Howard the Duck

For: Apple II, Commodore 64

Genres

Main Genre:
Action , Movie Adaptation
Sub-Genre:
Licensed Title
Perspective:
3rd-Person

Overview

Commodore 64 version of Howard the Duck
Commodore 64 version of Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck is an action game first published by Activision in 1986. Initial versions were for the Apple II, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum with versions for the Amstrad CPC and MSX to following shortly after. The game is loosely based on the Marvel comic and 1986 movie of the same name; as Howard, players need to navigate through various different types of levels in order to rescue their friends.

Gameplay

Phil and Beverly, two of Howard's best friends, have been captured by a dark overlord! They are being held captive in an active volcano on a remote island. As Howard the Duck, players need to get past the numerous obstacles and guards in order to rescue them. Fortunately, Howard is a master of Quack Fu! The game begins as Howard parachutes onto the island; from there, players need to clear each of the different types of levels along the path into the volcano and finally defeat the dark overlord. The obstacles that need to be overcome to win the game are as follows:

  • Find Howard's Backpack: The backpack contains some items that are required to complete later sections including a solar powered jat pack, an ultralight flyer, and the Neutron Disintegrator. To reach the backpack, players need to navigate through a maze-like area covered with mutant slime that needs to be avoided or jumped over. There is a time limit, so be sure to hurry!
  • Cross the Channel: Once the backpack is acquired, the jet pack can be used to fly across the rapids. Numerous rocks in the water create a somewhat maze-like path; players need to find a way to fly through and land at the clearing on the opposite side.
  • Mutilating the Mutants: A long, winding path leads up the side of the island. Numerous mutants appear from mounds in the ground that need to be avoided, or frequently fought. Howard has the ability to punch and kick in order to defeat mutants; also, the mounds can be stomped on to prevent even more mutants from appearing.
  • Cross the Bridge: Howard needs to safely cross a bridge; however, at the far end there are rock-throwing mutants! Players need to guide Howard forward while dodging rocks to the left and right. The final mutant mound is at the very end of the bridge, and once it is stomped the round is complete and that's the last of the mutants.
  • Flying the Ultralight: In this section, players need to guide the ultralight flyer to the top of the volcano. There are strong winds on the island which can help or hinder progress. If players lose too much altitute and can't reach the top, the game is over.
  • Inside the Volcano: Stalactites and holes in the floor need to be avoided. Additionally, the dark overlord is at the end of the path firing energy bolts. These too need to be dodged!
  • The Dark Overlord: At the end of the volcano section is the Dark Overlord; here, Howard finally gets to use the Neutron Disintegrator that was acquired with the backpack at the beginning of the game. Players need to fire the disintegrator and hit the overlord several times. Once the overlord is destroyed, players can guide Howard to a lever which shuts down the volcano to win the game.
There are multiple skill levels available; depending on the skill level selected, not all sections need to be completed. For the Novice level, the game ends after crossing the bridge. For the Intermediate level, the flyer is the last section. More difficult levels feature all sections. When all sections required are completed, a medal is awarded based on how much time is leftover; the game then repeats. Aside from potentially affecting which sections need to be completed, the difficulty level also affects how many lives players begin the game with and how difficult opponents are to defeat.

Credits

Platform: Apple II
Designed by: Scott Orr, Troy A. Lyndon, Harald Seeley
Apple version programmed by: Ken Rose
Produced by: Scott Orr
Animation by: John Cutter
Graphics by: Doug Barnett
Soundtrack by: Russell Lieblich
Special thanks to: Patricia Daley, Brad Fregger
Rescuer's Handbook by: Paula Polley
Editorial management by: Steven Young
Platform: Commodore 64
Designed by: Scott Orr, Troy A. Lyndon, Harald Seeley
Commodore version programmed by: Troy A. Lyndon
Produced by: Scott Orr
Animation by: John Cutter
Graphics by: Doug Barnett
Commodore 64 programming support by: Harald Seeley
Soundtrack by: Russell Lieblich
Special thanks to: Patricia Daley, Brad Fregger
Rescuer's Handbook by: Paula Polley
Editorial management by: Steven Young