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Let's Play Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow - Chapter 1

Posted May 15th, 2018 at 2:14 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Updated June 2nd, 2018 at 5:44 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Tags lp#7

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


We only really get this starting off, huh. Options allows you to choose what difficulty you want (Hard just makes enemies hit hard and that's about it) and has a Sound Test... although it's not a traditional sound test that plays music, no it's a literal sound test that only plays eight sound effects.

It's lame, especially considering the bomb-ass soundtrack this game has.

[Current OST: Intro]

I love how the music compliments the silhouetted intros for each beginning level. This game practically oozes style for a SNES platformer, just sayin'.

The game is split up by stages and all your possessions reset as you progress through them. I'll explain Luau Loot in just a bit.

[Current OST: Mojo Mansion]

This place is haunted, yo. The Mojo Mansion is a neat first level - you have spiders, ghosts and creepy old butlers hounding you from the get-go. The Mojo Mansion theme is actually my least favorite in the game and I still find it hella catchy.

... And what a doozy of a first screen. The floating shrunken heads serve as checkpoints because why not?

Maui attacks with a gun that shoots bugs of all things... or as he likes to call it, a 1935 Westchester Bug Gun. I kid you not. Shooting the hands off the grandfather clock reveals a very suspicious bag of sparkly stuff - believe it or not, that's Zombie Powder that Maui can use to extend his life.

Yeah, he uses Zombie Powderto gain extra health. This game is rife with Voodoo if you haven't noticed. (Though granted, real life Zombie Powder is made from toxic animals and causes Tetrodotoxin poisoning that makes people look like they're dead, but whatever this is just a video game.)

The Bug Gun has an ammo count of 50, but it never really runs out due to its regenerating ammo properties. The shots are also green because maybe we shoot the bugs so fast it turns them to mush. Yeesh.

Some of Maui's idle animations because I love how everything looks in this game. Disney doesn't disappoint in making good-looking video games.

I especially like the one where his gun backfires and pops him with black gunk everywhere, given how there's alternate versions of it where it doesn't do that. The attention to detail is staggering.

Oh no the bookshelf ate Maui.

It takes him outside where there's this neat stone sculpture of a duck head. They really run with that duck theming for the entire game and I love it.

The shiny bits of jewelry and gold we keep finding all across the stage are the Luau Loot that the prep screen talked about - collecting enough of them allows you to access a bonus stage upon completing the world. That's all they're really good for, but I'm such a kleptomaniac that I can't help myself from the shiny things.

There's a hidden chain that you can climb up to get more loot, but what I'm really interested in is that angry-ass duck skull that serves as the wood frame. Like jeez.

The spiders are enemies, so you'd be forgiven for thinking these beetles are enemies too. Nah, they're power-ups for your gun.

The white electric beetles give you this rad spread shot, but unlike your normal shots they don't come back. You have to be extra careful with them, essentially.

There was an instruction manual that came with this game that explained why and what we're doing, funnily enough. There was apparently only one creepy butler in the entire mansion, but in-game there's just a bunch of him.

I like how the butler is so visibly disgruntled with his head cocked so low that you can practically hear him grumbling.

His - whoa, that's spooky - Spider Buffet didn't really sit well with me, so I had to give him a check written in bug guts.

I took a shot of the piranha at possibly the goofiest moment. In all seriousness, normally water is a super-hazard in these types of games, but here? Jumping in only does one damage to you. I guess they paid attention to the fact Maui is a duck after all.

The lower part of this stage is filled with totem heads. This one in particular sends you up where I can explain a brand new item - the Tropical Punch! These are your standard health recovery items - a glass restores about 20 HP while an entire pitcher recovers all of your health.

You'll need them too, because the floaty controls can be really unforgiving sometimes.

There's a pitcher that shoots green muck that you can counter with your own, but the more interesting thing is the red beetle.

It shoots an (admittedly terrible) homing shot that zooms towards the closest enemy. You can combine the two types of beetles, but all it really does is turn the homing shot white.

Oh well.

It's at least useful for certain situations.

You have to be careful when going through these bits because there's a ton of crushing pillars that come in out of nowhere. Getting hit with them shows off an admittedly amusing animation, but losing health isn't quite as funny.

Uh. A blood-red hand in a chimney swipes up Maui and shoots him up. Nothing wrong here.

There are these strangely 3D spinning things that bop you off of them, but I can never get the timing right for them. At the end of the level is another bookcase and some more loot, but that's about it.

For the most part, stages aren't too long or interesting sometimes.

Stage 2 of Mojo Mansion has you taking this smaller totem head across the stage while it shoots darts at you, but other than that? Not too terribly interesting.

I should also mention that the health boosts you get from Zombie Powder are removed from stage-to-stage, so they're only really useful for certain stages.

Stage 3 is the only dimly-lit stage in the entire game, and thank god for that. You have butlers coming in from behind and a flying beetle that serves as your only form of illumination.

For some reason, your shots are red here. I can only assume this is a palette mix-up because they're not red in any other part of the game. Good thing too because I don't exactly find it appealing to shoot giant globs of blood I mean tomato juice.

