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Proto:DuckTales (NES)/Feb 5, 1989

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This is a sub-page of Proto:DuckTales (NES).

This cactus is UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
Hmmm...
To do:
  • Cover level differences
  • Cover cutscene going back to duckburg differences
  • Cover unimplemented stuff (ending, locked doors, etc.)
  • Cover control differences
  • Cover glitch differences.
Download.png Download DuckTales (Feb 5, 1989 Prototype) ROM and NSF
File: DuckTales (Feb 5, 1989 Prototype).7z (128 KB) (info)

Title Screen

February Build May Build Final
DucktalesTitle-Feb5-Proto.png DucktalesTitleBeta.png DuckTales-title.png

The differences are easy to notice right off the bat. The logo is less shaded and uses a different palette, the background is darker, there's no copyright text to be found and all of the options are arranged vertically and colored white, with a mysterious "INFORMATION" option that was later replaced with the CONTINUE option from the May build (Which would eventually be removed in the final game). Scrooge also winks at a much faster rate. Though the main theme does, eventually, play, it is led off by a small portion of Jungle's/The Amazon's opening. (When the song repeats, the small sequence from Jungle/The Amazon does not repeat with the main theme.) This is probably due to the Amazon song preceding the title theme in the internal soundtrack

This build lacks a cursor for the menu and the difficulty options aren't implemented. Pressing Start or Select begins the game.

Monetary Inflation

Item February Build May Build Final
Small Diamond $100 $200 $2,000
Large Diamond $300 $1,000 $10,000
Red Diamond N/A $3,000 $50,000
Hidden Treasure N/A $10,000 $1,000,000

All diamonds would wind up having their values boosted a bit for the May Build, and then again for the final.

Red Diamonds aren't yet implemented in this prototype, and treasures are valueless. Pressing Select to refill your life at the cost of $3,000,000 is also not present yet.

Map Screen

February Build May Build Final
DuckTales-MapScreen-FebProto.png DuckTales-MapScreen-MayProto.png DuckTales-MapScreen-Final.png

Scrooge's nephews, the platforms they stand on, the arrow on the map view, and the preview of the level's treasures haven't been implemented yet.

Levels can be re-entered repeatedly after clearing them. Clearing all five levels does not yet trigger the message from Glomgold or take you to the final stage.

Debug Features

  • Holding Left or Up on the D-Pad on controller 2 disables collision for ground blocks. Up will disable vertical transitions, a feature that was left in the final version.
  • Pressing A + B on the same frame will reset the game.
  • Holding A when entering a boss room will replace the boss with Dracula Duck. However, this only works properly in the Ghost House Transylvania, and will cause various glitches if used elsewhere.

Gameplay and Level Differences

General Differences and Bugs

  • A handful of music tracks and sound effects are not yet present. This includes the invincibility, boss, and bonus stage themes, as well as the "treasure collected" and "lost a life" jingles.
  • Completed levels can still be selected on the map screen. The final stage does not trigger upon completion of all levels.
  • The timer has not been implemented yet.
  • Leading zeroes are not yet trimmed from Scrooge's money totals.
  • Pausing the game does not display which key items have been collected, as they have largely not been implemented at this point in development.
  • NPC dialogue often fails to render properly, instead showing a glitchy sprite in the top-left corner of the dialogue area. You can still advance the dialogue by pressing the A button, though.
  • After the first bounce off an enemy or destructible object, Scrooge's cane remains deployed until the player lands on a solid surface. This makes traversing the surface of the Himalayas rather tedious, as Scrooge will frequently get stuck in the snow when he lands.
  • After obtaining a level's boss treasure, Scrooge can still be controlled for a few seconds before warping back to the level select screen. The fanfare and time bonus have not been implemented yet.
  • Touching Launchpad immediately triggers the "Return to Duckburg" sequence. No dialogue is present in the ROM at this point.
  • The "Return to Duckburg" sequence is missing some cloud tiles, leaving black squares in the sky. The HUD is also entirely black, aside from the sprite-based elements.
  • The food items that Mrs. Beakley throws fall off the screen very quickly, making them much more difficult to collect. These drift down much more slowly in the final game.
  • Events that unlock areas or change the background tilemap are not yet implemented. Locked doors and the wall at the end of the Moon surface can be passed through.
  • The game does not yet keep track of revealed items and treasure chests, meaning they will respawn indefinitely when going offscreen and returning.
  • Scrooge cannot interact with Beagle Boys, though objects such as red barrels can still defeat them.
  • Large treasure chests cannot be opened.
  • All bosses require only three hits to defeat.

