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The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck (Sega Master System) artwork

The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck (Sega Master System) review

"It is a solid platformer that looks great. On the other hand, there are some things that just made it frustrating."

Disney Does Donald
The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck is a single-player, action / platforming game on the Sega Master System (SMS). Being a Disney-licensed game, it has a very similar look and feel to some other Disney titles, like Castle of Illusion...which is not a bad thing at all. The Lucky Dime Caper features a colorful variety of levels and environments, and a notable focus on platforming even though Donald can wield weapons (either a large mallet or a frisbee).

The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck (Sega Master System) image

A Little Ducked-Up
There is a lot of things to like about The Lucky Dime Caper, but perhaps the most noticeable thing is its graphical presentation. The general look of the game is nothing short of amazing, looking more like an early 16-bit game than anything an 8-bit console could dream of. Donald travels through lush, colorful environments fleshed out with a large variety of enemies and obstacles. To top all that, it's wonderfully animated! You need to put the controller down for a second? Well, Donald is not going to be very happy with you! You are fighting through a bitter cold storm? Donald will be shivering away if he stands still too long! On top of the great look, the levels are very well designed. They give the player a lot of variety, you can see everything from an auto-scrolling downhill run, to a challenging disappearing platforming section, to even alternate routes through some stages. Every new stage feels fresh and offers different challenges for Donald to adventure through.

Even though there are some great things about The Lucky Dime Caper, there are also some noticeable flaws. One of the major ones is actually the controls. Now, nobody ever said that Donald was the slimmest duck in the line-up, however, sometimes it feels like he handles like a 500-lb. mallard! This comes from the player's inability to really control Donald well mid-jump as well as a slight delay in starting to move or changing direction. Also, if you are near a ledge (when Donald is giving a flailing animation), you suffer drastically from movement slowdown, which does make sense logically...however, this really makes some platforming sections much more difficult than they need to be. The basic game mechanics also seem a bit lazy and can cause some frustration. First of all, extra lives are random drops (that drop noticeably often). This means that, as long as you sit in front of an enemy respawn point, you can simply farm up infinite lives. Such an easy way to "cheat" the system seems like a large oversight.

Continuing with some issues about The Lucky Dime Caper, Donald has the ability to use two different weapons, a mallet and a frisbee. However, when you get hit you lose your weapon, there is no ability to store a backup weapon, and to switch weapons you need to lose the one you have. Now it is pretty easy to find a weapon again, but having a weapon and having the right one can be the difference between something being trivial and something being massively difficult. One example is a boss fight where, if you have a weapon, you can simply jump up, and bop the boss. If you do NOT have a weapon though, you have to perform a series of well timed jumps to get a hit off on the boss, while dodging things. It is the difference between an encounter being a 2 / 10 on a difficulty scale or an 8+. This brings us to the final point, which is the difficulty. This game is obviously aimed towards the younger audience. However, there are just some super tough segments that will require a lot of deaths to learn, even for a somewhat experienced gamer. While this does follow the classic difficulty that most 8-bit games are known for, it doesn't take away that there is a lot of frustration to be found here. The good thing is, though, that the developers give you unlimited continues, which does help to alleviate this.

The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck (Sega Master System) image

Duck, Dimes, and Luck...Could You Ask for More?
The Lucky Dime Caper was a game I had heard a lot about from European gamers (I live in North America, and it was never released here). After playing it though, I don't think that it lives up to the hype. It is a solid platformer that looks great. On the other hand, there are some things that just made it frustrating. The somewhat sluggish controls and the unexpected difficulty both really threw me off. I also did not like the game mechanics. The fact that having the right weapon (or one at all) really affected the difficulty so drastically spoke to me of bad game balancing. However, I wouldn't say that this is a bad game by any means. In fact, if you are a huge fan of SMS platformers and haven't played this, I'd highly recommend giving it a go. But, if you are just curious about trying some platformers on the Master System, there are many others better than this.

Overall, The Lucky Dime Caper starring Donald Duck is a 3 / 5 for being a fun, but frustrating game experience.


Never3ndr's avatar
Community review by Never3ndr (November 13, 2015)

Retro-Gaming Enthusiast!

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