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Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow - Chapter 3 (SNES Finale)

Posted June 4th, 2018 at 1:40 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Updated June 9th, 2018 at 5:51 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Tags lp#7

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)


[Current OST: Intro]

Yikes, looks like the Muddrakes had to suffer through quite a bit before we came along. Now they're sending Maui deep into the depths into the ocean to get the corpse of their chief.

Something tells me things will only get worse from here.

[Current OST: The Flying Duckman]

Welcome to the Flying Duckman, how tough are you?

In all seriousness, this has to be a big departure from the rest of the game. The moodier tone and more atmospheric song contrast a lot when compared to the more upbeat and colorful stages we've had before.

Due to the level being underwater, you have to control where you go by shooting your bug gun. The developers must have figured you'd be doing it a lot, so your ammo doesn't run out.

Apparently the bug gun is water-powered or something.

While we're at it, I have to admit - when I was younger, seeing the duck skeletons in the background was kind of an experience. Seeing the Muddrakes get eaten kind of flew over my head at the time, but this was just... there. It actually made me sad for some reason - maybe it's the fact they're just dead in plain sight that bothered me back then.

(Keep in mind, this is the same baby Dan that played the Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time - my childhood was full of stuff like this.)

There's these mines that you can blow up around certain walls to reveal secret passages, but I'm kinda more distracted by all the beautiful blue sea in the background.

The pufferfishes in this level like to inflate their hitbox to crazy proportions. They seem harmless until you walk over to them, so be careful.

Popping open the lighter-colored barrel releases bubbles that force you up and break that rotten wood plank. Given how you have free control over where you go (even if it's slow), this is a neat idea for hiding secrets.

Now that's a bony fella. The souls of those who died when the ship sank are walking around and they want nothing more than to roast you with... a lit torch underwater??

Maui suddenly growing gills I can take, but...

(The enemy themselves isn't that dangerous even if they pop you with a fireball each time you hit them.)

The third enemy you can fight down here are these Headless Duckmen that can shoot their fiery noggins at you. They're honestly one of the coolest enemies in the game, but this is the only stage they appear in

I bring that up because of the next world we'll be going to, but I'll leave it at that.

Honestly, I don't know what happened that made the ship sink but these guys sure had a lot of weapons stuck in the walls for some reason. They don't do damage per second like the Test of Duckhood spikes, thankfully. The slower movement in this level would make that an absolute nightmare.

You still don't want to bump into them, but the controls are at least responsive enough to make that a non-issue.

I find it amusing how the bone pirates spin around when you hit them. Speaking of spin, that whirlpool is the end of the first stage.

... I've just realized how often Maui spins in this game. He does it every time you turn into Cold Shadow, there was that whirlwind section in the Test of Duckhood and now there's this. I'm amazed he doesn't get sick!

Stage 2 of The Flying Duckman is a chase... but wait, nothing seems to be happening.

Oh, that's what they mean.

The ship is gradually crumbling apart, and if you get hit by the Wall of Death Bubbles, you lose a life. How... does that work, considering we can just shoot-swim with our gun? In the Genesis version, the ship was actually being blown up by underwater TNT, but here it just... decays.

I dunno how that works, but it's still pretty spooky... especially when you notice the HUD is being eaten up by the effect too.

It's not that big of an issue though, because unlike the lava in Level 4, you can't accidentally bump into it by falling down a pit or something.

It's also very slow - the only way you're dying from it is if you let it touch you. Wow, even the chase level is laid back, how about that?

The final stage has you on board a row boat (called the Sea Hag, no less)... underwater. I love how cheeky this whole thing is, alright.

I don't know who the guy rowing is or if he's a ghost, but he sure does look a lot like Smee from Peter Pan... also yeesh, that's one friendly looking ship.

I can only describe this boss with one clip.

The boss of the Flying Duckman is this angry duck pirate skull that I assume is Quackoo. Yeah, the chieftain of the Muddrakes was also a pirate captain(?)... this game is so ridiculous and I love it.

He's kinda pissed about being dead and now he's going to take it out on Maui, the poor sod.

The actual fight with Quackoo(?) isn't too difficult - the row boat gives you proper D-Pad movement back, and you can move wherever you want.

He pelts you with pufferfish and mines, but doesn't do anything himself. Didn't stop him from spooking younger Dan with those empty voids for eye sockets he has.

