DuckTales: Remastered – Woo-oo!
It seems to me that DuckTales Remastered doesn’t even need a full review. If you have a PS3, Wii-U (which sounds appropriate, given the property) or Steam, you should have this game. If you have a 360, you should get this game when it’s released in a month. It’s one of the best short platforming games out there.
Short? Aye, lad. This was based on an old NES game that consisted of a handful of brutal stages and then snickered at you when you managed to beat the game without finding much of the money hidden throughout the game. The 80’s were a different time period for gaming. It wasn’t about experiencing some poorly written story – it was about survival and mastery. Usually, it was the former that mattered the most. But DuckTales, a game specifically designed to appeal to children who enjoyed the television series, made you feel small for merely surviving. You had to master the game to truly walk away feeling the game was complete.
I’ll be completely honest. Even as an adult, I have difficulty completing any of the stages in that game. The controls are a little bothersome for the crucial pogo ability that allows Scrooge McDuck to bounce around the stages on his cane, but that’s not my main excuse. The game is hard. Capcom is a company that built its empire on challenging all comers, regardless of age.
DuckTales Remastered does more than render the game in HD with a richer (but not necessarily better) soundtrack. Wayforward, the company that took the lead on this particular rendition, simplified the pogo ability and eased up on the stages. In other words, the game is a lot more playable than the original NES incarnation. Well, until you get to the final stage. Then you realize that they lulled you into a false sense of comfort. I was bothered at first that they backloaded the difficulty of the game, but it works out. It makes you work for your ending, just like it should.
An even great addition to the game is the voice acting by the original cast of the DuckTales cartoon. It has literally been decades since I last heard these characters together. Playing through the levels was like playing through individual episodes of the cartoon, and it only felt that way because the characters were brought to life. Animating their mouths while they spoke might have helped, but just hearing them was enough for me.
The main criticisms I have encountered about the game are that the story is stupid and the dialogue scenes get in the way. This is absurd to me. The original game had no real story of which to speak (as far as I know, since I never got to read the manual), but I appreciate the excuse plot they put together to make the travel from location-to-location the least bit cohesive. As for the dialogue, I think I already addressed that. It was there to make each stage feel like an episode of the cartoon – but improved because there was an overarching story to bring it all together. Anyone who claims the dialogue intrudes on the game play hasn’t been bit by the nostalgia bug, which isn’t a bad thing. But sometimes you need to sit back and admit that sometimes the magic isn’t for you, and it doesn’t hurt anything by being there.
To be honest, it’s a surprise that they decided to revitalize a classic game that does not tie into anything contemporary. This was brought back specifically to appeal to my generation, which is an odd and dangerous choice. This means that Capcom, the original designer and licensee, is either desperate or just wants to flaunt the brilliance of their back catalog of games. Similarly, gamers who jumped to purchase DuckTales Remastered are either too attached to nostalgia for their own good or just really want to support solid game design.
I’d like to think it’s the latter. Please ignore the fact that after installing the game I listened to the opening theme (not even the TV show’s opening theme!) twice before pressing start.