wee Dan. Granted, that's what this entire let's play has been, but there's something special about the Test of Duckhood that I haven't seen recreated in most games since.

The music is beautiful and is my personal favorite behind the Ninja Training Grounds. I'll show off a part of the Test of Duckhood that captures why it's my favorite looking level later on, but let's deal with this stage first.

There's updrafts that instantly send you up these... conveniently duck-shaped tree holes. You can see the eyes and the beak if you focus.

The main gimmick of this stage is - whoa, that's a stretchy duck - that you have these coils that send you up. You can turn into Cold Shadow in this stage, but he can't use the coils or climb up the vines, so you have to be Detective Maui.

Muddrakes pop out of the holes and shoot darts at you, but they should be easy to dispatch.

This is the only time I can think of where Cold Shadow is useful in the Test of Duckhood. Yeah, I don't know why, but Detective Maui really gets the spotlight in both this and the next level. You'll see what I mean.

Stage 2 starts you off with two zombie powders and a vine hanging from the top of the screen. Hmm.


Oh right, I just remembered. The thing that stops the Test of Duckhood from being my favorite level (as in the design itself) is that it has an absolute hard-on for these vine segments.

For this stage in particular, you have to drop into this tornado so you can... make these tricycle Muddrakes fall into the abyss? It's a weird and kind of unfun part, given how you have to get every one with the Ultimate Tornado Slam to end the stage.

That one is at least easy due to being contained in one small room.

Stage 3, though... *shudders*

The idea for this one is that you're dumpster diving for Muddrakes (which I also assume are the same ones we knocked off their tricycles) so you can escort them to the other side.

This sounds fun until you realize you have no control over how you rise or fall, and actually grabbing one of these little bastards is easier said than done due to how unreliable it is.

Worst part?

There's a whole bunch of spikes in the way. While they don't kill you in one shot (thank god), they drain your health every second you touch them, hence why they hand you like five zombie powders at the start.

That said, look at that background. That is absolutely stunning.

The purple sunset sky and golden clouds combined with the humongous waterfall go so well together that it's a crime. This has to be one of the most appealing jungle levels I've seen outside of a Donkey Kong Country game, I swear.

You drop off the Muddrakes here. The process is automatic, but you can still whiff it and have to reel back up to a bed of spikes. Ouch.

An interesting thing to note is that when all the Muddrakes are together, they make a cacophony of sounds that you'd expect out of a crowd of crazy little tribal warriors. When there's only one, though, they only make a little chirping noise.

I don't know why I get a "you're the only one left at the party" feeling, but I'm weird.

Once you drop off the squad, that's where this torturous level finally ends. Good.

Stage 4 is more vine adventures, but at least now you don't have to risk your life grabbing more Muddrakes.

Instead you have to risk your life grabbing onto these underground vines. How have both the vine and Maui have not snapped apart, given how painful this looks?

Good thing Maui can still shoot despite how uncomfortable this looks, but wow. He's like one giant toothpaste container.

He lets go of the branch after a certain point and you're sent flying up again to progress. You have to be careful not to get your health drained, so grabbing the tropical punch is vital to surviving.

Once you go deep underground, the vine finally decides its had enough and breaks yet Maui is still fine. Fancy that.

Not if this giant wasp has anything to say about it, though!

Going to the left leads you to the end of the stage, but the right nets you a ton of loot and an extra life. It's a nice reward after having to deal with all that crap, if I have to be honest.

The final stage and the boss(?) of the Test of Duckhood is this giant red frog. He doesn't attack you, strangely enough. The Muddrakes are more of a threat and there's solid ceilings preventing you from firing at them, so what's the deal?

You see, shooting the frog forces him to stick his tongue out. If he gets a Muddrake, well...

He straight up eats them and shoots their bones out at you.

The whole reason you escorted the little cannibals here was for them to be sacrificed to a frog they think is their god. Damn, Disney was not holding back with this game at all, because that's super gruesome.

The bones do damage to you, but the frog nets you some health each time you get hit so this won't be impossible. That's nice... I guess?

When all the Muddrakes are consumed, he shoots out an extra life for your troubles and that ends the stage! The Test of Duckhood is a beautiful level aesthetically, but brutal in practice (both for this part and how grueling the vine segments are).

Given the Hawaiian/voodoo influence this game has, I can't help but feel this isn't a coincidence but... man. That was crazy.

Next time on Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow, the game somehow manages to get even darker than this! Boy, won't that be fun. See you guys then!

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