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Proto:Darkwing Duck (NES)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Darkwing Duck (NES).

This Darkwing Duck prototype is a late build: Most of the game content is present, though there are a lot of small changes to level layouts and object graphics.

Hiddenpalace.org logo.png  This prototype is documented on Hidden Palace.


Prototype Final
Copy, right? What a year that was!

The copyright information was updated to include the copyright year. "Capcom Co., Ltd." was shortened to "Capcom".

Prototype Final
Must be a bridge rave. Bright Lights, Duck City!

The bridge lights were changed from pink to yellow. The shadow by the last blue building was also adjusted slightly.


And awaaay he goes!

After beating a boss, Darkwing will jump up clear through the screen! This was taken out of the final version.

Prototype Final
If you can do that, why do you need Launchpad? Vroom! ...Wait, do planes go vroom? Whatever.

Darkwing does his little spring jump when you continue in the prototype, while he flies by in the Thunderquack in the final version. Note also that the prototype does not have an option to go to the stage select, but rather an option to quit the game.

Prototype Final
Points!!! Eh, just some points.

The highway design was changed from a flat perspective to slightly overhead. The exclamation point by the special point bonus was removed, as were the leading zeroes of the total point score.

Prototype Final
The disappointment! Every change and cut creates a different gaming experience...except this one.

This is nitpicky to a sad extreme, but aside from the aforementioned perspective change, Darkwing is placed one pixel lower in the final version.

  • Darkwing's hanging physics are still quite buggy in this version. He will often fail to hang on something even after coming in contact with it, and when he does hang, it will be to the left, right, or above where he's supposed to be.
  • Gas pickups don't carry over to other stages in the prototype.
  • Select gives a clean pause in the prototype. This means that to switch gas, you have to press Select twice.
  • Steelbeak's message at the end of the game is missing.
  • Two debugging features are enabled on the second controller – Down resets the game, B toggles invincibility mode (Darkwing will pass through enemies and power-ups, and will not take damage from spikes).
  • There are two bugs with the cape shield that were fixed for the final version:

I am the terror that floats in the night!

    • If the player has the cape up while standing on an arrow platform, a bug occurs when the platform falls. Darkwing will float in the air until the player either drops the cape or jumps.

Spikes? I laugh at spikes!

    • Darkwing will also fail to take damage from spikes if the shield is up. This means the player can jump from spike to spike as long as they don't let go of the Up button.

Bonus Stages

Prototype Final
Oh no, not the stoler items! Alright already, I didn't ask for your obituary.

The bonus stage intro text was completely rewritten for the final. Here, the first bonus stage's items went from being stolen by F.O.W.L. to being taken by some random burglars. With the added text, it almost makes sense now!

Prototype Final
But why? Those fiends.

Here, J. Gander Hooter (actual name) gives an explanation as to why you're in the sewer blocking capsules with your cape. The prototype doesn't really have an explanation. The final version definitely added some personality to the game's text.

Bonus Stage 1

Prototype Final
Random scene change! "Hey, that masked duck's on the roof again!" "Yeah, he's collecting capsules this time."

The bonus stages' artwork was totally altered for the final build. The first bonus stage's location changed from a rocky cliff at night, to a rooftop at daytime. Aside from a small gap under the left cliff, the layout is identical between versions.

Bonus Stage 2

Prototype Final
This is why I don't ride Ferris wheels. Eugh, I don't know if you'd want to collect anything that comes out of those pipes...

More scenery changes. This amusement park(?!) location was changed to some kind of sewer. Again, the layout is unchanged. The clouds in the prototype are still used in the final version's first bonus stage.

Stage Select

There's a bug present here in the prototype, where Launchpad will continue to use his talking animation while the player is choosing which stage to select.

Prototype Final
Oh, I'm sooo happy to fly you around! That's a good Launchpad!

A lot of the stage select text was altered. In the stage intro, Launchpad now uses his familiar moniker for Darkwing, "DW".

Prototype Final
Well, it's in-character. Uh, that bridge already looks built...

Just a minor grammatical correction here.

