Scrooge McDuck has to be the most lovable capitalist to have ever capitalized on society since - well some titans stand alone.
Most of us would remember DuckTales from the old animated TV show back in the late 80s. The owners of most animated TV shows from that era, could not help but attempt to capitalize on the burgeoning video game market. If you have not played the original DuckTales for the NES, which was released back in 89. I implore you, play it.
Developed by Capcom, with the developers who worked on the MegaMan series, and it showed. It was one of the best games on the platform. The well-defined pixel art, thundering soundtrack, a near-perfect difficulty curve, and tight controls. The game earned its place on the multitude of "best of" lists it has since appeared on. It would prove successful for both Capcom and Disney, selling over a million copies.
It is actually impressive that it took Disney almost 20 years to remaster the game. I can't tell if that was a restraint on Disney's part or not.
WayForward, the developers of the remaster, has their work cut out for them. Did they justice to the original?
I’ll kick this review off with a simplified spoiler-free plot.
The Beagle Boys attempt to steal money from Scrooge, and in the process, they capture the triplets. Once rescued and the Beagle Boys defeated in Scrooge’s office, a painting provides him with the details of five treasures across the globe. Scrooge, together with his team of familiar faces set out to retrieve the treasures and the secrets hidden within.
The plot plays out like a typical Saturday morning cartoon – which isn’t a bad thing. I liked the plot and where it took us, getting to see so many characters from the show, even if for a small section in a level, was great.
Sometimes, a simple clear plot with a well-defined in-world resolution is the best.
Wayforward also chose to include voice acting, and while some of the performances grated on my ears. I grew to enjoy it by the middle of the game. Not enjoying the initial voice acting was me trying to get into the game as quickly as possible. The voice acting was spot on for most of the characters, and the lines delivered as they would in the TV show. I would like to reiterate that it was like watching an extended episode.
That transitions me into talking about how much of a faithful adaptation it is – both of the game and the show.
I will admit that I Have a spot for the original. I played a huge amount of it back when I was younger, and I didn’t think I’d have as much fun with this game as I did. The game updates and extends the original in a way that felt good, even if there were a few missteps here and there.
Before getting to the issues I had with this game, I want to talk about the good parts of the game. The primary mode of both attack and mobility is Scrooge’s signature pogo stick. Jumping on enemies not only gives you a temporary second jump but it also feels so satisfying to do. The game holds that fine-tuned 2D platforming in high regard.
This is a perfect example of a single mechanic that is so fun and well thought out, it carries the entire game on its back.
The pogo mechanics were precise. It gives you the ability to make split-second decisions in mid-air.
The game remains fun when exploring hidden passages, jumping on enemies, or jumping to your death. All satisfying.
There’s quite a bit I want to talk about when it comes to design, so I’ll keep the following section brief.
The levels came from the original NES game, well somewhat. There were also two new levels added to the game. I quite enjoyed the level design. Though there were times when I felt like it didn’t choreograph locations well, that could be me. The levels were robust, unique, and each level has its own mini-quest.
The treasures you receive are all gained from defeating bosses. Each boss is unique, both visually, and mechanically. It also helps that some of the bosses are characters from the show. Complete with their love/hate for scrooge and with the personalities. It became part of their gameplay as well.
The art style is where some might get turned off, and the truth is, I was hoping for more of a pixel art style. But, we got drawn 2D sprites interlaced with 3D objects, and environments, although most are 2D. The style grew on me, although it would’ve been interesting to think about.
The music. That theme song. I’ve had it on repeat for the entire time while I was writing this review. The title track is one of the best versions of the theme song I’ve ever heard. This is the definitive cover (apart from the original of course). The sound design and sound FX complements every stage and level, though it puts its own charm on it. It felt satisfying bonking an enemy and collecting treasures and completing the stages. The end score screen you get after every screen is so euphoric.
Every time you collect gems, and treasures, you gain money. You can use this money to swim in your massive money bank, like the show. You can use it to buy behind-the-scenes content, such as sketches. This is a nice touch and it incentivized me to gain more of the collectibles. Since I was able to get cool extras in-game.
With that, I draw my conclusion. I enjoyed playing DuckTales: Remastered, and while I haven’t beaten the game out yet, I am on the second to last stage. I do believe this is a fantastic entry for those who didn’t play the original and for those who like DuckTales, it is a great extension to the franchise.