As I said in my preview for DuckTales Remastered, Retro/Nostalgia is in, over the past few months we’ve seen a truckload of remakes, remasters and reimaginings announced for those gamers who are old enough to remember certain titles the first time around.
The original DuckTales was released at the end of the 1980’s, when the Nintendo Entertainment System was King of the Home Consoles. It wasn’t simply a cheap cash in on a very popular TV series, the game was created by members of the same team that had worked on Mega Man, they loved the TV show and went to great lengths to ensure that the game they created was just as fun. The game has been rumoured for a HD upgrade for a number of years, but some, including myself thought it seemed like a tough sell without one of the best cartoon TV shows ever created to back it up. Thankfully I was wrong and earlier this year DuckTales Remastered was revealed.
HD upgrades are a fact of life now and while some are better than others, (simply upscaling does not a HD remake make!), others have taken a more dedicated approach. WayForward, who previously worked on the beautiful and amazing Wii version of the NES classic A Boy and his Blob, is one studio who takes great pride in bringing these old games back to life.
DuckTales Remastered tells us the story of Scrooge McDuck, the Richest Duck in the World, as he travels round the globe on a search for the Five Legendary Treasures; along the way you’ll encounter friends like LaunchPad McQuack, Mrs Beakley, and Bubba Duck, as well as villains like The Beagle Boys, Magicka De Spell and Flintheart GloomGold.
Of course if you’re not in the 25-31 demographic there’s a strong chance those names will mean absolutely nothing to you. This is a game aimed solely at the hearts, minds, and wallets of a certain generation, WayForward and Capcom have given the game a fantastic makeover while retaining some of the more trickier aspects.
Even for the 80/90’s DuckTales was an unforgiving game, though that’s not surprising when you think that the Mega Man games aren’t exactly a walk in the park either. DuckTales Remastered has kept most of that controller squeezing difficulty in tact. Normal mode sees you start with three lives and two hit points, once those hit points are gone, you die and go back to the start of the level, once those lives are gone it’s game over and back to the main hub you go. You can hunt around for Extra Lives, and health upgrades, but they are few and far between so I’d keep the Swear Jar close if I were you!
One area the game will impress is with the way WayForward have reproduced the original levels. Each level now has a hand painted background that pulls your eye towards it, while the foreground gives you a soft edged pixel feel which alludes the style of Disney. Enemies are well drawn, and all have benefitted from the update, the Transylvanian level most of all, but their movements are basic, and the animations can feel a little dated, but that goes for the main cast as well.
WayForward and Capcom have made such an effort with the game that they were able to use official Disney voice actors for the game, including Alan Young who was the original voice of Scrooge. While this is to be commended, the dialogue is stilted and often the delivery is wooden. It improves towards the end of the game, but you do get the impression that the lines were recorded in a humourless underground bunker with no interaction between the characters that might have added a bit of sparkle to it.
Depending on your difficulty level the game should only take a few hours to complete, there are only six levels including the opening ‘Tutorial’. At the end of each level the money you collected is added to your Money Bin and you can go and take a swim in it, or spend it on collectibles like Artwork. You can also use it to get that classic theme tune, but not until you’ve bought a lot of drawings first.
With DuckTales Remastered, WayForward have created a beautiful looking game that captures over 20 years of nostalgia. While the gameplay doesn’t always match the smooth visuals, it’s still a fun game.
DuckTales Remastered is out now on the PSN, Nintendo eShop and digitally on PC, and will release on Xbox Live Arcade and Retail on September 20th 2013.
Here’s the trailer, get ready to sing along!
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Tim Bowers is the ex-Editor of Zero1Gaming, he also occasionally writes when he's able to string sentences together. He can usually be found waiting for Nintendo to remember about Samus Aran.