DuckTales is back with a nice, shiny HD remaster after decades of being hidden away in the money bin. Does this treasure of a game still shine or should it have stayed buried?
It has been 24 years since the release of Disney’s DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, I was still in elementary school when this game came out. I used to come home every afternoon after school and turn on the syndicated Disney cartoon block and watched DuckTales. When the DuckTales game came out I wasn’t able to buy it. Games were considered expensive by my parents so it was rare for them to buy me a new game. What I did have was an allowance and a video store rental card so when DuckTales came to the video store, I made sure to rent it. I think I must have rented the game 20 times trying to complete it; unfortunately I never did. Despite that, DuckTales the game remained near and dear to my heart.
DuckTales Remastered is the same game you knew if you were a fan of the original but with a lot of tweaks and additions. The game still has its great, non linear design as well as the ability to freely select a level. WayForward added unlockable music, artwork and extra goals to the stages. You need to collect items in a stage in order to progress. Looking for these items lengthens the time spent in a level because in the old game you could literally finish a level in 16 minutes if you knew where to go and didn’t explore the levels. I found the extra added exploration interesting because it led me to sections that I never got to see during my original playthroughs. The only drawback to the additional item collection is that there are no checkpoints after you pick up an item. If you run out of lives, you go back to the level selection screen with none of your progress saved. Also, enemies re-spawn when you walk away from an area and come back. It was a little frustrating but I can’t fault this game for something like that because that’s how games were years ago.
WayForward was obviously trying to keep the experience as genuine to the original game as possible. I suggest if you are not familiar with the game, or are new to old style platformers, that you leave the game on easy. The game still retains its challenge but it uses a structure more familiar to current generation gamers. There are no lives and when you die, you are sent right back to where you died.
I really enjoyed the updated soundtrack and the new voice acting that was added to the game. It really adds to the package. It gives fans of the animated series a nice shot of nostalgia, adds story that wasn’t present in the original game and helps make goals clearer for players. WayForward managed to get back most of the original cast which is amazing. It made me really want Disney to make another film based on the show. By the way, for purists, you can switch the soundtrack back to its 8-bit form. However, I found it a little jarring, especially with the shiny new graphics.
Speaking of the graphics, they are awesome. WayForward did an amazing job reanimating the sprites of the game. They really smoothed out the animation with a lot of the character from the original show. I can’t help but feel that if Capcom didn’t have to deal with the memory constraints on the NES that they would have definitely made a game with this quality of animation.
Disney’s DuckTales Remastered is definitely a must buy for old fans and newcomers. I feel that it has the right mix of old and new. And…come on guys, who don’t want to go for a swim in the money bin?
DuckTales was developed by Wayforward and published by Capcom. It is available now on PSN, Steam and XBLA.