DuckTales Remastered Review
DuckTales Remastered Review – Introduction
Like many that grew up during the 8-bit generation, I have an intrinsic love for Capcom’s DuckTales for the NES. I found its music, visuals and level design to be among the best during that time, and I revisit it occasionally. Despite my skills at deftly pogo-jumping my way to victory being rusty, I still believe it’s a classic, and I was more than just a little thrilled when Capcom and developer WayForward announced an updated version. While some of the redesign decisions are questionable, DuckTales: Remastered (DT:R) is a faithful and solid modernization.
Life is Like a Hurricane
Other than being based on a popular TV show, DuckTales is beloved by many for its wonderful soundtrack, simple mechanics and imaginative areas. All of these components are present with DT:R as well. Everything from Scrooge’s patented cane bounce to stages ranging from the Amazon to the Moon are present, and the score has been given a fantastic remix. They could have kept the Moon theme the same, though – as old as it is, it’s still haunting.
To go along with the music, the graphics have also been given a makeover. Using a mix of 2D and 3D, the animated visuals are very Disney and recreate the original cartoon splendidly. The design has been altered a bit too, and the boss battles are a lot more involved, but the levels stay true to their predecessor and now contain more excuses to explore, like finding pages to a spell in Transylvania or engine parts in the Himalayas.
The challenge is still here, which should please fans. However, there are now heart containers available to collect, and a few of the more tricky jumps and obstacles have been removed. I didn’t mind this at all, and frankly I found the changes made the stages a little more logical and a little less frustrating.
Another upgrade is added context. Unlike the 1989 release, DT:R has a full story, which was one of the big new concepts the publisher and WayForward have been promoting. It’s basically what one would expect out of a DuckTales episode: The Beagle Boys try to steal a painting from Scrooge McDuck but are thwarted, the painting is revealed to contain a secret code detailing locations of priceless artifacts and Scrooge and the rest of the gang head out to find them.
D-D-Danger Lurks Behind You
I’m not sure DuckTales actually needed a story to be better, but it makes sense in this day and age of cinematic gaming that the developers thought it would be a great idea. Their masterstroke was getting many of the voice actors from the series to bring all the characters back to life, and it mostly works. However, the cutscenes are disruptive and don’t exactly add much to the plot, though Launchpad’s antics while Scrooge searches for coins in the Amazon can be pretty funny.
A better approach would have been to either bookend every level with a cinematic or make skipping them quicker. If the gameplay wasn’t so hectic I wouldn’t have minded the intrusions as much, but I often found it to be a buzzkill when I was on a roll cane-jumping on enemies, climbing vines and skirting by spike traps only to have the action pause and break my rhythm while Scrooge muttered some trivia about a relic he just discovered.
Fortunately, these troublesome dialogue breaks were at least mildly entertaining, and the only huge problem I have with the game. There are other quibbles, though, like the lack of new content. The few additions included, like being able to swim in the Money Bin and a bonus tutorial stage, are decent but they don’t really add depth and are merely a nice touch. The lone exception here is the new last mission zone, Mt. Vesuvius, which I thought was a better approach to ending the game, even with the final showdown being more unfair this time around.
Indeed, DuckTales: Remastered is the original with a new coat of paint and copy-and-paste gameplay. This isn’t an awful thing by any means, and the tweaks they made are welcome. It isn’t going to prove to be as inspirational as the NES version, but it’s a sweet piece of nostalgia bait that will hopefully pave the way for more modern takes on other Capcom Disney platformers.
- Same gameplay that made the original great
- Fantastic music
- Great animation
- Most of the new content is trivial
- Cutscenes disturb the gameplay