A few shots later and he's re-dead. It's kinda weird too, because there's not even special boss music for this - you still have the relaxing Duckman theme playing in the background. It's almost enough to put you to sleep if it weren't for the fact you're being assaulted by an undead pirate.

No Babaluau Baby, but I think I can hold off due to how well we're doing.

[Current OST: Intro]

Oh no, here we go. If that intro isn't enough to tell you what horrors we'll face, then I dunno what to say to you.

[Current OST: The Realm of the Dead]

This was the level that broke me as a kid - it was all fun and games until we get dropped into what is effectively a voodoo mindpsyduck nightmare realm that wouldn't be out of place in Lovecraft.

That giant Elder God eye in the background, jesus christ. As rad as it is with the conjoined pupil, having it stare at you the entire level is incredibly unsettling. The giant stone duck heads don't help either, because their mere presence in the area makes it even more chilling for a reason I can't quite grasp.

That said, I love how treacherous and primal the music sounds - it really does encapsulate the feeling of the area. For all my griping about how creepy this place is, this has to be one of the most badass levels I've ever seen in a video game, let alone a Disney game.

It makes perfect sense for this to be the final world in the game, and anything less wouldn't be as satisfying.

Of course the ghost pirates would return - this is the final resting place, after all. I like how their palette is gray to reflect how dead this place is.

You see this ghostly mist that covers 90% of the ground?

Instant death.

We went from being perfectly healthy (100) to zero in less than a second!

It makes the most sense here because, well, this is The Realm of the Dead. Of course a living duck like Maui is going get the life ripped out of him when he touches the death mist.

But wait, there's more!

Zombie ducks.

Yeah, I don't know when it happened, but I was deathly afraid of zombies when I was younger. As I grew up it became more and more of an irrational fear and there's other things in life I have to worry about, but there's always been something about the concept of a reanimated corpse that's disturbed me on a spiritual level.

Doesn't help that the animations for hitting the zombies is so violent, jeez! They get more and more pathetic the more you hit them, to the point where they're barely sagging along.

The way all of their flesh just slides off when they die (again) is both disgusting and darkly comedic, not gonna lie... the guys who made this game knew what they were doing.

They're not too dangerous, at least. The homing bones don't do that much damage and you can just avoid them altogether.

There are bats around here that explode into blood if you hit them. Granted, this might be a leftover from the stage they originally appeared in (the volcano) where the effect kinda blends into the background, but still, what the hell.

You see this strange green goop that's just floating in the air? That counts as water and not horrible deadly ectoplasm, surprisingly enough.

(What is he hanging on, by the way?)

Unfortunately, Cold Shadow doesn't have a gun to swim with and holy hell, that's an angry duck skull. Remember the little ghosts from the Mojo Mansion - meet their bigger, meaner cousin.

I like to think the mansion ghosts were tiny and kind of cute by comparison because it wasn't too haunted - here, we're in the heart of what is effectively Hell in Maui's universe, so of course they'd be nastier.

Other than that, the green ectoplasm controls much like the Flying Duckman did, so that's neat. They had an entire level of prep just for this one part.

Can't imagine what it smells or tastes like though. This entire place must smell like a septic tank full of rotten eggs.

After a certain point, you drop onto this... demonic bone boat with fangs. This is metal as psyduck for Disney, let's be real.

Especially when the boat goes into a gaping stone head full of fire. They did not hold back at all, I love it.

Hey, that's the end of the level! That was a long and tough first stage - fitting for where we're at.

But wait.
You haven't seen anything yet, because now we're really going to Hell.

Alright, let's unload the info and get moving - the jar on that comically freaky altar is supposed to be Quackoo's remains. He's the reason we came here, given that this place is supposed to be a resting place for the restless souls of the dead.

... He's just a pair of eyes and a beak, so either that's all we could find or we must have messed him up during the boss battle back in The Flying Duckman. (Assuming that was even him.)

Grab what you can and start climbing, because the mist wants you dead.

You see, this tower is the most hated level in the entire game! It's the only level that I genuinely can't stand due to the following reasons:

#1: The mist is still instant death, and the wonky jump doesn't help when trying to climb.

#2: This is an escort mission, and you know how much people love those.

You see those flaming duck heads that are encroaching on the remains jar? If they get near, they'll drag Quackoo away - if the jar goes offscreen, you lose a life and have to restart the entire thing. No checkpoints. Brutal!

#3: It's so sloooow. While the Flying Duckman was slow too, it at least doesn't stop you from ending the level at your own pace. Worse is that the tower goes forever, so you don't even have the mercy of this being short.

