Published on October 9th, 2013 | by Duke0914
Review: DuckTales: Remastered
Developer(s): WayForward Technologies
System(s): Wii U eShop, PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade, Steam
Release Date(s): August 13, 2013 (Wii U eShop, PSN, Steam), August 20, 2013 (PS3 boxed download code), September 11, 2013 (XBLA), November 12, 2013 (Wii U, PS3, 360 disc release)
It’s always fun revisiting things from my childhood. Though I didn’t own the original DuckTales on the Nintendo Entertainment System for too long as a child, I did enjoy what I was able to play. You take control of Scrooge McDuck, one of the richest characters in Duckberg, traveling to different areas collecting tons of treasure along the way. What I really enjoyed about the game is hoping around using Scrooge’s cane in order to reach higher places, beat up enemies, and more. It was a simple concept, but it worked perfectly for that type of game.
The game is well over 24 years old now, and is still regarded as a fantastic title. Ducktales: Remastered is an attempt of bringing the classic back in a modern fashion; with updated visuals, sound, and original designs blending with new ideas. Not only is it a remake of a game that I’ve always wanted to play more of as a kid, but it’s also handled by WayForward Technologies, a team of very talented game developers who have been delivering great games for quite a few years now. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was on playing this downloadable game on my PlayStation 3. So now the question is, how does it fare in this modernization?
Honestly, if I were to have reviewed this after one playthrough of the game, I would not think too highly of this game. It keeps the basic pogo stick mechanic from the original game, with two different methods. The first method, titled “Easy Pogo,” allows you to simply press and hold the action button in order to jump around while in the air, which is highly recommendable for beginners. The other method, “Hard Pogo,” is the same as the original NES game; you have to hold down on the D-pad and hold the action button right after, and unless you played the original you’d probably be better off with Easy Pogo. Both of these methods, however, share a similar problem. There are times where Scrooge would not start jumping; as if he needed to be a certain height before he could start bouncing, which caused me to die on several occasions when trying to cross a gap, or taking out an enemy.
Enemies in this game aren’t anything too hard or annoying (for the most part), but for some reason in certain levels they respawn at an incredibly fast rate. Now most enemies and objects in this game reappear if you walk off screen for a brief period, but enemies will literally respawn a second later, even if you don’t move a single step. What makes things worse is that there may be multiple enemies that respawn at once without you moving, and can make navigating levels unnecessarily difficult.
I found myself getting past the two issues I mentioned above with subsequent playthroughs. My second time through the game I hardly noticed them and had a great time, and still do whenever I go back to play it. Sure, I still have an awkward moment here and there even with practice, but the game can be quite enjoyable. However, although I continued playing even after having trouble, it doesn’t mean everyone else has that same mindset. It’s understandable that some players would turn away from this game after coming across those irritating problems (especially the second exclusive level for this remastering; yikes), which is quite a shame because this game is a blast overall.
In order to get different endings for the original DuckTales, you would need a certain amount of money by the end of the game. Collecting a lot of money is still a major point in playing this game, but your total count does not change the ending at all. Instead, the money you collect is used for buying concept art and musical tracks for you to listen to on your own time outside of the levels. It’s not much, but it’s a nice little amount of service for long time fans.
Something else that’s new to DuckTales: Remastered is an introductory level. In the original, once you selected your difficulty from the start menu you would choose from 5 levels immediately. Here, the introductory level not only teaches you the basics of the gameplay, but also introduces another new addition to the game.
Each level has fully voiced events; all of which sound great. The story is kept the same as the original NES title, but it’s more fleshed out here with the clever writing and spot-on voice acting. Character animations are also well done and visually pleasing; even while they’re talking they have smooth animations. The drawback is that it can break up the action, especially if you’re trying to get through as quickly as possible. There’s no denying though that the story telling is strong here, and it perfectly captures the magic and personality of the fantastic Disney cartoon.
Since WayForward Technologies handled the development of DuckTales: Remastered, it should come as no surprise that Jake Kaufman is the composer for the soundtrack. With his own style, Kaufman remasters each track for a more orchestral sound. After a certain point, you have the option to switch between the new soundtrack, and the original soundtrack. Even the two original levels that are exclusive to this game have their own 8-bit mixes; a nice option to please both old and new players alike.
Your first time through DuckTales: Remastered may be extremely rough if you play on anything above Easy Mode, and admittedly, the new level design towards the end of the game is questionable to say the least. I will give this game credit though and say that that the boss battles outclass the original in every way. I found these fights on the NES to be a bit easy and bland, but here they’re way more challenging and creative, and there’s never a time where I find these fights too difficult or unfair.
DuckTales Remastered is a faithful remake of a classic; there’s no denying that. I can easily recommend this to anyone who’s played the original, and despite the issues that I came across early on, the good definitely out weights the bad. Even if you never touched the NES game, it’s worth looking into if you’re just a fan of platformers or Disney in general. Would love to see DuckTales 2 get the same treatment sometime in the future, but only time will tell…
+ Fun and simplistic pogo jump mechanic
+ Amazing update to an already solid soundtrack
+ Mirrors the enjoyment of the original cartoon show
+ Clever writing and original voice cast
– Finicky jumping and endless enemies can create an initially rough experience
Final score: 4 out of 5