Duckman began life as a comic book (created by Everett Peck). It then became a cult (and not so cult) animated TV show, featuring the voice talents of Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame) as Duckman, and including the production talents of Klasky Csupo (initial producers of The Simpsons and responsible for a string of extraordinarily good animated series including Rugrats and The Wild Thornberries).
Duckman the game began life in about 1995 and saw the light of day in about 1997, albeit not widely available. As a fan of the show, I have been looking for a copy of the game for some time, and recently found a German version which plays in English. The hunt was well worth while.
If you are familiar with the TV show, you know what to expect. If you are not familiar with the show, be warned - Duckman is no Donald. He is rude, opinionated, obnoxious, sleazy, irreverent, and politically incorrect. He is the master of the smart mouthed one liner, and sexual innuendo. If your sense of humour leans towards these things, he is also extremely funny.
Duckman is a private detective, handling those cases no one else will touch. He lives with Bernice, the identical twin sister of his dead wife, who hates him, as well as his teenage bumbling boy Ajax, and his pre-adolescent two-headed son(s)? Mambo and Charles. His office is run by two infuriatingly cute stuffed bears who were hired by computer error, and like all good detectives he has an offsider, Cornfed the pig, and an arch nemesis, King Chicken.
The game has a nice hook into the TV show. After spending several months at the Abs n' Ass health spa, lolling about in the jacuzzi with nymphets and neglecting family and career alike, Duckman discovers the network has replaced him with a new improved likeable Duckman. He is no longer a TV celebrity, but only a scrawny yellow nobody, forsaken by everybody. Even Cornfed has remained at the network. Duckman must get his career back.
He will endeavour to do so via a third person perspective point and click interface. Duckman has two "moods" - normal and (typically for Duckman) pissed off. Interacting with objects in the former will usually elicit useful information. In the latter mode it may result in some action, and will be necessary for some others. It is also the mode used for taking items from the inventory. A Duckman cursor will indicate which mood he is in, and what can be interacted with. It will also indicate where you can exit the screens or move to another view.
The interface and game play is not complex to work out, which is just as well given that everything in the manual is in German. Subtitles are available, but they too are in German. As noted above though, the game dialogue is in English.
The puzzles are predominantly inventory based, and are not terribly difficult. In truth, the game plays more like an interactive episode of Duckman, and will for that reason likely be enjoyed most by those who like the show.
The graphics are a bit blocky, a product of its age, but are otherwise very good. The size of the cursor makes it occasionally difficult to discern and interact with different objects, but it is amusing in itself for its facial expressions. Cut scenes are prevalent, and the renowned Duckman banter is dominant. Some game interactions produce results for no reason other than they are fun (in a twisted sort of way - the interactions with Fluffy and Uranus the office assistants stand out). Indeed, Duckman himself will tell you more than once that he is not doing something because it simply isn't funny.
Duckman is not a very long game - several hours will see you through. Despite its modest specifications, the game loaded and ran without a hitch on my P3 800 with 128 RAM and Win 98. No tweaking was required. The install screen claimed to have loaded DirectX 3, but this proved not to be the case.
If you like no holds barred sarcastic wit, at times on the risque side, delivered by an egocentric sassy mouthed duck, then watch the show. If you like it and you also like games, you will enjoy this.
You can purchase this game on-line from Playing Games Interactive
Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2001.
All rights reserved.
Windows 95, IBM 486DX (Pentium recommended), 8 MB RAM (12 MB recommended), SVGA graphic card with VESA capability, 2x CD ROM (4x recommended)