Life is like a hurricane again!
I love DuckTales, both the cartoon and the videogame, which I should mention came out about six months after my wedding. Because of this, I cannot claim the childhood memories so many people hold dear, as childhood was already in my rear-view mirror. But the source material, both for the show and the game, is much older than I am. These comic-book stories sprang from the imagination of the brilliant writer and artist, Carl Barks, who wrote the adventures of Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and more from 1947 to 1966 (with a few more stories coming after his retirement). More so, he created many of these characters. They’re the stories I grew up on, and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in DuckTales.
When the DuckTales videogame first hit in 1989, I jumped at the chance to play as my favorite comic-book character, bouncing on his cane like a pogo stick, defeating Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold, and countless generic no-goodnicks that stood between me and all of that beautiful treasure.
So, naturally, I was thrilled when Capcom announced it would be bringing DuckTales back, and while I still keep a torch burning for an all-new, modern take on the franchise, I was more than happy to dive into the remastered version of the original game.
The first thing fans will notice are the graphics. DuckTales: Remastered looks like an episode of the cartoon series. The backgrounds look painted, while the hand-drawn characters feature fluid animation, allowing them to run and jump with all the springy physics you’d expect in a trip to Toontown.
The controls haven’t changed (though they have been tightened up slightly). Scrooge can walk, jump, and use his cane as a pogo stick or golf club to defeat enemies and navigate the labyrinthine levels. The pogo bounce is the most important of these abilities, as this allows you to bounce off most enemies’ heads, reach high places, and cross dangerous ground. That’s why Capcom has included a new tutorial level to get players accustomed to this move.
The game’s main areas haven’t really changed (though I admit my memory for the original, last played more than 20 years ago, is somewhat sketchy). There are beginning and ending levels, with five treasure-hunt areas in the middle. Those middle levels can be played in any order, but all five must be beaten to get to the endgame.
Playing DuckTales is a blast, but remember, it’s a late-’80s platformer. The whole thing can be beaten in an afternoon, even with the occasional cheap deaths and trial-and-error boss fights. Exploration is limited, but there are a lot of gems to find and a new gallery to spend your money in. I managed to collect just over $12 million in treasure, which unlocked about a third of the goodies in the gallery, so completionists will have two or three solid playthroughs to get everything.
The game’s difficulty has been dialed down a bit, particularly as there are more chances to increase your life meter (the original game had two, while Remastered has at least five). That isn’t to say things are a walk in the park, particularly on Hard or Extreme difficulty modes.
Finally, there’s one more addition that Scrooge fans will love, though it seems like just a minor throwaway. Players can enter the famed McDuck money bin and swim around in the riches, watching new treasures get added to it as the game goes on. It just made me happy.
By today’s standards, DuckTales is a short, sweet romp, but anyone who ever enjoyed the TV series or the original NES game will love every second of it.
|Developer: WayForward Technologies • Publisher: Capcom • ESRB: E – Everyone • Release Date: 08.13.2013|
Capcom gives fans a beautifully remastered version of the late-‘80s megahit NES game that proved Nintendo wasn’t the only company that could make great platformers. Though a bit short, DuckTales still holds up where it counts, with tight controls, fun levels, and a story like a vintage comic book. The game might be straightforward and feel a little dated, but bouncing through the Amazon, the Himalayas, the Moon, and more will have you singing the iconic theme song in your head.
|The Good||The graphics are simply stunning, like playing an episode of the show.|
|The Bad||Some really cheap deaths. After all, it is a late-’80s platformer.|
|The Ugly||A rat the size of a Buick.|
|DuckTales: Remastered is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), Wii U, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360 (XBLA).|