‘DuckTales’ was an insanely popular show on the Disney Channel in the 80s and 90s. Instead of ‘Hannah Montana’ or ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’, there was ‘TaleSpin’, ‘Darkwing Duck’, and of course, ‘DuckTales’. The adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his grandnephews seemed video game ready, so Capcom released ‘DuckTales’ for the NES (along with a stripped-down version for Game Boy) in 1989. It became an instant hit which spawned two more sequels. With ‘DuckTales Remastered’, a remake to the NES game on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC, Capcom is hoping to achieve the original’s success.
While it seems like an odd game to remake out of Capcom’s vast library (will we ever see Mega Man again?), the results make it justified. In ‘DuckTales Remastered’, developer WayForward Technologies is able to do the improbable: stay faithful to the original while updating it enough so it seems fresh.
The gameplay is almost exactly the same as the original. If anything, the platforming seems a little tighter than before, improving on the original. The cane-pogo stick and attacks are the same (although you can tweak the pogo-jump in the menu), so it should come naturally to those who have played the original. The location of treasure and enemies are almost identical, but there are a few small changes put in to throw off NES players, such as a bonus level before the final boss. For new players, there is also a map to help you in each level.
By staying faithful to the original, I can also see that what may have been fine in 1989 seems dated now. At times, the levels can start to feel monotonous (especially during the Himalayas level), and jumping to or from a rope can be a bit unreliable at times, but fortunately these parts are few and far between.
By keeping the gameplay almost the same, it let me focus on the beautiful hand-drawn sprites and backgrounds. This is how redone graphics should look. Scrooge and friends are drawn to look exactly like their TV counterparts, and it actually adds to the nostalgia factor.
Another welcome addition is the voice-acting. They got almost everybody from the show to reprise their roles, most notably Alan Young as Scrooge. The theme song (DuckTales! Woo ooo!) is a well-done remix of the 8-bit version in the original, and the end credits song is a remade version of the actual TV theme. This is a fan service that shouldn’t go unrecognized, and this only further adds to the immersion into the world of ‘DuckTales’.
‘DuckTales Remastered’ is a welcome addition into the pantheon of remakes, and hopefully this a precursor of more to come.
By Josh Baumbach