Review by Psycho Penguin

Reviewed: 11/17/00 | Updated: 07/16/01

Okay.. think happy thoughts..

I have always been a pretty big fan of Disney games, as I feel as if they have been some of the most under appreciated games on the market. As a matter of fact, I have really enjoyed some of the Disney games on the old NES, especially games like Duck Tales and Mickey Mousecapades. Okay, maybe not so much Duck Tales, but Disney Adventures in the Magic Kingdom more than makes up for that. I really have liked a majority of the Disney games released for the various platforms out there.

However, there have also been the rare times in which I have disliked a Disney game or, in the most rare of cases, totally hated the Disney game. When it comes to totally hating a Disney game, one game comes to my mind almost instantly: Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow. Simply put, I did not enjoy playing this game much at all, as I felt as if it was a terrible attempt at making a Disney game. Certain aspects about the game are fun, but overall I just did not have a very enjoyable time playing the game.

It is sad, because I really wanted to enjoy playing this game. The main character himself (Donald Duck) is one of my all time favorite Disney characters. Some of you may be wondering why I say Donald Duck is the main character, when the game title clearly states that Maui Mallard is the main character. Well, Maui Mallard is basically Donald Duck in a Hawaiian shirt. How cool is that? Based on that fact alone, I really wanted to enjoy the game, because Donald Duck is one of, if not, my favorite Disney character.

However, I just could not enjoy playing this game as much as I wanted to. It just seemed to me to be a totally boring platforming game in which I have played far too much of. The game itself borders on the tedious side, as a majority of the game has you collecting treasures and turning from Maui Mallard the normal duck into a ninja. Now, that is certainly an innovative idea, and I really expected that particular aspect of the game to be fun, but even that I could not enjoy as much as I expected. For some reason I just did not enjoy this game much at all, and I really cannot say anything more about this game than that.

The story line in the game is certainly not going to break any new grounds in terms of innovation, but that is not to say I did not enjoy the story line in the game, as I felt it was a pretty decent attempt by Disney Interactive. The basic story line is fairly simple. You are Maui Mallard, who as I have already mentioned is just Donald Duck in a Hawaiian shirt. You are sent on a case of mystical proportions: The Case of the Missing Mojo.

Okay, maybe it is not revolutionary, although the story line is pretty solid, despite Disney's obvious attempts to make a humorous story line, which actually failed for the most part, believe it or not. Yes, I did not find the story line in the game that humorous. It does have its moments where I find myself cracking up at a certain part, but overall it just is not that funny. The story line is decent enough for a Disney game, but do not expect to find anything totally amazing here, because then you will be disappointed.

The graphics in the game are pretty good, as everything is so well designed and very colorful. There are plenty of great looking Disney games on the Super Nintendo, including the amazing Castle of Illusion, but Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow could be the best looking of them all, of you can believe that. The graphics in the game really are that good, as everything looks amazing, from the backgrounds to the character designs all the way down to the animation in terms of how Maui Mallard animates.

Let me talk about the backgrounds featured in the game first. They are simply awesome and represent some of the best I have ever seen on the Super Nintendo. I especially liked the variety of backgrounds in the game, as every background in the game looks just stunning, and the variety was very appreciated. There is just tons of details in the backgrounds that make them so special, from bugs running around in the bushes to statues in the Ninja Training Ground. I really liked the variety and detail of the backgrounds featured in the game, as they were some of the best I have seen in a Disney game yet, and that is definitely a bold statement.

I really liked the animation in this game, as well, especially the way some of Maui Mallard's moves animate. Let me discuss these animations really quickly. Whenever Ninja Maui ducks, all you see is his staff on the ground with his eyes peering over it, looking from side to side. Also, both Maui and Ninja Maui have some animations that you see if you don’t move him for a couple of seconds. Maui twirls his gun, occasionally dropping it and blasting bug guts all over his face; Ninja Maui, in another move that defies logic, uses his staff as a hula hoop. Like I have already mentioned, the animations in the game are awesome and the variety is also top notch. I really liked the animation in this game.

In addition to the wonderful graphics of the game, the music in the game is truly remarkable, as well. I really liked most of the music in the game, as there was a variety of outstanding tracks in the game. I especially liked the music in the opening stage of the game, as it was really special and definitely got stuck in my head for a while. The songs vary in style and instrumentation, from the Hammond organ in Mojo Mansion to the accordion in the Flying Duckman. They always seem to fit in perfectly with whatever stage they accompany, which is always a good thing. I have always been a big fan of that, in case you didn't know already.