Jungle/The Amazon

  • An extra statue is present at the left side of the underground area and is reachable with a pogo jump, rendering the red barrel pointless. This was removed in the final game, requiring Scrooge to smack the barrel to the left and bounce off of it to get on top of the tall statue.
  • The secret area to the left of Launchpad is inaccessible, as touching him immediately exits the level. Pressing Up/Left on controller 2 to wrap to the top of the screen reveals that the area is present and populated with chests, though.
  • One bee flies through the center of the screen during the vine-climbing sequence. In the final, two bees are present.
  • There are no spikes present during the boulder chase sequence.
  • The large statue asks for $3000 to pass through, though it does not actually subtract the money from your total. The "YES - A/NO - B" prompt is present in the dialogue, but is non-functional.
  • A small piece of ground in the final is not present during the falling rocks sequence; players can simply walk forward to avoid the hazards.
  • Additional red barrels are stacked at the boss' entrance.

Ghost House/Transylvania

  • The mirror leading to the room with the Underground/African Mines key is accessible at all times, though the chest cannot be opened. (However, early text for the key is present in the ROM.) Entering the left mirror returns Scrooge to the main hall, much like it does during the final stage in the final build.
  • The wall to Huey's left is not yet present, meaning Scrooge does not have to defeat the Beagle Boy to rescue him. Not that it matters at this point, since the Beagle Boys cannot harm Scrooge anyway.
  • The secret treasure chests that appear on top of certain suits of armor must be hit from the side or top to open them. This renders a few chests unobtainable; in these cases, there is not enough room between the armor and the ceiling to reach the chest. The final game fixes this by requiring Scrooge to hit the armor once more to open the chest, which causes the item to slide towards him.
  • The entire minecart area and the mirror leading to it are not yet present in this build.
  • The secret area for the life extension is present, but the chest merely contains a large diamond at this point.
  • Fighting and defeating Dracula Duck on this stage activates the final gameplay sequence, but it is incomplete: while the game does move Scrooge to the alternate boss room with the rope and pillar, both Glomgold and the final treasure chest are absent, effectively ending the game at this point. Text for this sequence is present in the ROM, but is unused at this point in development.

Underground/African Mines

  • Louie is present at the entrance to the mine and talks about the key hidden in the Ghost House/Transylvania, but does not actually warp you there yet. Scrooge can simply pass through the door.
  • Touching Webby from above (while Scrooge is overlapping the HUD) will cause her dialogue to appear as corrupted sprites. This was fixed in later builds by placing a ceiling above her, though the final game renders text to the background layer anyway, rendering this fix pointless.

Snow Mountain/The Himalayas

  • The falling icicles in the hallway leading to Bubba cannot harm Scrooge yet, and merely disappear when touched.
  • Bubba has a two-frame animation in the prototype, which loops while he's in the ice. Touching Bubba triggers his dialogue, but does not release him from the ice, nor reveal the treasure. Touching the ice block also causes Scrooge to pass behind the background layer, a feature that was removed from the final game.
  • The hockey stick-wielding ducks cannot actually hit the ice blocks yet, and will merely skate away when Scrooge approaches them.
  • After you return to the main menu and your score is totaled up, the last "N" in "SNOW MOUNTAIN" doesn't get erased, resulting in a "LAND SELECTN" menu. This bug still exists in the May prototype.

Moon Surface/The Moon

  • There are no bottomless pits implemented in the stage yet, making the path to the underground area much less dangerous.
  • Although Webby is present above the door leading to the remote control and even asks for the UFO key, the key itself is not yet present; the chest that should contain it instead produces a large diamond. The graphics and pickup text are not yet present in the ROM.
  • Touching Gizmoduck's (or "Roboduck's") remote control triggers the dialogue stating that he will break the wall at the end of the stage. However, the remote does not disappear, and Gizmoduck never shows up. On the plus side, Scrooge can simply pass through the green tiles and drop into the underground area.

Music Differences

Hmmm...
To do:
Many more differences. Every song seems to have at least some slightly different instrumentation, including the Transylvania theme.

Title Screen

February Build
May Build (same as final)
Final

Slower than the final version (matching the pace of the original song), and with slightly rougher instrumentation all around.

Land Select

February Build
May Build (same as final)
Final

The land select screen uses a completely different music piece in the prototype! It's much longer and less repetitive than the final song, but doesn't fit a menu particularly well.

Ghost House/Transylvania

February Build
May Build (same as February Build)
Final

Transylvania's stage theme is completely different. This music survived unaltered until at least the May Build.

Moon Surface/The Moon

February Build
May Build
Final

About 20% slower than in the final. The song itself is a bit more fleshed out than in the final version; the melody was unfortunately simplified for the final game.

Graphical Differences

Prototype Final
Looks familiar... Billionares play with dollies.

Scrooge heads representing extra lives (à la Mega Man) were shrunk and given bodies.

