DuckTales. Those two words are ingrained into the memory and psyche of every kid growing up in the late 80s and early 90s. Most people remember the tv show, and probably as many people remember the NES platformer. You know, the one with that cool tune on The Moon stage? Yeah, now you remember, don’t you? What if I told you that we were finally getting the remake we finally deserved for such a classic game? Well, it’s true.
Thanks to WayForward Technologies, we have a completely redone classic from the ground up. For those who might not have played the original DuckTales, it was one of Capcom’s many platformers that were released on the NES using the Mega Man engine, and probably the most well known non-Mega Man game to feature it. It was your standard Nintendo game, and up until this point a lot of licensed games were really awful. I mean, I don’t really need to go over the legion of crappy games LJN produced, do I? If you are in fact curious about them (or you’re just a sadist who takes in joy in watching others suffer), the Angry Video Game Nerd has covered all of the “classic” LJN games in his many video reviews. Anyways, back to DuckTales. You played as Scrooge McDuck, tried to collect treasure, fight bosses, and at the end of the game you were given one of three endings. The game was not exactly easy, as most platformers of the era weren’t, but due to the sum of it’s parts it was regarded as one of video games earliest triumphs. Especially the music, which was done by the same people who worked on the classic Mega Man soundtracks.
But fast forward twenty four years later, and we have DuckTales Remastered. From the moment you boot this baby up you know you’re in for some old school platforming bliss. Right away we get the classic Capcom logo and interlude, followed by a splash screen for WayForward. Then you hear it, the earworm which will never leave, the DuckTales theme tune. You’ll notice there are a lot more options than in the original, but you’ll the premise remains the same. Hit new game, then your difficulty, and you’re ready to roll.
Unlike the original game, they give you an intro level and some backstory, which was a pretty neat addition to the game. They also made it easier to do the pogo move, no longer do you have to hit down before hitting the ‘B’ button. And for those who feel like the game has been compromised by changing that little tidbit, you can enable ‘Hard Pogo’ from the options menu which forces you to press down to do the move. After the intro stage, you’ll be transported back to Scrooge’s Mansion. From here you can view the compendium, which you can add more to by spending earned money in your travels, look into the money bin (and gain an achievement by diving into it), and access the computer, which will take you to the stage select screen.
No matter what stage you choose, you will have to view a little cutscene (which you can skip), before you actually get to play the stage. Then it’s basic platforming. Again, they did change some things though. For instance, you have to collect certain things in the levels now. In the Amazon, it’s seven coins. In Transylvania, it’s three pieces of a rune. And so on and so forth. This adds a bit of backstory and a little extra something to flesh out the levels. I didn’t have a problem with it, except for one thing. If you don’t complete the level, you have to collect everything again, and have to skip through the cutscenes you already saw. Other than that though you’re getting a great experience that combines new and old, and it really is a great game.
It’s hard to improve upon a masterpiece, but the little touches WayForward went through really add to the excellent job they’ve done. Other than the obvious redone graphics and going from an 8-bit soundtrack to one way more modern, they added voice acting. All of the characters are voiced from the same people who did the DuckTales tv show. And yes, that includes 93 year old Alan Young as Scrooge McDuck. They could have left that out altogether, but you can see the effort they went through to make sure this was redone right.
The original DuckTales was the third NES game I had ever played, after Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. The gameplay, the soundtrack, the visuals, the sound effects all take me back to my childhood. It holds a special place in my heart, and it always will. It’s hard to top the original, but DuckTales Remastered really did meet expectations. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a better game than it’s NES counterpart, but it certainly can hold a candle to it. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the original, and while $15 is a little pricey for a game you can beat in a day, there’s always a Steam Sale lurking around the corner. Sometimes it’s okay to treat yourself, and I know I did with this. For me, it was money well spent. I hope it is for you, too.
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