The sound effects in the game are great, as well. I really liked the voice acting in the game, as all of Donald's famous voices are in the game, and they are presented in style. I really find his voice to be quite awesome, so I was glad to hear that the game featured voice acting that included his voices. You hear his voice every time Maui gets hit, which is definitely an awesome thing. The other sound effects in the game are pretty good, as well, I really liked the variety of sound effects in the game, as most of them sounded really good. None of them can match the quality of the voices, however.

I really had a lot of problems with the control in Maui Mallard, and it is probably one of the main reasons why I could not really enjoy this game as much as I expected. It definitely takes a while to get used to the controls, as Maui likes to float in midair after a particuarly large jump. This makes landings tricky, as sometimes he will float over the ledge and then float back into the gap, causing you to lose a life.

This is not a good thing, and the other controls are also like this. It takes a bit of practice to figure out the way to get Maui to jump the way you want; without sufficient momentum, he’ll virtually jump in place, covering very little ground, so Maui definitely needs room to maneuver. I did like some of Ninja's moves however, and it is definitely easier to control the ninja than Maui himself. Ninja Maui also has a move that is one of my all-time favorites, which the manual refers to simply as the Wedge. When you find a gap the width of Maui’s staff, you can jump up and wedge the staff in between the walls. From there you can repeat the move and climb the gap in a ridiculously impossible fashion.

The game play, along with the terrible control, is where the game really falls apart, in my opinion. It is simply awful in some aspects, as some of the stages can border on pure tediousness. The basic game play to the game is a lot like any other game in its genre: you go around jumping from platform to platform, collecting treasures and killing enemies. It really is not that fun, and there are certain other aspects of the game that just makes the game much more boring and tedious to play than it already is.

The thing that I hate most about the game is the annoying password system of the game. Simply put, they messed up big time on this one. It is nearly impossible to gain any real passwords, because you have to complete a bonus stage. To get to the bonus stage, you first have to collect enough money. After collecting the money, you can then go into this bonus stage, which has you shooting off rockets and bouncing between stars and moons. I have never completed this bonus stage, because it is ridicuosly challenging.

One of the things I liked most about Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow, in terms of basic game play, is how you could switch between Ninja Maui and regular Maui Mallard. Each of them have certain strengths and weaknesses, which really gives the game play a certain variety to it. You will literally have to change your whole style of playing the game once you change between the two characters, because Maui is more of a platform jumper, while Ninja Maui is more of a stealth-like using sword kind of guy.

I did not really find much to like about this game, which severely limited the amount of time I played the game. It simply was not as fun and enjoyable as I expected, which means I did play this game as often as I would have expected. As a matter of fact, ever since I first played the game (about a year or so ago), I have only played this game three times, and one of those times was this morning so I could remember enough about the game in order to properly review it. That is the sad truth, and really shows you just how limited the replay value in the game was, at least for me.

The most challenging thing about this game is the fact you will have to beat it with a limited amount of lives, unless you are the exact opposite of me and actually gain some passwords from the bonus stages, because I have never been able to figure out how to complete the bonus stages. The challenging part of the game other than that is some of the later stages in the game, because they can get quite tough. The game is a little easier than expected, but you can change all of that by putting the game on the Hard difficulty setting in the options menu, then you should prepare for a great challenge.

Overall, I was disappointed with Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow. I expected it to be an above average game, because it had all the elements of an above average game. What are those elements? The first main element is the fact that it is a Disney game, after all I have enjoyed playing a lot of the Disney games out there. Secondly, it has a cool version of one of my all time favorite characaters, Donald Duck. And last, but certainly not least, it is the type of game I like. Platforming games are cool, in my opinion. Sadly, I did not enjoy this game much, at all, but you may like it. And that is a Ladies Man guarantee!

Donald Duck
-The graphics are very colorful and brightly animated.
-The music in the game sounds awesome.
-I really liked the sound effects in the game, especially the voice of Donald Duck after Maui Mallard gets hit.
-Switching between Maui Mallard and Ninja Maui was pretty cool.

Dragon Ball Z
-The password gaining system was an innovative idea but could have been put to use in a better, more effecient way.
-I did not like some of the music and sound effects in the game.
-It did not have the long-term replay value that I expected.
-The game just was not as enjoyable to play as I expected.
-Most of the control in the game is just plain awful.

I Run Down the Ratings... DaLadiesMan Style!
Story Line - 3.4/10
Graphics - 9.6/10
Music - 8.3/10
Sound Effects - 9.3/10
Control - 2.1/10
Game Play - 4.1/10
Replay Value - Below Average
Challenge - A Little Above Average
Is this game worth a purchase? - Nope, not really.
Overall - 4.1/10

The Last Line
I expected this game to be above average, and was disappointed to find a tedious and boring platform game. It is worth a purchase only if you are a diehard Donald Duck fan like me. Everyone else should find something else to do with their free time.

And that's a Ladies Man guarantee!

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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