Review of DuckTales: Remastered From Capcom
Fans of the late 80’s can rejoice once more as Scrooge McDuck makes his reappearance to the gaming armchair in glorious HD.
For the unfamiliar, DuckTales revolves around the life of a very wealthy duck named Scrooge, his passion for treasure hunting and his penchant for ongoing vendettas. For the initiated, not much has changed other than some, seemingly unnecessary elements of conversation regarding being able to breathe on the moon. Frankly, I’d be more intrigued in the verses of an eloquent Scottish accented, speaking duck, but I guess that’s just me.
Your memories of not only the previous iteration of the game, but also of the cartoon antics of our rich protagonist will greatly influence your opinion of DuckTales: Remastered. It’s game tailored for fans; made by fans. So much so, that even some of the voice acting is performed by the original voice talent.
Gameplay is largely unchanged from it’s initial debut, Scrooge and his handy cane can ‘pogo’ on enemies heads, swing at blocks and cross spiked terrain to mitigate damage. Level design has had a bit of an overhaul however, the levels themselves share the same feel and theme, yet there are some differences veterans will spot. Firstly, and quite obviously difficult to miss, there is now a mini-map present to help newcomers on their way. Some of the areas have been revamped and added to; along with the bosses having differing patterns, all make for a relatively substantial update.
Not as striking of course as the colourfully stunning HD makeover however. Areas breathe freely with a new lease of life; enemy animations are as fresh now as they were back then and Scrooge’s pogo cane still makes a suitably irritating noise. The iconic soundtrack has been freshened up from it’s 8-bit birth and has been remastered to suit the rest of the game; of course it still has you singing along as always.
Unfortunately, we must now toss aside all the fond memories and concentrate on how DuckTales plays in a time where 2D and 8-bit are as foreign a concept to younger players as not shooting something in the face. Despite using the simplified cane bounce, it still felt inconsistent and didn’t always react immediately when I needed it to; that’s not counting the floaty jumping feel becoming more predominant during the later stages when precise landings are more of a necessity. Enemies follow strict A to B patterns, letting you exploit their ‘weaknesses’ with little thought. As much as the fan service is appreciated, the cut-scenes are woefully slow paced, detracting a majority of entertainment from the nostalgia. Explanation of the subtle nuances of say, Inception’s plot could be useful, in DuckTales they’re not really all that necessary however. It would honestly feel patronising to an 8 year old.
For the fans, there are unlockable pictures to gaze fondly over as well as several difficulty modes and endings. An average run through will be easily achieved in an afternoon; unlocking the extras and tackling the harder modes will predictably take substantially more effort and time.
Some things just don’t stand the test of time quite as well as others, in it’s heyday, an enjoyable romp through many varied locations with a popular licence to entice the fans. Today, it feels like what it is, an archaic platformer feeling the pains of the resources and architecture of it’s time. Spruced up, offering fan service and nostalgia in spades, those that DuckTales: Remastered will appeal to, will have already purchased this. For everyone else, there are many more puzzling platformers out there to choose from in the same price bracket. Nostalgia-hunters need only apply!
Reviewed on PS3, also available on Xbox 360, Wii U and PC.