Who remembers Duckman? Anyone? Well, if you haven't seen this adult animated show from the same people behind Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys then your truly missing out. Even if your a fan of the show (and if you've seen it, you definitely are), you may not have realised that in 1997 there was an adventure game based on the lewd private dick / family man...
Where Duckman: Legend of the Fall is certainly known is amongst classic adventure gaming enthusiasts. It is notoriously one of the most difficult to find games in this genre becoming rare just a few years after release. The cause of such obscurity was pretty much down to the poor release date of May 1997 when the show would soon be permanently off the air after four seasons. As such it was released in limited numbers. A quick search on eBay for a physical copy yields zero results, either as current or completed sales which makes it difficult to asses the going price. I'd suspect that it could easily venture into the hundreds.
The game open with the monotonously voiced porcine sidekick Cornfed narrating from the trenches of a war zone as if it were some 1940s film noir. He's telling us the story of Duckman and how he completely ignores his duties as a reality TV star (it's going all meta on us) by expensive month long spa visits and prostitute binges. You play as this fowl-mouthed mallard who proudly puts the 'dick' in private dick. It comes as no surprise to everyone else that upon your return to the family home, the studio has replaced you with your exact opposite: the muscular and generous New Duckman.
Your family loves this New Duckman who has taken over your life. Your sons, the dumb yet poetic Ajax and the two headed Siamese twin geniuses Charles and Mambo all relish the attention and support that was missing from their real father. Even the ever disapproving Aunt Bernice approves of the new muscle man in their home and has therefore requisitioned an electric fence to keep "Old" Duckman out. Can this lazy, self-abdorbed bird get his life back? Can he save his TV show from the mundanity of the supportive New Duckman? Does the fact the show was cancelled give away the ending? And why is Cornfed in the trenches? You have to play it to find out.
it won't take you that long to get these answers. The overall game can easily be completed in an afternoon and the puzzles won't cause problems to even the most novice of adventurers. That's not always a bad thing - sometimes I just want to play through a compelling and entertaining story and Duckman is certainly at least one of these things. Much like the cartoon, the comedy is perfectly played helped by the fact that most cast members return to voice their characters. Even the legend that is Tim Curry reprises his role as the arch villain King Chicken. Alas, Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander doesn't return as the title character but the replacement does such an excellent job you'll barely notice.
Graphically, it looks decent enough. It can't compare with other bigger budget adventures of the time like The Curse of Monkey Island, but it adequately captures the sordid humour and the wonky animation of the show.
It may not test your grey matter, but it will make you laugh your ass off in a hugely entertaining couple of hours. Just don't let you children play it unless you want to have that awkward conversation of why a sex worker would own a donkey.
To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer uses the DOSBox Daum build of DOSBox 0.74 running Windows '95. Tested on Windows 7.
IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting DOSBox. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data. Press Ctrl-F9 when it is safe to do so.
Duckman: Legend of the Fall is © Playmates Interactive Entertainment
Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man is © Klasky CsupoReview, Cover Design and Installer created by me