Combine all the above and you have an incredibly frustrating final level... to the point where I straight up quit back when I was a child and threw the game away! Granted, while I severely regret doing that, that's pretty telling.

You can't just outspeed the jar, too, because you have to wait for these bone platforms to spawn - the platforms are too high to jump on otherwise.

Again, no checkpoints. If you die, you start from the bottom.

What happened to the generosity that was in the earlier parts in the game? Even the rising fire level from the volcano world had checkpoints in it - this is just as long and you have to go up the tower by foot, so come on.

This level will test how good you are at shooting, because the ghosts that try to snatch Quackoo away will come in from all sides. The level does provide special ammo to help blast away these idiots, but be careful because the ammo is limited whereas the ghosts are not.

... It is kind of creepy when you think about it. Like what do they want Quackoo for, other than just to spite Maui?

Oh thank the lord, we finally made it to the top. They knew it was a ridiculous task too, because they put not only an extra life, but also an extra continue there too. This is the only continue doll I've seen outside of Babaluau Baby, so mama mia that's crazy.

Once Quackoo makes it to the altar (complete with scary grasping hands with long red claws), breathe easy because the ghosts can't take him away.

We've conquered the Realm of the Dead!

And what does Quackoo give us for our troubles? A sock in the nose and a jab in the eyes, but also the location of Shabhum Shabhum!

... Yes, that really is the end of level 7.

No boss, strangely enough... just two stages, with one being an obnoxious tower climb. Truthfully it's tough enough already, but it does kinda feel like there's something missing, like there was a big honking demon we should have fought between the first stage and the tower.

There was no way I was going to do the Babaluau Baby, though.

[Current OST: Intro]

Awwww muk, time for the final showdown. We now have unlimited access to Cold Shadow, so that's rad.

This is the only stage and there's no loot to grab - it's just one big fight against you and the Witch Doctor that stole Shabhum Shabhum to begin with.

[Current OST: Mojo Stronghold]

Oof, ain't this a hell of a stage for a final battle. The song takes a bit to build up, but once it does... it's pretty epic. I love how it's effectively a pastiche of almost every area song in the game, with emphasis on the Ninja Training Grounds due to the fact that, hey, we're going to be fighting him as Ninja Maui.

The theming is fantastic, I swear.

As for the final battle itself, the Witch Doctor has a bunch of tricks up his sleeve. He'll shoot fire, electricity and he even has these fancy purple orbs that I assume are filled with Mojo power.

Only the ones on the main stage are required to break - the ones on the sides give you health in case you were taking a beating.

There's nothing stopping you from just shooting him with regular Maui, but I think the game makes you stop after a while and just kicks you onto the main stage.

You also can't just jump onto the stage as soon as the fight starts, because then this happens.

Roasted duck, anyone?

Once you've broken both orbs on the main stage, lighting will force you to jump on the main stage. Keep in mind that if you do lose a life, you have to restart the fight. Ooof.

Now it's just you and the Witch Doctor - one on one.

Now you can't cheap him out by using regular Maui because he'll block all your shots with his face??

Yeah, he doesn't have a face or even a head under his mask. Voodoo magic is crazy if he's able to keep fighting like this.

His attacks range from shooting fire at you, socking you with a giant boot for 25 damage (yeesh) and teleporting around the arena - it's pretty tough if you don't keep your distance, but...

Keep at it and you can send him barreling into the depths of Hell.

The idol is ours and the island is safe once more.

[Current OST: Ending]

... We saved the idol and it's a goddamn fridge. What a wacky ass game this is.

But hey, at least everyone's fine!

"Oh, if only you were still with us, I would take you on an adventure you would never forget. But, alas, you were struck down in your moment of glory. So from this day forward, our island will bear your name. Although..."

An adventure he'd never forget, huh?

... That said, she does notice that Maui is struggling on the ground there, right? She's talking about him like he's dead, even though we've survived going into a volcano and literal death mist.

Haha. Very cheeky there, game.

Awww, Maui does get the girl after all! That's sweet.

... It also kind of explains why the ending theme is wedding music, so hell yeah. He needs a vacation after all this craziness too.

... Ouch.

It really is kind of a shame this game and its different ports didn't sell well, because imagine how cool a sequel or even a Disney animated series (ala. Ducktales) would have been.

However, as much of a happy ending that was, we're still not done. Next time on Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow, we're going to switch consoles and dive into uncharted waters with the Genesis version. See you guys then.

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