DuckTales Remastered review

Duck Tales is an average side scrolling platformer with pacing problems, but it also has enough nostalgia to make it shine.
Duck Tales is an average side scrolling platformer with pacing problems, but it also has enough nostalgia to make it shine.
Duck Tales is an average side scrolling platformer with pacing problems, but it also has enough nostalgia to make it shine.

Highs

  • The cartoon look is spot on
  • An incredible blast of nostalgia
  • Responsive controls

Lows

  • Far too many interruptions for dialogue
  • Not a lot to it

DT Editors' Rating

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Ducks are actually fairly horrible creatures. They are necrophiliacs, cannibals, and their sexual proclivities are shocking, even by the standards of a society raised with the Internet. And yet, if you were a kid in the late 80s and/or early 90s, you probably have a soft spot in your heart for the miserable, feathered bastards that stem from the Disney’s cartoon, DuckTales. Odds are that you can at least hum the theme song, even now.

It’s impressive, and often gorgeous, from the characters to the backgrounds.

If you were a fan of the show then it stands to reason that you were a fan of the NES game that was released Stateside in September of 1989. You played Scrooge McDuck, pogo stomping your way across the world while hunting for five treasures to increase Scrooge’s already vast wealth that he hoarded and for some reason never re-invested into the economy of Duckburg. Upon reflection it may not have been the best of messages for kids to learn, but the property is still beloved and anyone that doesn’t think so may be a monster.

A few months after the DuckTales game was released, WayFoward Technologies was founded. In the two decades and change since, the developer has worked on numerous styles of games, but lately it has found success with revitalizing older franchises like Double Dragon and BloodRyane. Now with the blessing of Capcom, WayForward has rebuilt the DuckTales game on the skeleton of the old, enhancing rather than replacing.

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The result is a game that will remind gamers of their youths. It’s the game that we all thought DuckTales was when we were kids and 8-bit graphics were accentuated and completed by our imaginations. For the people that were unlucky enough to have not been a part of the DuckTales (and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin) generation, the game will lose a lot of its appeal. It’s a fairly basic 2D side-scroller with limited gameplay options and momentum-crushing pacing issues stemming from an overabundance of dialogue from an old guy with a weird Scottish accent. It all depends on how you approach it.

DuckTales Remastered remakes the original game’s levels accurately, but the style is straight out of the original cartoon. It’s impressive, and often gorgeous, from the characters to the backgrounds. WayForward even managed to round up the surviving cast to lend their voices, including Alan Young as Scrooge.

The result is a game that will remind gamers of their youths.

The five remastered levels take you back to the African Mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, The Moon, and Transylvania. The remake also includes a new tutorial in Scrooge’s money bin, and a new level leading to the final boss fight. In terms of content, it is essentially the same game. Just with way too much dialogue.

Following even a short blast of gameplay you will be treated to lengthy sections where Scrooge will talk with characters like Fenton Crackshell, Launchpad, and many others. It’s fun at first, but these moments drag on for minutes at a time, and they can only be skipped completely or endured. That means your choices are to either miss part of the point of the game as  it attempts to recreate the TV show, or you let it kill the gameplay dead in its tracks.

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Speaking of the gameplay, it has been overhauled as well, and yet essentially remains the same. You still have your cane as your only attack, and it seconds as your primary method of travel as you use it like a pogo stick. The level of difficulty you choose has a huge effect on the game, but for the most part it is still a fairly straightforward side-scroller with limited exploration and a lot of repetitive enemies to stomp on. If you are in to the game on a deeper level, then it works. If not, the gameplay becomes repetitive quickly, as you stomp many of the same enemies again and again – it lacks the tension or imagination of a game like Super Mario Bros. It looks great, but there really isn’t much to it most of the time.   

Conclusion

The target audience for this game will be the people that played the original – that might sound obvious, but it’s an important note. It’s a playable cartoon for fans that grew up with DuckTales. If you weren’t a fan of the franchise, then this game probably won’t offer enough on its own to win people over. 

If you were a fan though, it’s hard not to remember back to a simpler time, back before you knew what ducks were really capable of. It makes what you rememeber better in almost every way (except that you could fast forward through the text dialogue in the original). In that sense, DuckTales Remastered is a success, and with a few tweaks, it is how all old games should be remade.

This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 3 using a code provided by Capcom.

Highs

  • The cartoon look is spot on
  • An incredible blast of nostalgia
  • Responsive controls

Lows 

  • Far too many interruptions for dialogue
  • Not a lot to it