Prototype Final
DTFeb89 GhostHouse.png DTSep89 GhostHouse.png

Aside from the tombstone's cross in the Ghost House being removed for obvious reasons, a wall tile was given the more stunning glow up of three pixels being changed.

Prototype Final
Gotta get that treasure! DTFeb89 GlomgoldFace.png Gotta get that treasure with the help of an evil witch lady! DTSep89 GlomgoldFace.png

While unused since the sequence he's in wasn't programmed yet, Flintheart Glomgold seemingly would've put in his own effort of racing Scrooge to the treasure in the final boss. Here, he reuses the body of Scrooge's climbing sprites, but with his own unique head sprites that would eventually become leftovers in the final game, as they can still be found near Magica's graphics.

Prototype Final
You are great! You're an expert treasure hunter, but can you still see?

While also unused, Scrooge's good ending sprite used to have pupils.

Prototype Final
DTFeb89 Placeholder.png DTSep89 MovingPlatform.png

An 8x8 placeholder tile, found within Scrooge's player graphic bank near the beginning of the ROM, was replaced with the graphic used for moving platforms.

Unused Graphics

DTFeb89 BonusRoom.png

The clouds in the sequence where Launchpad flies Scrooge back home have a few graphics unmapped, leaving black squares where the tiles needed, and present in-ROM, should be.

DTFeb89 BubbaEyes.png

Bubba has graphics for eyes that are loaded when his sprite is on-screen in Snow Mountain, but they're never properly seen since the body sprite is always on top of it, and unlike other characters, Bubba doesn't have holes in his sprite where these eyes can be seen. They've been overwritten with duplicated graphics of the Green Cheese of Longevity by the May 25th prototype.

Blatherin' blatherskite.

Gyro Gearloose and Roboduck (Gizmoduck) both have graphics present, but Bonus rooms haven't been implemented yet, and the sequence for Roboduck blowing up the wall on the Moon hasn't been programmed yet, leaving these unused.

Text Comparison

Hmmm...
To do:
Double check that the script dumps are accurate (e.g. linebreaks and punctuation)

The game's dialogue strings are stored at ROM address 0x138B8. They remained largely the same in the later May build, though several misspellings, typos, and strange line breaks were fixed, and a couple of new messages were added. These were all rewritten to sound less awkward and take advantage of the expanded dialogue area in the final game.

