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DuckTales NES Prototype Reveals Unused Song

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Image: Capcom / The Spriter’s Resource

It’s no secret that Capcom’s DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System is a bona fide classic, especially in the realm of video game music. But being a NES game, it only has about a dozen quick tracks to enjoy. An early prototype that’s currently making the rounds, however, expands on the final soundtrack with another song by (I assume) original composer Hiroshige Tonomura.

This Ducktales build, which according to The Cutting Room Floor is from February 5, 1989, is the earliest look we’ve gotten at the iconic platformer’s development process yet. (The final game came out around September 15, 1989.) As such, several key elements (like red diamonds, treasure values, HP refills, and final level names) are missing. You can read all about that stuff on the TCRF wiki; what I’m specifically excited about is the new music on the stage select screen:

Capcom / chiptunes (YouTube)

It definitely has a different feel from the original map theme. Where the track that made it into the official DuckTales release is more mysterious and repetitive, the prototype song is upbeat and adventurous in the way you’d expect from a game based on a children’s cartoon. I really love the subtle bassline that drives the whole thing, too.


While, let’s be honest, the song isn’t as instantly iconic as the track that plays during the Moon stage, it’s always nice to have a bit more insight into how a video game was made, especially one as reliant on music as DuckTales. There’s no telling why the developers preferred the final arrangement to this newly discovered treasure, but I’m happy there are folks like TCRF out there cataloguing these discoveries.