DuckTales Remastered Review: bless me bagpipes, Wayforward proves Scrooge has still got it after 24 years
- Posted August 12th, 2013 at 13:00 EDT by Michael Harradence
- PSU Review Score
- Avg. user review score:
You must be logged in to rate a game
DuckTales remastered is old-school platforming at its best, doing justice to the original while adding gorgeous visuals and extra content into the mix for good measure.
- Gorgeous visuals
- Brilliant music
- Challenging gameplay with plenty of extra content to unlock
- Too short
- Occasional trial-and-error can be frustrating
- Repetitive enemies
For many, Capcom’s DuckTales on the NES is the quintessential example of platforming perfection during the late '80s and early '90s. Next to Mario and Sonic, you’d be hard pressed to find something as rewarding as Scrooge McDuck’s treasure-hunting adventure. As well as being a solid title in its own right, the game was one of the first to subvert the now-common notion that licensed titles are doomed to failure from the start. It's fitting, then, that developer Wayforward opted to take Scrooge's celebrated game debut and give it a fresh coat of high-definition paint, full voice acting, and ample fan service for modern game consoles.
In case you're too young to remember the TV series DuckTales, two things: first, I feel sorry for you, so get yourself over to YouTube and watch a few episodes and see why those of us on the wrong side of 25 worshiped at Scrooge's altar. Second, the only thing you need to know is that DuckTales: Remastered honors its cartoon cousin such that folks like me, who grew up watching the show, immediately turn into giggling 10-year-olds at the very mention of Scrooge and Co.'s globe-trotting exploits. This is nostalgic bliss, pure and simple. Oh, and it also happens that Remastered is actually a bloody good game, too.
DuckTales: Remastered utilizes all the staples of the NES original, but isn’t afraid to tweak things here and there. The polished platforming paradigm laid down by McDuck’s 8-bit romp is strikingly evident from the get-go, but long-time fans will nod sagaciously at areas that have been expanded or otherwise switched up for PlayStation Network. Wayforward uses the original game’s five-stage layout as a blueprint for the action, so expect to visit Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, the Himalayas, and The Moon in the hunt for lost artifacts. While the overall objective is to pogo-stick your way to the end of each stage to face off with the level’s Big Bad Boss, the action is pleasingly non-linear.
Typically, players will have to fetch a few key items in each stage, requiring you to hunt up, down, left, and right to progress. Areas have multiple levels to explore for treasures and bonus items--increasing Scrooge’s wealth and health--and hidden pathways reveal ample diamond hordes to gobble up. The incentive for exploring every nook and cranny is stirring as ever, and the rewards are well worth it--I found myself spending ages smacking open coffins in Dracula’s castle and poking around in mine carts in Africa to fill Scrooge’s already-minted pockets.
Scrooge’s trusty cane is an intrinsic part of his very being, both from an aesthetic and mechanical point of view. You’ll use it to bonk baddies on the head, leap to higher places, and whack objects out of the way. Controls are simple, with players limited to just the D-pad/analogue stick to steer Scrooge, X to jump, and Square to activate his cane in mid-air. Scrooge may not be Mario in terms of control, but Remastered’s platforming segments are nonetheless a joy to experience. Meticulous timing is often required to navigate gaping chasms and leap from climbable ropes and chains, with one false move meaning a one-way trip to the abyss for McDuck. It’s tough--the original was a notoriously tricky bugger--but never to the point of frustratingly unfair.
Every successful pogo jump feels satisfying, and seeing Scrooge effortlessly bonk enemies on the head while using it as momentum to cross a huge gap will fill you with smug satisfaction. Still, there’s a few gripes to be had. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are meant to use Scrooge’s rudimentary jump or pogo stick to traverse, and blind guesses can lead to you losing a life. Expect splashes of trial-and-error to creep in now and then, but overall these niggles are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Speaking of lives, Wayforward is pretty stingy; the Richest Duck in the World has two attempts by default, and although you can acquire more, they are few and far between.
Furthermore, if you lose all your lives, it’s straight back to Scrooge’s Money Bin (aka the game’s main hub) to start again. The fact stages are pretty ... (continued on next page) ----