You have spinning pillars here for some reason. I have to admit as a kid this was kind of spooky because we're in a dark mansion filled with spiders and stuff, but now it's just annoying trying to navigate around all the enemies. Good thing the stage's just a straight line from start to finish, otherwise this would be maddening.

I mean, oof. That must really smart.

Stage 4 is the final level of Mojo Mansion, and it involves this huge ornate organ. I dunno who built this mansion, but they sure liked spiders. That makes them my sworn enemy.

You have to go around the entire place because you have a wall preventing you from just jumping onto the organ. It also introduces these cute little ghost things that aren't too dangerous, but just keep them in mind for later on.

I should take this time to mention that not only was there a Genesis version, but there was also an Original Game Boy adaptation of Maui Mallard. This sounds great until you see it in action.

Suddenly the amount of effort that went into games like Link's Awakening, Metroid II: Return of Samus and the Pokemon titles becomes noticeable.

The golden Maui head is an extra life! Good muk.

While we're at it, I find it difficult to describe Maui's platforming skills. It's sort of like the classic Castlevania jump, but not as stiff/restrictive. It may be because I'm playing with a keyboard and not an actual SNES controller, but it's still something I noticed.

He can shoot while hanging from a chain, but his rate of fire is so slow you may as well not bother.

When you get to the organ itself, just touching the frame will knock you up and you can't go back down. That said, that ring on the other side has always mystified me because I don't think you can actually collect it! Hmm.

What a wacky-ass game this is.

That's about it for the platforming! Now we face the boss of Mojo Mansion -

This hideous golden duck-faced spider chandelier. It throws out smaller spiders at you and the whole thing is just one big no. Props for creativity, though.

It's not a tough boss in the slightest if you exercise caution and remember that you have a GUN.

But wait, there's more! After you damage it enough times, its legs will pop off and it will try crushing you with its entire body weight. Man, the ghost haunting this thing really wants Maui dead, huh?

And with that, my friends, I have conquered the Mojo Mansion.

At the end of every level, the game tallies up the loot you've acquired through each stage. If you reach the amount it asks, you get to access Babaluau Baby.

[Current OST: Title Theme]

These are bonus stages filled with extra lives and other things that you have to collect in a certain amount of time. Also wow, that is one smug star. You can blind people with that kind of grin.

The whole point of Babaluau Baby (in the SNES version anyway) is that you have to collect these rockets to end the stage. They're placed on these frankly cartoony-as-psyduck looking suns and moons perched high up in the air. The moon in particular looks like it hopped out of Courage the Cowardly Dog with those teeth.

This golden idol thing is far more valuable than an extra life in that it is an extra Continue of all things. So even if you mess up, you can still keep going as long as you get these guys. Granted, there's only one instance of a gold idol being in the actual stages I can think of - the only reliable way to get them is to do Babaluau Baby, and that's only if you get enough Loot.

Collecting all the rockets in Babaluau Baby gives you a password, so there's that if you want to continue where you left off. This was pretty much essential if you wanted to replay the game in an age where the internet barely existed, like how I did it.

[Current OST: Intro]

Oh boy here we go, guys. One of the best levels in the game already! But don't take my word for it...

[Current OST: Ninja Training Grounds]

... Just take a listen! I love how this level starts off all nice and sunny, but that'll change in a snap.

Strange talismans...

Again, I love the spritework because you can tell they had a ton of fun designing these statues.

Huh? Who the heck are you?

Well. That was one hell of a magic act!

This guy is the Witch Doctor - he's effectively the main villain of the game, although we don't get to see him again for a while.

He transformed Maui into Cold Shadow, aka. his ninja counterpart. We trade away our gun for close combat bo staff strikes. This is super badass, especially given how there's a raging storm now.

The main enemies of the Ninja Training Ground are multi-colored copies of Cold Shadow that hit really hard, like 20 HP a pop. Thankfully it's easy to cheese them by just mashing the attack button, but doing so eats up your Ninja Meter.

Yeah, Cold Shadow has a meter that decreases every time you do normal attacks.

Even in this game I get shots where lightning changes how the screen looks. Either way, this is a brilliant wordless tutorial - you see this enemy ninja swinging from a surface and maybe think "hmm, what if I can do that too?"

Likewise, you see this guy hanging from a surface by snapping his staff against the walls. Interesting... although you'd have to experiment with which button does that because I remember having trouble with that as a kid.

Cold Shadow changes color depending on how much his Ninja Meter is filled up. We're a yellow belt right now, but we could become a Black Belt if we get up to 900. The red eyes you see there are not an enemy - in fact, it shoots more talismans for you to use.

Weird animation smear aside, this giant stone duck shoots out dummies for you to fight. I really like the theming this level has, because it really does feel like a training ground for novice ninjas. Given that the point is to introduce you to how Cold Shadow works, it's just brilliant.

After beating up enough dummies, it leaves its mouth wide open and you can walk straight into it. Why would you do this?

You get to pilot it and break through walls, of course.

Although you can't cheat and take them around for the entire level because they just spit you out. Aww.

You press the Y button to hang against walls, by the way.

Ooooh sparkly. What does this do?

