By Kurt Thingvold
Let’s take a trip back in time, to when gaming was young and Capcom was the king of platformers. Probably two of the more difficult NES games, Capcom already had under their belt such titles as Mega Man and Ghosts ‘n Goblins. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, they also had another weapon up their sleeve. That weapon, my dear friends, was the right to develop Disney games for Nintendo. This added several great games to Capcom’s arsenal, including Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and last but not least, DuckTales.
The original DuckTales game was released on NES in 1989 to positive reviews. You play as Scrooge McDuck, travelling to places such as the Amazon, Transylvannia, and of course, the moon! The game was fantastic and featured one of the best soundtracks from the entire NES library.
Fast forward about 24 years, and I present you with DuckTales: Remastered. This type of remastered game can be very hit or miss. The two Monkey Island Special Editions were good, while Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was not so much. While we take a look at DuckTales: Remastered, don’t forget your Rice Krispies and milk – this one’s a Saturday morning classic!
The game’s tutorial level begins after a short cutscene showing an army of Beagle Boys raiding Scrooge’s money bin. If you’ve played the original then the controls should feel familiar. The only change is that pogoing is now done simply by holding the A button while jumping instead of holding both down and A. Pogoing will be the main way to dispatch those nasty goons, so make sure you’re familiar with it. You can also launch rocks and even treasure chests at your foes using Scrooge’s cane. Once Huey, Dewey, and Louie have been rescued throughout the stage, you’ll enter your first boss fight: Big Time Beagle. After he has been defeated you will be taken to Scrooge’s office, which serves as a world hub. From here you can select which level to visit or dive into Scrooge’s money bin and buy extra content.
If you grew up with the NES or SNES then you know that buying a Capcom title meant you were in for a frustrating night. Sadly the same can’t be said for most games now, which can be beat in a single session without too much trouble. You can bet your number one dime that DuckTales: Remastered is going to be a ride, and it is! For novice players it is definitely recommended to play on easy. Medium serves a decent challenge, and hard is reserved for those players who enjoy taking punishment. This gives a respectable quality game, and feels right at home with a Capcom classic.
WayForward made this remake to be difficult, but not punish the players too badly when they lose a life. If you do get sent back to Scrooge’s Office, you retain all of the treasures you’ve collected from previous levels, though you do not keep any of the money from the level where you died.
One of the first things that usually comes to mind with Disney is animation, and throughout the SNES and Genesis days Disney games were known for their outstanding animation. Pinocchio, MickeyMania, and Sega’s time-honored Aladdin each come to mind. DuckTales: Remastered does not disappoint with its animations, and you can see the love and care that went into each frame. Some of the best animations are the more subtle ones: Scrooge shivering in the Himilayas, or being trapped by a carnivorous plant. This does bring up a minor grievance in that the animations don’t quite feel like they fit in with the 3D rendered background. This might not be such a big problem, but it can distract from all the love and time put into the various animations across the screen.
The soundtrack is put together beautifully, capturing the feeling of the original tracks and adding to it, granting them a whole new life. For the nostalgia hunters, after you’ve beaten the game you are given the option to replay the levels with the original NES music. No matter the project, Jake Kaufman does his research and makes the music fit, and I highly commend him for taking on a beloved classic like DuckTales.
Alongside the music is the top-notch voice acting. Though it may be common knowledge, I’ll just mention that the majority of the original cast are seen to return for this remake. That includes 94 year old Alan Young with a brilliant performance as Scrooge McDuck, and even 95 year old June Foray can still knock Magica De Spell out of the park. Sadly I noticed that some of the dialogue was muddled, and you’ll have to have a good ear to catch it all. While it’s not a big problem, it was definitely noticeable, and a bit annoying too.
DuckTales: Remastered is a rare breed of game. Even in its remastered form it required seemingly little tinkering to remain amazing, and that can’t be said for many games or remakes out there. Not only has this game captivated my heart again, it has brought me joy and an enjoyable challenge. If you’re a long-time fan of the series or an old-school gamer, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up and spend the day being six again. A few problems aside, this is one of the best downloadable games so far this year.