Monday, January 14, 2013

The Top 30 Vertical Shooters for the Atari 2600 #18

Deadly Duck
20th Century Fox

Fast-paced, duck-themed action where crabs throw bricks and dragonflies seek sweet revenge.  Deadly Duck has it all!  Well, maybe not all, but it certainly has a lot to like!

Deadly Duck is a fairly standard vertical shooter with some very interesting game play elements that make it extremely challenging.  You are a duck pitted against some meddlesome crabs who are trying to sink you with bricks they grab from the edges of the screen.  If they miss, the bricks miraculously float on the surface of the pond before sinking.  This can be hazardous since the bricks impede your ability to swim around.  Eventually the do sink, but if you are not careful you can block yourself into a sinking situation.  Luckily you can blast the bricks before they strike if you are quick enough.  The instruction manual even suggests it as a starting strategy!  If the crabs weren't trouble enough, their friends the dragonflies will show up and take umbrage to your presence.  They will leave you alone unless you shoot them.  It is then that they take offense and fire back.  The more dragonflies that show up, the more shots they will take if you shoot them.  These insects act as a barrier that bounces horizontally across the screen making you assault on the crabs all the more challenging.

Deadly Duck is a fairly simple game, but there are sufficient elements to make it extremely difficult even to skilled gamers.  The dragonflies fly low near the surface of the water and bounce your shots back at you rapidly and in increasing numbers.  The crabs are relatively small targets that move erratically and drop bricks in great numbers.  There is a lot to keep up with and if the pond becomes littered with bricks, you will be sunk quickly, no matter how good you are.

The graphics are simple, but well drawn.  Deadly Duck focuses on the game play more than spectacle, but that is most definitely to its credit.  Personally, I was shocked at how much fun this game is and how addictive it can be.  Since the difficulty is high pretty early out of the gate, there is a tremendous amount of "one more game" replayability.  Frustration is relatively low however because the game play inspires a variety of strategies for success.

It doesn't present itself as a top notch shooter, but Deadly Duck is a dark horse favorite on this list!

My Top Deadly Duck Score: 2540


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