Sometimes some crimes go slipping through the cracks, but these two gumshoes are picking up the slack…
Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers debuted in early 1989 and went into national syndication that Fall. It featured the classic Disney characters Chip and Dale, but re-imagined as detectives.They were joined in their adventures by a cheese obsessed Australian mouse named Monterrey Jack, the uber inventive, mechanic and pilot extraordinaire Gadget Hackwrench, and the chipper little fly Zipper. Together they fought crime, taking on enemies like the malicious Fat Cat and the mad scientist Norton Nimnul.
In June of 1990, the Rescue Rangers made the leap to videogames. Like the DuckTales game, Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers was a Capcom game. It was designed by Masayoshi Kurokawa and produced by Tokuro Fukiwara (the producer behind Mega Man and director of games like Ghosts n’ Goblins).
The game was a side-scrolling platformer. Players could choose to control Chip or Dale (there was also a two player mode). They encountered various baddies as they moved through the levels, creatures like mecha chomp dogs, robo rats, bugs, flying squirrels and more. You had to pick up items to throw at the enemies as you moved through each level. Most stages had a boss, which players battled by picking up a red ball and throwing it at the villain.
At the start of the game, Chip and Dale are searching for a little girl’s lost cat, but the entire quest turns out to be a ruse cooked up by Fat Cat. While they were busy searching for the cat, he kidnapped Gadget. Luckily, she’s able to maintain contact with the crew, offering them tips as they move through the game. Monterey Jack appears from time-to-time, helping you break through things like walls. Zipper plays a role as well, granting players temporary invincibility.
In between stages players could move through a map, choosing the level they wanted to play next. There were several paths you could take to reach Fat Cat’s Casino, where Gadget was being held and it wasn’t necessary to defeat them all. The game lures players into thinking that it’s all over after the rescue of Gadget, but Fat Cat has a surprise in store. He escapes from his casino and makes his way to a hideout, opening up a few more levels before the final showdown.
Like DuckTales, Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers was a hit for the NES. A sequel came a few years later, and it also appeared in the 2017 compilation game The Disney Afternoon Collection (released on the PlayStation 4, XBox One, and for Microsoft Windows). The game play and music still hold up, and are a charming way for Disney and video game geeks to merge their passions. Just remember:
There’s no case too big, no case too small. When you need help just call: Ch-ch-ch-Chip N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers!