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DuckTales Remastered Review

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On 08/21/2013 at 12:00 PM by Matt McLennan

As far as remakes go, it's one of the better ones despite a few flaws.

For those who love platformers, Disney, Capcom’s classic Disney games or Wayforward.

 I wouldn’t blame you if the words “Disney” and “video game” made you frown. After the 16-bit days, the quality of Disney Interactive’s titles took a huge nose-dive, which is a real shame as some of my favorite video games from this era were Disney titles. However, these titles were created by either Capcom or Virgin Interactive. After nearly twenty odd years (and no Virtual Console release), Capcom decided to task Wayforward with remaking their first and most legendary NES Disney title: DuckTales. As far as remastered titles go, does it fall in the same trap as most HD remasters go, or is it a worthy remake of the NES cult classic?

For those who don’t know about the NES game, here is a quick refresher: the main objective of the game is to collect five legendary treasures, each hidden in their own level a la Mega Man. Scrooge’s main attack and means to collect all the hidden diamonds is via his cane jump and cane swing. This type of platforming was very unique to this day, and still is. It wasn’t, however, all perfect; bosses were pitifully easy to beat minus one and in order to enter the African Mines level you had to perform an idiotic backtrack to Transylvania if you completed it first. Also, the final level was just a rehash of Transylvania with a slightly underwhelming final boss.

Wayforward has thankfully added a lot to the experience, and as someone who has completed the NES game many times I welcome a lot of the changes. The core gameplay has remained mostly unchanged with the exception of two brand new levels; you are still pogo jumping and exploring every nook and cranny for hidden diamonds and treasure chests to increase your money score, and the level layouts remain mostly the same. Gone, however, is the time limit and the ability to head straight to the boss; each level now has a secondary objective that unlocks the way to the boss chamber with brand new areas, and each boss has seen changes to their attacks as well, making for a fuller experience. You can even use the money you collected to swim in Scrooge’s money bin and pay for unlockable gallery artwork.

What hasn’t changed are the tight and responsive controls; the original NES game was based off the Mega Man engine after all. However, Wayforward added an option to change how the pogo jump works; in the original NES version, you had to jump, hold down on the control pad and then hold ‘B’ to utilize the move. In this version, you just have to jump and hold a button, which simplifies the maneuver. If you prefer the old-school style of pogo-jumping, you can switch the options at any time in the game’s pause menu on any difficulty, except extreme. However, be warned that the old school pogo-jumping doesn’t always activate. A more encouraging change, are the redone mine cart portions of the game -  they are now akin to those found in Donkey Kong Country, which makes them much more enjoyable.

Yet there are some problems in the gameplay that made me dock a full star from the experience. As I mentioned before, each level now has a secondary objective, which is due to the expanded storyline. Wayforward are obviously fans of the original DuckTales cartoon, and the objectives lead way to voiced cutscenes. As good as the sprite animation, script, and voice acting is, I find it interrupts the flow of the gameplay, despite their brevity. This becomes an even greater problem in subsequent playthroughs.

It’s impossible to talk about DuckTales Remastered without mentioning the facelift it’s received to match the style of the original cartoon. While often considered one of the better looking Disney cartoons of the ‘80s, it has not aged well despite what many people think. Honestly, the game is a mixed bag in looks; the sprite work done on Scrooge, all the NPCs, the enemies, and bosses are wonderfully animated to fit in the style of the original cartoon and NES game. The game also runs smoothly without any slowdown. The backgrounds, however, leave a lot to be desired; in comparison to the concept art shown in the game, to previous Wayforward works, the polygon style really clashes with the 2-D hand-drawn animation. It’s quite a shame, as the NES original was regarded as one of the better looking Capcom games of its time.

Solid throughout though is the audio. While you are given an option to use the original NES audio once you’ve completed the game (on any difficulty), the rearrangements of the original tracks are extremely catchy, with the two standouts being the Moon and Transylvania tracks. Voice acting was also added to the game to flesh out the script, and it’s fantastic to hear Alan Young still voicing Scrooge and June Foray as Magica DeSpell. Some voice actors, however, have replaced some of the original cartoon voices, yet they thankfully do a good job, though I do think Wendee Lee sounds a bit strange as Mrs. Beakly.

I don’t find it hard to justify the $15 asking price for DuckTales Remastered. This isn’t a quick cash-in by any means, as Wayforward showed tender loving care in remaking the game. If you have played the NES game to death, like I have, you will enjoy the changes made to flesh out the experience. Granted, it’s not perfect, but neither was the NES game despite its popularity. 

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

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Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




08/21/2013 at 12:14 PM

I preordered this on PSN so I got it for 12 bucks. I haven't even had a chance to play it yet with all the other games on the go but I'm looking forward to checking it out.


08/21/2013 at 12:39 PM

Nice review.  I'm going to download this game at some point and am looking forward to it.  Although I never owned the original, I used to play it alot at a friend's house when I was younger and have always had fond memories of it. I never realized that so many other people liked it until recently when I saw it being brought up alot on gaming websites.

Cary Woodham

08/21/2013 at 07:06 PM

Playing this game makes me smile.


08/23/2013 at 06:57 PM

I actually waited until the PS3 "hard copy" appeared at GameStop, which is really just a PS3 case with the sleeve and a Ducktales collector's pin included inside (and a redeemable code for the digital copy, of course). Still, for a huge Ducktales fan like me, it was worth having something tangible to represent the return of one of my favorite NES games.

'Tis true, though, that playing through the title now, the game feels a tad pedestrian in design, with most of the levels more-or-less playing the same. But this is a remake, after all, and as far as those go, this is among the most loving I've ever seen. As a game, maybe this is four stars, but as an affectionate tribute to the past, it's easily five.


09/01/2013 at 12:34 PM

Not so much a fan of platformers, but I am a fan of Wayforward and those classic Disney games. I'm going to check this out.

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