Oh, it teleports you to a different part of the map. This is technically optional, but any secret with Zombie Powder is a good one.

More dummy-bashing action...

It was at this point that baby Dan was changed forever. Hilarious plaque of ducks fighting aside, the sheer atmosphere of the rain, the beautiful blend of purple ocean and clouds and the masterful soundtrack tying it all together mystified me as a child.

It's something I could never forget even if I tried.

Breaking all of these pillars may be a bad idea though. (That said - wow, I didn't get a good look at the left-most duck. I've heard of low blow, but that's below the belt.)

When you reach the shrunken duck head, the entire place crashes down. Apparently those were load-bearing pillars, oops.

Oh well, we still made it to the end anyway.

Stage 2 reveals something interesting - even Cold Shadow isn't immune to the Bag of Spilling each stage induces. If you need to transform, you need to collect talismans again.

That is one super intense stone statue, though.

Small talismans give you 25 while big ones give you 100. You have to press X to switch from Maui to Cold Shadow, so that's cool at least.

I think it was around this time that I was taught the importance of secrets in video games because I saw this set of talismans and remember wanting them so badly, but had no idea how to get them. Then again, I was really young.

There's green and blue ninjas now, but I'm not sure what's even that different about them.

There's green blocks that break when you hang off them. They're not too much of an issue given how you can just jump off, but this ties into a neat secret.

There's a wall made up of these green blocks that you can break to lead into a secret grove! I find that interesting due to how it utilizes a creative use of your skills... too bad there's not much use for loot if you're good at the game.

I love how violently the ninjas (and you by extension) react to getting smacked around.

... Speaking of smacked around, I actually lost a life!

Yeah, I got a bit careless. It doesn't help that when the ninjas see you, they instantly attack you with no in-between frames or anything. It's pretty harsh.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, this is where it happened. Right next to a Zombie Powder of all things.

These panels reveal a set of spears, but it's not like they chase you or anything. I guess it's to punish players that let go of the Y button, but I've never gotten hurt by this thing unless it was on purpose.

We've only found 37% of all the loot and we're three stages in... huh. As much as I love saying it, Babaluau Baby has been obsoleted by the Internet.

Be careful when you start Stage 3 because there's no ground below these stone heads. If you fall down those pits, it's instant death. At least now it's not as frequent, but later on? Whoof.

Stage 3 also introduces these spiked swinging hammocks. That's what I've always seen them as, alright.

Funnily enough, stage 3 is the shortest and most straight-forward of the Ninja Training Grounds because we've already made it to the exit!

"The legends prophesied a great hero would save Shabum Shabum, not you!!"

Whoa, a wild duck waifu appeared! Wait, who are you exactly?

According to the Maui Mallard instruction manual, she is the High Mojo Priestess/Hernae. She's a shamaness that's responsible for protecting the island... and she's also the first person introduced that absolutely hates Maui's guts.

Yeah, I don't know what he did, but there was an entire incident before the game took place that made everyone on the island resent our favorite duck detective. In-game though, this is about all you get.

"This is only a warning!"

[Hernae teleports away in her Big Angry Ball(tm)]

... Psh, like that's going to stop me. Watch me, babe!

Stage 4 is the boss of the area and whoa, that statue is sick. It's like an ancient martial arts master... but he's a duck!

The Ninja Training Grounds doesn't have a traditional boss, per se. It's more of a gauntlet against all the ninja types you have (and haven't) fought. Normally this would be pretty challenging, but...

Hilarious crouching pose aside (he's literally hiding behind his staff), this allows you to do a really cheap attack: bashing your enemy's shins until they die. It doesn't cost anything, it stunlocks the enemy and you can do it as much as you want until they die.

It really works. We hit them so hard we knock their dentures out, that's how overpowered we are.

Though granted, these ninjas have Hidden A.I moves such as being able to move while crouching, but it's so rare that you might never see it.

After the blue ninja, they start throwing two at a time at you. They still fall to the vaunted knee stab technique all the same. I do like the look of the gray ninjas, though.

The blue ninjas with blue feathers are special in that they can shoot electric projectiles. How? Ninjustu, obviously. This just makes me wish Cold Shadow can shoot things too, but then that'd make regular Maui useless, so we can't win them all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Oh my god I forgot they did that. Yeah, one of Cold Shadow's idle animations has him using his bo staff as a hula hoop. I didn't know Ninjas could bend the laws of physics!

The final ninjas of the gauntlet are these pitch-black ones that can shoot waves of fire at you. They hurt the most (I remember them doing at least 50 damage, although that may have been on hard mode) and their sprites kind of blend into the background... as ninjas do.

Those were probably the elite of the elite yet they fell to the cheapest trick in the book.

Wait, huh? Even Cold Shadow is confused!

Oh. Right, the yin-yang symbol pops off and turns into a buzzsaw for... some reason? Is this part of the training?

It goes in a perfect figure eight and isn't that hard to hit, so you got me.

Destroying it yields us another extra life and we graduate as a full ninja!

But no Babaluau Baby was had...

Next time on Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow, we dive into the darkest heart of the island and have a chat with the natives. See you guys then!

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