February Build May Build Final Notes
THE BOSS
CAN BE
DEFEATED
BY
LOWERING
SCROOGE'
S CANE.
THE BOSS
CAN BE
DEFEATED
BY
LOWERING
SCROOGES
CANE.
USE YOUR CANE TO
DEFEAT THE
TREASURE KEEPERS.
OH NO!
HUEY
HAS BEEN
CAPTURED
!
HELP
HUEY.
HELP!
HUEY HAS BEEN
KIDNAPPED!
SAVE HIM PLEASE.
THANKS
SCROOGE.
BEWARC
THIS
HOUSE
HAS AN
ILLUSIO-
N WALL
INSIDE
OF IT.
THANKS
SCROOGE.
BEWARE
THIS
HOUSE
HAS AN
ILLU-
SION
WALL
INSIDE
OF IT.
THANKS UNCLE
SCROOGE.
GUESS WHAT. THIS
HOUSE HAS AN
ILLUSION WALL.
YOU
CAN'T
ENTER
THIS
HOUSE
WITHOUT
A KEY.
THE KEY
IS
SUPPOSED
TO BE
INSIDE
THE
GHOST
HOUSE.
YOU'LL NEED A
KEY TO GET IN.
IT'S IN
TRANSYLVANIA.
TRY
GETTING
ON THIS
SEESAW.
USE THE SEESAW
UNCLE SCROOGE.
UNCLE
SCROOGE
IT LOOKS
LIKE
BUBBA
DUCK
IS LOST
SPMEWHE-
RE BACK
HERE.
PLEASE
HELP HIM
.
UNCLE
SCROOGE
IT LOOKS
LIKE
BUBBA
DUCK
IS LOST
SOME-
WHERE
BACK
HERE.
PLEASE
HELP HIM
.
BUBBA'S TRAPPED
IN THE ICE!
PLEASE HELP HIM.
THANK
YOU
SCROOGE.
TO SHOW
MY APPR-
ECIATION
I'LL
GIVE YOU
THIS TR-
EASURE.
THANK
YOU
SCROOGE.
TO SHOW
MY
APPRE-
CIATION
I'LL
GIVE YOU
THIS
TREASURE
.
YOU SAVE ME!
GOOD!
I SHOW YOU
SECRET TREASURE.
UNCLE
SCROOGE
ROBODUC-
K'S
REMOTE
CONTROL
HAS BEEN
STOLEN
BY A
SPAEE
MONSTER.
IF ONLY
ROBODUCK
WOULD
HAVE
BEEN
ABLE TO
BREAK
DOWN
THIS
WALL.
UNCLE
SCROOGE
ROBO-
DUCK'S
REMOTE
CONTROL
HAS BEEN
STOLEN
BY A
SPACE
MONSTER.
IF YOU
COULD
FIND IT
ROBODUCK
COULD
BREAK
DOWN
THIS
WALL.
FIND GIZMO
DUCK'S REMOTE
CONTROL!
THEN HE CAN
BLAST THE WALL.
Gizmo Duck was known as "Roboduck" in the Japanese cartoon. However, he's "Gizmo Duck" in the earliest known Japanese prototype build.
ALRIGHT
I'LL
CALL
ROBODUCK
WITH
THIS
REMOTE
CONTROL
AND
HAVE HIM
BREAKE
DOWN THE
WALL
THAT
IS IN
THE WAY.
ALRIGHT
I'LL
CALL
ROBODUCK
WITH
THIS
REMOTE
CONTROL
AND
HAVE HIM
BREAK
DOWN THE
WALL
THAT
IS IN
THE WAY.
BLESS ME
BAGPIPES!
NOW GIZMO DUCK
CAN BLAST THAT
WALL.
THE
KEY IS
HIDDEN
SOMEWHE-
RE
INSIDE
THIS
UFO.
IT SEEMS
WE CAN'T
MOVE
FURTHER
WITHOUT
THIS KEY
.
THE
KEY IS
HIDDEN
SOME-
WHERE
INSIDE
THIS UFO.
IT SEEMS
WE CAN'T
MOVE
FURTHER
WITHOUT
IT.
THERE'S A KEY
INSIDE THE UFO.
WE CAN'T GO ON
WITHOUT IT.
PAY
$3000
IF YOU
WANT TO
GO THRO-
UGH
HERE.
YES - A
NO - B.
PAY
$3000
IF YOU
WANT TO
GO
THROUGH
HERE.
YES - A
NO - B.
PAY $300000 TO
PASS THROUGH
HERE.
YES - A.
NO - B.
SHOOT
I NEVER
THOUGHT
DRACULA
DUCK
WOULD BE
DESTROY-
ED.
BUT WE
CAN'T
GIVE YOU
THE
TREASUR-
ES.
IF YOU
WANT IT
THAT
BADLY
YOU'LL
HAVE TO
CATCH UP
TO ME.
SHOOT
I NEVER
THOUGHT
DRACULA
DUCK
WOULD BE
DE-
STROYED.
BUT WE
WON'T
GIVE YOU
THE
TREA-
SURES.
IF YOU
WANT IT
THAT
BADLY
YOU'LL
HAVE TO
CATCH UP
TO ME.
YOU MAY HAVE
BEATEN DRACULA
DUCK BUT NOT ME!
IF YOU WANT THE
TREASURES BACK
YOU'LL HAVE TO
CATCH ME.
Unused in February build.
DARN!
GRAMGOLD
TOOK THE
TREASUR-
ES.
WE'LL
HAVE TO
START
OVER
FROM
DRACULA
DUCK.
DARN!
GLOMGOLD
TOOK THE
TREA-
SURES.
WE'LL
HAVE TO
START
OVER
FROM
DRACULA
DUCK.
CURSE ME KILTS!
GLOMGOLD HAS THE
TREASURES.
I MUST FIGHT
DRACULA DUCK
AGAIN.
Unused in February build.
"Gramgold" is a plausible, but wrong, transcription of the Japanese name グラムゴールド (Guramugōrudo).
I GOT
THE
HIDDEN
TREASURE
.
IT'S A HIDDEN
TREASURE.
Unused in February build.
I GOT
THE
SKELETON
KEY FOR
LAND-3.
I GOT
THE
SKELETON
KEY FOR
UNDER-
GROUND.
EUREKA!
IT'S THE
SKELETON KEY
TO THE MINE.
Unused in February build.
Likely written before the stages had proper names.
In the Japanese prototype and release, this area is still known as "Underground".
N/A UNCLE
SCROOGE
ARE YOU
GOING
BACK TO
YOUR
HOME.
YES - A
NO - B.
YOU WANT A LIFT
BACK TO DUCKBURG
MR. MC D.
YES - A.
NO - B.
Not present in February build.
N/A I'VE GOT
THE KEY
FOR THE
UFO.
IT'S THE KEY
TO THE UFO.
Not present in February build.
I
BROUGHT
YOU A
PRSENT
KING OF
TERRA
FERMICS.
HERE'S A
GIFT FOR YOU
OH KING OF THE
TERRA FERMIES.
Unused in all builds.
In the Japanese prototype and release, it's been replaced with an empty string.