DuckTales! One of my favorite cartoon series of all time. I really loved it as a kid. The production values were pretty good, and I think the series actually holds up pretty well to this day. Why didn’t anyone want to be Scrooge McDuck when they grew up? The guy is loaded and everyone kisses up to him! Anyways, I was really looking forward to this game. I played the original DuckTales game on the NES so many years ago, so I wanted to see how WayForward handled this important piece of history. Let’s find out!
Boy does the game look better! Duck Tales Remastered got the full HD remake treatment, and it looks great! It really looks just like the cartoon. Scrooge and the gang look exactly the same as we remember them on TV, just in HD and in your control. The animation is great, and all the stages look crisp and well detailed. The music has gotten remixed from its original 8-bit versions, and they still sound great. The Moon stage theme is still a great piece, as are most of the stages. Extra bonus points go to you if you recognize all the episodes that the levels are based off, because besides the main plot, the stages are based on things that happened in the cartoon. Overall DuckTales Remastered does a great job bringing Scrooge and the gang to the modern age.
The new version has added a “tutorial” level of sorts, taking place in Scrooge’s money bin. The beagle boys break into the money bin, and you have to stop them. It does a good job of showing newcomers how the game works. For those of us who played the original, it’s just like riding a bike. WayForward decided to bring the story front and center here, unlike the NES game where you just went through the game with little to no story. The original voice actor for Scrooge was brought back, and he does a great job. The only problem this creates is that the gameplay is broken up too much by these segments. The first time I heard Scrooge talk I got goosebumps. Once he interrupted a level for the fifth time to just quip, I was a bit annoyed. I love the presentation, but I think it would have been better to just have segments at the beginning and ending of a level, not so many times throughout.
So how does the gameplay hold up after 20 years? Pretty well actually, but it’s no Zelda. The game itself was great 20 years ago, but it isn’t “best game ever” status for sure. In this modern era of great platformers, DuckTales Remastered stands as a pretty good game. The controls are fairly tight, but not as good as I remember them in the original. There were several times that Scrooge just refused to bring out his cane in the middle of a jump, and areas where he just wouldn’t bounce even though he should(edge of ledges mostly). This lead to a few frustrating deaths, and I wonder if this “floatiness” was added intentionally for a newer audience. It isn’t horrible, but it’s a bit dissapointing nonetheless.
The game includes five stages that can be played in any order, with an obligatory final stage afterwards. This is platforming in its simplest forms. You jump, you press a button to use your cane as a pogo stick/weapon to kill enemies and get around. You don’t acquire any special moves throughout, you don’t get new moves, nothing. The only thing you get over the levels is extra life containers, and that’s if you find them since they are hidden in every level. There are no unreachable areas you need to revisit, either you find them or you don’t. The gameplay is solid, and very enjoyable. The difficulty is pretty decent on normal, I can only imagine how simple easy is. I may try it on hard, just to see if I can finish it. It took me about 3 hours to finish the whole game in one run. Granted, I have experience, so it may take a newcomer longer, but this isn’t a lengthy game by any means.
Remastered does have some extras. There are a bunch of unlockables available in the gallery, including artwork, music, avatar awards, etc. You use all the money you make in the game to unlock these. So besides replaying the game in a higher difficulty just to do it, and unlock these extras, there isn’t much reason to replay. Granted, the original didn’t offer any extras like this at all, so it’s a nice addition. DuckTales holds up fairly well to this day, but I can’t help but think if nostalgia is the main driving force in this purchasing decision. WayForward has done a great job here, don’t get me wrong, but they can’t make up something that was never there in the first place. DuckTales Remastered carries a $15 price tag(available on PS3 and PC as well), but I can’t justify spending that much on this game. Wait until it is $10 on sale. I think everyone should try this game out to see what all the hubbub is about, but a $15 price is a bit too high for this experience. A solid 7 out of 10 here. The tales are still good 20 years later, they just fell victim to inflation.