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Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt

System: NES
Release Year: 1986
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Players: 2 Alternating


Since I've already reviewed Super Mario Bros, this review will focus on Duck Hunt. You can read a review of SMB here. Anyway, one day a hunter and his dog went down to the pond to go duck hunting. The multi-colored ducks flew around stupidly in mid-air so the hunter could get them until they eventually flew out of range. The dog laughed at the hunter when he missed and sometimes the hunter would get so sick of the dog he would shoot clay pigeons instead so he would not have to bring it with him (and no, this is not the official story).

This is the first NES cartridge released compatible with the Zapper light gun, and the most famous. There were about three other games available that were also compatible (Barker Bill's Trick Shooting and Hogan's Alley, to name a few), but they were never as popular as Duck Hunt. About a year later it was released in a two-game cartridge with Super Mario Bros., to promote the Zapper further. Later on, it was again re-released on a triple-game cartridge with SMB and Track and Field, this time to promote the Power Pad accessory as well.


Graphically, this game wasn't as good as some of the others from the same time period. The background colors were rather bland, and detail was minimal. In fact, the most detailed thing in the game is probably the reeds that the ducks fly out of. The sound effects are a notch above the graphics. The ducks quack and flap their wings as they bounce off the invisible walls. The clay pigeons make a sound that sounds like an atomic bomb dropping. And the dog barks and makes an odd laughing sound that frightens squirrels and little children. The gameplay was original for it's time. Let's be honest, this is the first consol game to feature a light gun, and the gameplay and control of light gun games didn't really change until the Super Scope was released and several of the games featured movement of the player along with the targets. So credebility on that. The whole light gun idea didn't catch on well anyway. Every consol from the NES to the Playstation had a light gun, but none of them had more than around 10 supporting titles. The N64 light gun was scrapped shortly after being designed, and chances are we've pretty much seen the last of them. Oh well, Duck Hunt reigns king nonetheless.

Chances are, if you have a Zapper, you've played Duck Hunt. If you're friend has a zapper, you've played Duck Hunt. If you've ever had access to a zapper, you've probably played Duck Hunt. The Mario/Duck Hunt package is one of if not the most widely released game to date. So until the day that we are forced to turn in our NES systems to historical museums, people will be playing Duck Hunt. And when those museums begin putting NES carts under glass, Duck Hunt will no doubt be right at there on the highest pedestal, right next to SMB and Donkey Kong.