Prototype He's after Wolfman Scruthers!
Final He can only die when you make him eat silver feed.

"Wolfman Duck" was corrected in the final version to "Wolfduck", but the text was not realigned to compensate.

Prototype Final
Launchpad, you don't know what words mean! Everyone loves sewer levels!

The third stage's level name changed from the Underpass to the Sewers.

Prototype Final
Oh, those crazy Japanese! Not really, no.

Some L/R confusion! "Moriarty" completely bungles the pun in the character name. Luckily this was fixed in the final version.

Prototype Final
This will not stand! You better watch out, you bad boys!

Launchpad steals Darkwing Duck's catchphrase! This blatant theft is not present in the final.


Bridge (Quackerjack)

Prototype Final
Hmm...needs more bats! Looks at those bats, man!

Another bat was added to this section for the final version.

Prototype Final
Pulley Pullyou. We have moved.

All pulleys were moved 16 pixels to the right.

Prototype Final
Shine on you, crazy- ...oh. Never mind.

A lot of objects here were shuffled around. The diamond in the prototype was changed to gold bars and moved over to the left, and a large health pickup was added. The third platform was moved up 16 pixels, placing it on the same plane as the first platform.

City (Wolfduck)

Prototype Free wheeling.
Final Strangely, those tires don't pop.

The tires here were moved closer to the walls in the final. The Arrow Gas pickup is positioned a bit higher in the prototype.

Prototype Final
Hey, you in the window! You left your gold bars out on the balcony. Gold heals all wounds.

The gold bars and health are level in the prototype, but in the final build the gold bars were moved to the right, and the health to the left.

Prototype Final
Building design by Picasso. It's more difficult, I guess...

The last platform before the spikes was longer in the prototype.

Prototype Final
Building up! I hate those turtles!

This brown building was lowered for the final version, and the buildings in the background were altered as well.

Sewers (Liquidator)

Prototype Final
Not worth it. So worth it.

This hidden room of the Sewers is a lot more sadistic in the prototype, and the rewards are less plentiful. The final removes the floor spikes and places the floating platforms lower. It also adds two extra lives: one new, and one replacing the large gas pickup.

Prototype Final
Who put these spikes in the sewer? The platforms, though, *those* fit in.

The green platform here no longer goes in-between the two spike bars, making this section a bit more forgiving.

Prototype Final
When I think Kangaroos, I think sewers. Hippity hoppity!

The kangaroo enemy was moved one pillar to the right.

Woods (Bushroot)

Prototype Final
Oh, look – rocks! !skcoR

A recurring theme in this stage, the placement of the background rocks differs between the prototype and final release. The tree tile in the upper-left corner was also changed.

Prototype Final
¿sʞɔoɹ ɹoɔʞs¡

More background rock placement changes. The large platform extends further down in the prototype.

Prototype A good source of light. Uh, I mean, rocks.
Final Trying so hard not to make any rock puns...

Yet more background rock differences, and the first lantern here was moved down 16 pixels.

Prototype Final
Still rocks. ...I give up.

And yet again.

Wharf (Megavolt)

Prototype Final
Hanging from nothing? Ceiling hooks!

The steel platform was moved further to the left. A ceiling was added to hold the hook platforms, and a second hook tacked on as well. Like the bridge stage, the pulleys here were moved 16 pixels to the right.

Prototype Final
No, you can't actually be crushed by this. Can't get under it now, can you?

The extended ledge in the prototype makes it possible for the platform to pass through you. This was fixed in the final.

Prototype Final
Good thing no enemy removed that pulley... Sick of spikes yet?

The standard pulley change. The first spike on the ground is elevated higher in the prototype, and the rings around the ceiling spikes were lowered for the retail version.

Prototype Not good enough!
Final I think the layout guy has OCD.

More stage elements were moved to the right. This includes all pickups, the pulley, and the pole at the bottom. The final also has less cracks in the walls.

Prototype Final
You can never have enough health! The same does not apply to gas.

The largely pointless small health pickup was replaced with a large gas pickup. The final also removes one of the cracks in the walls and extends the top of the bottom platform.

