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Unoriginal but enjoyable Mario clone
Charlie the Duck is a little known platformer which follows heavily in the footsteps of Mario, with a similar visual style and action which bore a strong resemblance to Nintendo's classic Super Mario Bros. Charlie II sees the return of the loveable, if unoriginal, hero, in a sequel which expands on its predecessor and provides some pretty substantial platforming fun. The game sees players taking control of Charlie and exploring a series of large levels in search of treasure. In order to complete a level, you must find a specified amount of coins and diamonds, and while some are fairly obvious, there are a great number of hidden areas which require some serious exploration in order to find. Being a duck, Charlie has no weapons, but in true Mario style, he can jump on the heads of the various enemies that litter the levels, and which include birds, bees and weird mushroom-like creatures. Charlie does have a health bar, so if he runs into too many enemies, he loses a life, while upgrades like extra lives, invulnerability and bonus health are also littered around. Charlie II doesn't really add anything new to the platforming genre, but still manages to be an enjoyable little game. It is pretty fast-paced for such a game (not quite Sonic speeds, but certainly nippier than Mario) and the expansive levels really encourage exploration and will keep you treasure hunting for some time. Visually, the game is reminiscent of a thousand other platformers but remains quite charming, with its colourful sprites and backgrounds. While nothing particularly innovative or inspired, overall Charlie II is actually a pretty neat little game, with well designed levels that provide plenty of fast-paced action and which makes for an entertaining diversion. Check out Great Giana Sisters for another slice of Mario-inspired fun.