"Ahead, a kettle lies over a burner, boiling a sludgy mixture while killer bees bomb at you kamikaze-style from the right. You know that a single misstep will turn you into an appetizer, so you watch a bee and then plot your jump as the space is clear. Suddenly, your bushy charge is plummeting into the soup and instant death, the victim of a crate to the head. It appears your devious cohort was waiting for you to let down your guard."
When I hear someone mention Chip ‘N Dale, I usually do think of the chipmunks first. You know, those pint-sized detectives that first bothered Donald Duck but later scored their own animated series with the likes of a bee named Zipper and a rat named after stinky cheese. It’s good that I think of them first, especially when the competition for the name includes a comfy chair and men who like to strip off their clothes while dancing for women. It suggests that, for the most part, I’m the sort of audience the 8-bit Rescue Rangers titles were made for.
The game has a story, and I’d tell it to you but for fear of spoiling something fantastic. *snicker* Anyway, it’s something about how Fat Cat (a tomcat who ate too much chow in his younger days) is causing trouble, and only the loveable rangers can save the day. Apparently, police and the like are totally oblivious to the rampaging robots streaking through the city like a co-ed through dormitories after a night of drinking… too much 7-up. But while the humans of the world turn a blind eye to this chaos, certain little bushy-tailed mammals are more than ready to step into the role of savior. And since this is an NES game we’re talking about, you can bet the human ‘player’ gets some involvement, too.
Or, as it turns out, the human ‘players.’ You see, it’s actually possible for one person to control Chip and the other Dale. With his Hawaiian shirt, the latter is obviously the symbol for badass, but one of you is going to wind up stuck with the over-coat wearing freak known as Chip. Cosmetic concerns aside, this actually isn’t all that bad. The two of you are on the screen at the same time, jumping your way through inspired stages that include city rooftops, a library, a kitchen, a forest, a sewer and even a casino. While it can be tempting to stop and look at how wonderfully artists have rendered things like giant beakers, mops and conveyer belts, this quickly becomes dangerous because of the other player.
That’s right, the other player. Imagine that you’re dashing across some ledges with your friend nearby. Ahead, a kettle lies over a burner, boiling a sludgy mixture while killer bees bomb at you kamikaze-style from the right. You know that a single misstep will turn you into an appetizer, so you watch a bee and then plot your jump as the space is clear. Suddenly, your bushy charge is plummeting into the soup and instant death, the victim of a crate to the head. It appears your devious cohort was waiting for you to let down your guard. One swift-moving block ended your reign.
As your chipmunk glides back onto the screen with only balloons to hold him aloft, the other player safely makes the jumps and grabs the oh-so-desirable flower cards. He chuckles maniacally and gains the extra life that should have been yours.
Such rivalries really add a lot to the game, I’ve found. Sure, there’s a killer single-player game that makes playing alone all kinds of rewarding, but somehow everything is better with a second chipmunk on the scene. Whether you’re tossing red balls (are they apples or cherries?) at a mop head or dodging a swarm of leaves as an owl attempts to cut short your journey through this mysterious world so close to our own, it’s just more fun when you know there may be the opportunity to make your opponent see stars just when he’s so full of himself that he thinks he’s invincible.
Sure, there are other uses for the crates. You can use them to shield yourself, for example. And you need them when it comes time to kick robot ass. But when you consider how they litter the game’s numerous stages to such a shocking degree, it becomes obvious that many of these wooden boxes of doom were meant for multi-player rivalries.
So to recap, we’ve got a game that features two chipmunks, a rat and a bee. Oh, and another mouse I forgot to mention, and an obese cat who commands some rampaging robots. We also have some neat environments to race through, boss encounters and even bonus rounds (the fact that I’m mentioning them just now in summary tells you something; they suck). But most importantly, Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers also features the kind of multi-player mode that can end friendships forever. It’s games like this that make the world a better place. Play it today and forever think of chipmunks first when someone says ‘chippendale.’
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Staff review by Jason Venter (Date unavailable)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
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