Tower (Moliarty)

Prototype Final
Cartoons love I-Beams! It can't float like that forever...can it?

The two connectors on the bottom I-Beam aren't present in the final.

Prototype Final
Lanterns abound. Our lighting budget was cut...

The number of lanterns was reduced from four to two and recentered. The bottom I-beam was lowered to match.

Shaded for your pleasure.

As a result of this change, these shadow tiles are only used in the prototype. The tiles are blanked out in the final version.

Prototype Final
This is just cruel! Thanks, designers!

Sections of wall now jut out at the ends of this spike pit, and the red platform was moved up 8 pixels.

Prototype Final
More I-Beams. Mmm!

The second I-Beam protrudes more to the left in the prototype.

Prototype Final
Molefire? Contact your system administrator.

Moliarty's boss room is harder in the prototype. All the machines are active at the start, while in the final version the lower machine starts out broken.

They must be coming from Hammerspace! ...I'm sorry.

Moliarty's A.I. isn't quite finished yet. He will not move horizontally at all unless it's to fix one of the machines. While he's fixing the machines, he fires a steady supply of hammers. This thankfully doesn't happen in the final.

Fortress (Steelbeak)

Prototype Final
The G is for gas, by the way. He's a gasaholic!

The final version adds a heavy gas pickup here, making all three gas types available at the start.

Prototype Final
I love video game logic. Hop! Hop! Donut Lifts!

The prototype has two platform switches, while the final build has one platform switch and two of those donut platforms. The background tiles were also adjusted.

Prototype Final
No refuge from the Terminator Duck! A safe vantage point.

One last orange platform was added in the final version. The two pickups were moved up a whopping 1 pixel.

Prototype Final
A little bare, don't you think? Lights! Lights everywhere!

The lights on the wall aren't present in the prototype.

Object Graphics

Differences abound, as do graphics erased completely from the final version!


Prototype Final
It's a gas gas gas! ...Pardon me.

The standard gas shot is smaller in the final version.

Prototype Final
May not be as heavy as advertised. Not as heavy.

This also applies to the gas seen in the heavy gas pickup.

Prototype Final
Bouncy bouncy. Light 'em up, boys!

The light on top of the Eggman Gel enemy is larger in the final version.


Some of the banks are numbered in the prototype. These numbers were blanked out in the final version.


None of that, thanks. You know, a spear?

The prototype has a hook sprite. This hook appears in the final game, but as a background graphic. It's possible it was meant to move. There's also what appears to be a spear.


Prototype Final
Eat this! That is one pissed-off crow. Who knows what darkness lies in the hearts of crows? A flock of crows is called a murder.

The crow's eyes in the prototype are half-closed. They're fully open in the final version, save for a single overlooked frame.

Prototype Final
I also think "Bombs" when I think Kangaroos. Kangaboom!

The black outline around the Kangaroo's bombs was removed in the final build.


A larger fragment that would have been created by the Hammer Eggmen.


Prototype Final
Anyone seen Link? How many hits does it take to get to the center of a Darkwing Duck? I eat owls! Not anthropomorphic = evil.

The owl in the prototype was made more menacing by turning it into some kind of hawk.


Prototype Final
Fake difficulty! That's a thick shadow...

The more dangerous-looking platforms were redesigned to look more natural. Since the platforms can't damage you in the prototype either, this is no big loss.


Prototype Final
Concentric circles rock! Simplify.

Moliarty's machines had their lights redrawn.

Charbroiled duck. Burned up.

This ash and flame were probably intended to be used when Darkwing Duck is hit by the flames from the machines. These graphics were overwritten in the final version with Steelbeak's cycling lights and the sprite parts of his portrait from the ending, which is not present in the prototype.


Prototype Final
Trying to get comfortable there? Oh, it's YOU again...

Steelbeak's chair was touched up a bit, and Steelbeak himself was put in a more relaxed pose.

Prototype Final
Not much of a strut, is it? I will throw my base at you! There we go! Any day now, Steelbeak...

Steelbeak's face was changed to more closely match his design in the cartoon.