[Originally posted on FLUDD Games – August 20th, 2013]
DuckTales was released on the NES in 1989 based on the popular TV show under the same name that started in 1987. The game was a huge success and quickly became one of the most loved and renowned games on the NES. Many childhoods revolved around this game based on the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie (with the help of various characters) as they go treasure hunting in the many hidden and ancient places. The series was a huge part of the late 80’s and early 90’s, even becoming a major part of pop culture.
In 2012 at PAX East, Capcom surprised thousands with the reveal of DuckTales: Remastered, and on August 13th, the game was released to the masses, with 150 golden NES cartridges of the classic DuckTales game (with the new Remastered cover art. It also came in a DuckTales lunchbox) as a promotional item.
So this begs the question: Can DuckTales: Remastered stand up tall with the classic and once again bring the cult classic franchise into the spotlight?
Writer’s Note: I’ve never played the original game or watched the TV show. This review is written under the impressions I was given by the game.
|The Amazon. So lovely to Pogo Jump around in.
The controls of DuckTales: Remastered are perfectly tuned to fit the new controllers. Movement and jumping are clean and responsive, and “Pogo Jumping” can be changed to a “Hard Pogo” setting (the classic control style).
The levels are designed like the original, although are slightly changed to fit the new style. Heart containers can be obtained to increase your health capacity. However, on Hard and Extreme difficulty, you can only get two. As you advance through the stage, diamonds will appear which you can collect and increase your money count. On occasion, you may stumble upon a ruby or a hidden treasure and drastically increase your cash. This cash you can use to purchase things in the gallery, like in-game art (including concept art), concept art from the TV show, and even the music itself (both Remastered and 8-Bit compositions in high quality).
If you want to start a new game, don’t worry about losing all your hard earned cash or your gallery items, those are always retained even if you change the difficulty.
Each stage has its own little story now, with fully voiced cutscenes by the surviving original voice cast (Yes, even Alan Young, who voices Scrooge in this game at age 93). This might be an issue for fans of the original game, as the cutscenes can go on for a minute or two. You can also easily skip the cutscenes through the pause menu, however, and fans of the show might find them as a tribute to the TV show, which is what Capcom seemed to try and do. You can even take a dive in Scrooge’s money vault, like in the show.
Remastered has four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Extreme. Extreme is only available after beating the game on Hard, and plays much like the original. On Easy and Normal difficulties, players can find five heart containers. Also, a map is accessible to them in the pause screen, and cake can be found, which gives you full health when grabbed. On Hard and Extreme, you don’t have a map at all, cake doesn’t appear, and you can only get two heart containers (the three that don’t appear are replaced by a hidden treasure, worth one million dollars). Extreme difficulty is probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced and am facing.
On Extreme, you get no continues, Hard Pogo is permanently on, you can’t save until the game’s beaten, and if you die you get sent back to the very beginning (with everything you collected thus far). Once you run out of lives, it is game over, and you have to start over from the very beginning.
The reason I bring up Extreme mode is because the final stage is much harder than the rest of the game on any difficulty. There are plenty of instant death areas, and the level itself tests your platforming abilities to their limits.
The graphics are utterly beautiful and fit perfectly with the cartoon’s original art style. Everything from the foreground to the background is filled to the brim with detail. The sprites of characters and enemies are very well animated, and are even affected by the stage lighting in some areas.
Oh, man… Where do I begin? The music is fantastic and true to the original 8-Bit compositions. The voice acting is amazing and done by the surviving voice cast of the original DuckTales TV show. Any stages (the opening stage and final stage) that are new with Remastered even have their own 8-Bit composition, because after you beat the game once, you can play the game again with 8-Bit music on instead. The audio is mixed perfectly, so nothing is muffled by anything (When Scrooge makes a small quip about something, everything else lowers in volume until he’s finished talking). I wish I could come up with a negative for this, but I just can’t. It’s beautifully done.
Overall: 9 (Amazing)
DuckTales: Remastered is an amazing game, and possibly the best remake I’ve ever played. It has plenty of replay value to it, plenty of things to explore and find, and is a fun game for kids and adults to play. It’s definitely the ultimate love letter to fans of the game and of the show, by mixing both together. However, the cutscenes might deter fans of the NES classic, and the NES-like difficulty might be too much for casual gamers.
DuckTales: Remastered is $14.99 USD, and is available now on Wii U, PS3, and Steam. The game will release on September 11th on Xbox 360.