Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow is the entirely unnecessary 1998 Game Boy port of the fantastic SNES and Genesis game that sacrifices a playable framerate, crisp controls and a sensible plot for, well ... portability, I guess. Main character Maui Mallard is actually Donald Duck and assumes yet another alter ego as Cold Shadow once he learns to transform into a ninja, but then the title means ... I don't get it.
Best time: 0:12:42 by Martin 'J.Y' Söderhäll on 2014-02-12.
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Borrowing a few words from a well known angry nerd: This game is ass!
Maui Mallard for the Game Boy is a really bad port of the original Megadrive/SNES version of the game. The game performs very sluggish, the controls are very stiff and slow in response, and the story is weird and confusing (at least on the Game Boy version, which swaps a couple of levels around). So why would you do a speed run on it? Well, I don't have a good answer for that, but it might have something to do with the feeling of revenge. I got this game for Christmas way back in 1999, but it wasn't until 2012 that I finally beat the game (with the help of emulators and save states). A couple of months ago I beat it on a real Game Boy for the first time, and I started to think about doing a run. At first it was more of a joke run, but when I started to record runs I actually took it more serious than I thought I would, and in the end, it became a decent run of a bad game.
It didn't take me that much time to figure out the best way to approach each level, since most of them are very straight forward and doesn't require that much planning other than ammo conservation. When I first played the game as a kid, it seemed to be much longer than it really is. The truth is that even if you don't speed run it, you can still beat the game in less than 20 minutes. Since this version of the game was only released in the US and is pretty obscure, I don't think many people have played this game, and there's probably very few of them that have actually completed it. Even though this is a speed run, it can practically be seen as a walkthrough since there's not much else in the game that is not shown here, except for some extra ammo and health items.
This run was made using a Super Game Boy 2 on a Super Famicom. Thanks goes out to Dane and the SDA in general.
The story of the game in short: a detective named Maui Mallard (played by Donald Duck), arrives to an island in order to find the stolen mojo idol named "Shabuhm Shabuhm", that keeps the island from not exploding(!). The inhabitants of the island, the "Muddrakes" doesn't take to kindly of his appearance and throws him into a volcano. After fighting his way out, he goes through the "test of duckhood" in order to prove himself worthy of saving the island. Can he find the evil witch doctor that stole the idol and return it to the Muddrakes?
The first level doesn't require that much effort to complete. For the most part, all you have to do is walk or jump past all the enemies until you reach the room where you start to climb upwards. The only part worth mention in the first three sections of the level is the one at the 1:03 mark, where I jumped right through a enemy instead of shooting him. It's hard to fire the gun and maintaining the speed in the air at the same time, therefore I decided to take a hit rather than to stop and kill him.
On the last part of the level, you make your way upwards by bouncing on the pipes of a big organ (at least that's what it's supposed to be, I had to look it up because I couldn't figure out what it was). If you hold the A-button while in the air, you can sometimes get a bigger boost than you normally would, but it gets even harder to control Maui when you do this, so I only used it on one jump.
The spider boss went okay, I made a mistake and missed one shot just after I landed but other than that it was alright. Although it looks like I'm turning really slow, I'm pressing the D-pad as hard as I can immediately after I've fired each shot. You can't move for a short period of time after you fired the gun which is very annoying, especially when you're fighting this boss.
Ninja Training Grounds
At the very beginning of the level I collect a special coin which allows you to transform into Nina Maui (or "Cold Shadow", as the ninja is called). When you're playing as the Ninja, you only have a stick to defend yourself with. Ninja Maui can also use his stick to climb to certain areas that normal Maui can't reach.
The level is short and self-explanatory so there's not that much to say about it. Just before entering the boss battle, I overtook a jump between two platforms on purpose, since one you often get stuck on a invisible wall if you try to land on the edge of the two smaller platforms.
The boss battle wasn't that good, I took more damage than expected so I had to play it a bit safe. Hitting the ninja ducks without taking damage yourself is somewhat of a lottery, but at least I made it through without having to take a healing item.
The characters that fires darts at you are supposed to be the Muddrakes, which are small ducks with big sharp teeth that inhabit the island. Of course, the Game Boy has its limitations when it comes to graphics, but they look nothing like ducks to me.
The first part of the level is simple so there's not that much to say about it. As I'm entering the second part of the level, Maui decides that there is an invisible wall just in front of him, and does the weird stance you normally see when you're pressing up against a wall. It's supposed to be Maui pressing his shoulders at the wall, but it doesn't look anything like that. Oh, well....
On the second part of the level, you have to climb up an collect a shiny object that looks like a star, or something like that. It removes a invisible barrier that's on a big rock near the starting point of the level.
The boss battle went pretty good. I always seem to take a hit from one of the arrows because I stand up to fast, but since it doesn't cost me any time it doesn't matter that much.
The Test of Duckhood
The jumping physics in this game are really bad and hard to master. Since you move so slow in the air, it almost feels like you're jumping through mud. Jumping and grabbing onto ropes is even harder. Most of the time you will have to line up almost pixel perfect in order to grab onto the rope, otherwise you will bounce right off it. Jumping from an angle can sometimes be helpful, but it's still no guarantee that you will hang on to the rope.
The first part with the climbing section went really well, I took some damage on one Muddrake, but it didn't cost me any time. The second part is pretty easy, once you passed the long jump early on. I screwed up a bit on one of the Muddrakes, I fired the gun a bit too early which cost me a second or two, but nothing major.
The frog boss could be done faster if you get all the double hits on him, but you have to time each shot very precisely in order to hit him twice each time he launches his tongue at you.
The Sacrifice of Maui
When I played this game as a kid, this was about as far as I got. The boss in this level always proved to be way to hard for me, mostly because the game starts to lag so much that it's barley playable once you reach him, but also because he can withstand so much damage. After doing some attempts, I found a good strategy that made things easier, although the stiff and irresponsive controls makes it harder to doge the projectiles than you would think. He can be taken out a bit faster, but since you're pretty low on ammo here I decided to play it safe and grab some extra ammo just before finishing him.
The Realm of the Dead
Looking back at this run made me realize that I probably could have skipped the ammo and "ninja coin" at the beginning, but I wanted to be on the safe side, ammo wise, so I took it anyway. The first section is super short and pretty easy. The only part that I struggled with was at the rope, but if you look closely you can see that I'm actually grabbing the rope on the first try, but still I bounce right off it. This is one of the many examples of the bad programming this game has. Sometimes it takes 20 tries before you finally grab onto the rope without bouncing off it. The only useful glitch I've found in the game is also at this part: if you switch to Ninja Maui when you're jumping off the rope, you can sometimes teleport to the last platform before the part where you use the stick to hook onto the "stone balls". Sadly enough, it didn't happen this time.
The second part where you have to follow the flying object upwards for 3 minutes is really boring. The object is suppose to be "Quacko", a restless spirit that you'll need to protect in order to reveal the location of the Shabuhm Shabuhm. I haven't found any way to speed up this process, so if you're reading this while watching the run, you might as well skip to the 12 min mark.
The last and final boss of the game is also the easiest one. All you have to do is jump, fire, and avoid getting hit by the projectiles that comes flying at you. The evil witch doctor dies, the Shabuhm Shabuhm idol is returned to the Muddrakes and you have saved the island!
Even though the run has its flaws, I'm pretty satisfied with the final time of 12:44. With perfect boss battles and no major mistakes during the levels, I think that a sub 12 time could be achievable, but I can't really imagine that anyone else would like to play this game, and definitely not speed run it. I've already spent more time on this game than what would be considered reasonably so I don't think I will try to improve it. Thanks for watching the run and reading my comments!
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