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Let's Play Maui Mallard! Final Thoughts

Posted October 26th, 2018 at 1:43 PM by Rainbow Chara X
Updated October 27th, 2018 at 4:16 PM by Rainbow Chara X

Goodbye, Maui Mallard. Here's to the 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance your property will get a modern remake. *clinks soda can against computer*

Final Thoughts (SNES & Genesis)
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(Rating scale: Excellent (84 – 100)
Good(70-83)
Average(50 -69)
Bad – also counts as B-Movie So Bad It’s Good in case I happen to enjoy it (35 – 49)
Awful (34 to 0))

Full Title: Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow / Donald Duck in Maui Mallard

Originally published: Maui Mallard was originally released on December 8th, 1995 for the Genesis. The SNES version was first released in Europe on November 28th, 1996. There was even a PC version released on September 30th, 1996.

Type: Sidescrolling platformer

Length: Both games are on the brief side at almost two hours - combined it's about four.

Difficulty (SNES): Fair, but reasonably challenging. Some parts are pretty intense, but nothing that can't be resolved with some practice.

Difficulty (Genesis): Absolutely brutal and in that kind of fake difficulty kind of way too. The stiff controls don't help when there's instant-kill pits all over the place, not helped by some other aspects.

Developers/Artists/Etc.: Disney Interactive Studios (Developer), Eurocom Entertainment (Developer), Michael Giacchino (Composer), Patrick J. Collins (Composer), Steve Duckworth (PC soundtrack Composer), etc.

Overall Plot of Both:
  • You are a "medium-boiled" down-on-his-luck duck detective known as Maui Mallard. You are originally without much of a purpose until you learn that the Mojo Idol known as Shabum Shabum has been stolen by the nefarious Witch Doctor. It's your job to get it back or the island will be destroyed!
Pros & Cons (SNES)

· Impeccable graphics for the SNES with a vibrant color palette and fluid animations. This ranges from the beautiful purple stormy sky and sea in the Ninja Training Grounds to the terrifying elder god eye in the Realm of the Dead.

· An incredible and memorable soundtrack, with Level 2, 4 and 5 being my favorites. It also has a unique theme for the Flying Duckman.

· Surprisingly dark storyline for a Disney game, but it's handled with some comedy as to not be completely grim

· I love the Hawaiian aesthetic this game has, it certainly makes it unique

· Level design is generally well-made and non-linear - there's quite a bit for you to chase outside of just going to the exit

· The difficulty is fair and the controls, while a little stiff, function pretty well.

· Cold Shadow, Maui's ninja alter-ego, is a really badass design. I like how the game gives both him and Detective Maui time to shine, especially during the final boss fight.

· Hilarious ending that unfortunately drops a sequel tease that never got followed up on.

· Trying to get a password via Babaluau Baby is unnecessarily complex, but at least I can see it was an incentive to explore all the levels fully. It's also nice that they tell you how much loot you have to grab to get the bonus at the start of every level.

· It's one of those "beat it in one shot" type of games if you don't look for all the loot, though. The game only has passwords to keep track of progress.

· The bungee vine level in Test of Duckhood is tedious and annoying with how much busy work you have to do, not helped by the strange hit detection in certain parts.

· It sucks that Zombie Powder isn't permanent like in the Genesis version - your health resets to 100 every time you complete a stage.

· The amount of death pits towards the end of the game made exploration a little more painful than it should have.

· The goddamn tower level in the Realm of the Dead Stage 2. It's an escort mission combined with a painfully slow climb that also has no checkpoints should you fail. You have to start from the bottom if you die or if Quackoo's remains get dragged off screen.


Pros & Cons (Genesis)

· Impeccable graphics for the Genesis with a vibrant color palette and fluid animations, although they're a bit more subdued and muddy than the SNES version.

· An impressive soundtrack, complete with actual boss music that the SNES version lacks.

· Surprisingly dark storyline for a Disney game, but it's handled with some comedy as to not be completely grim. Some things are a bit more outright terrifying here, like the flaming tiki head boss in Level 4.

· I love the Hawaiian aesthetic this game has, it certainly makes it unique

· Level design is generally well-made and non-linear - there's quite a bit for you to chase outside of just going to the exit

· I like how Zombie Powder can be permanent throughout the game if you don't die

· The addition of the Bomb Beetle adds a new layer of strategy to Detective Maui's gunplay

· Cold Shadow, Maui's ninja alter-ego, is a really badass design. I like how the game gives both him and Detective Maui time to shine, especially during the final boss fight. I also love how the enemies lack invincibility frames in this version, so you could combo them to death with just Cold Shadow alone.

· I like Babaluau Baby more in this version because it's not some weird vertical fireworks chase and is instead an on-rails unicycle section.

· Hilarious ending that unfortunately drops a sequel tease that never got followed up on.

· The Genesis version was released first in Europe only while the SNES and PC versions came later. This explains why there's so many quality of life additions in later releases.

· (PC Version) Not fond of the soundtrack in that version.

· It's one of those "beat it in one shot" type of games if you don't look for all the loot. The game only has passwords to keep track of progress.

· The game has hideously punishing difficulty - not only does the game ask you to make some pretty steep jumps, but there's also the fact your health doesn't regenerate at the end of every level (because of Zombie Powder's permanent HP mechanic).

· The controls are terrible. The basic movement and attacks are fine, but trying to swing from a hook point with Cold Shadow in this version has cost me more lives than I'd want to admit. You have to be precise with both your swing and your momentum or you fall into the abyss, and you have to do this a lot... especially in the final boss fight.


· The game has certain mechanics that they never tell you about, such as the Teleport move that Cold Shadow possesses. (At least this one was somewhat remedied in the PC version with a hint system.)


· It sucks that Zombie Powder goes away when you die.

· Maui's basic bullets are laughable in this version - they do the least amount of damage and don't go very far.

· The amount of everything that can kill you towards the end made exploration more tedious than it should have.

· The pirate ghost boss in The Flying Duckman is a test of patience because you have to hit him when he pops up, otherwise you're eating 25 damage mine bombs with disjointed hitboxes.

· The goddamn tower level in the Realm of the Dead Stage 2. It's an escort mission combined with a painfully slow climb that also has no checkpoints should you fail. You have to start from the bottom if you die or if Quackoo's remains get dragged off screen.


SNES Final Thoughts (91/100)

Genesis Final Thoughts (75/100):

Maui Mallard is an interesting game - it was a standalone Donald Duck property with some black comedy, a hawaiian setting, ninjas and a visit to the Duck equivalent to Hell. It had so much potential, to the point where the creators themselves planned out a sequel and an animated series(?), only for that dream to wither away due to the games' mediocre sales.

The SNES version was a major part of my childhood back then, with it being one of the games (Chrono Trigger and Donkey Kong Country included) that shaped me as a person. It still remains pretty charming today, albeit with some flaws.

The original Genesis version, on the other hand, suffers quite a bit and it's not because I didn't play it when I was young. That'd just be petty.

It's the same game at its core and I still like it, but its difficulty comes from cheapness rather than fair and balanced game design. The lack of HP restoration, stiff controls, and mechanics they don't ever tell you about don't really leave a good impression on me.

Like seriously, you have no idea how painful swinging from hook points in this game is like unless you play it yourself.

That said, I've enjoyed my time with this part of my childhood and I'm always glad to share more obscure games to whoever's out there. See you guys later with more Sailor Moon or Pokemon Emerald.
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