DuckTales: Remastered – PC
Release Date: Aug 13, 2013
Reviewed by Mark Smith
Review Score: 3 of 5
As this generation of gaming comes to a close we find ourselves inundated with more opportunities than ever to relive our past thanks to the plethora of remakes, remasters, and reboots arriving on a monthly basis. Some are good, some are bad, and some are completely unnecessary. As for DuckTales: Remastered, I can personally think of a few dozen other games I would have rather seen given an HD facelift, but I won’t begrudge Capcom and Wayforward for choosing this 8-bit classic from the NES archives. Apparently it, along with the TV show, has quite the dedicated cult following – let’s just hope they all play video games.
On the surface, DuckTales: Remastered is a gorgeous game with Disney-quality hand drawn animated sprites and stunning painted backgrounds that reminded me of the style and pallets used by Don Bluth. Sometimes those sprites don’t quite blend into the backgrounds just right, but on the whole it looks pretty sweet. Toss in a remixed and updated score that slowly blends in from the retro music during the title screen and some authentically annoying voice overs by the surviving TV cast and you have the perfect presentation.
Where DuckTales: Remastered stumbles is when you peek under the hood and realize that the core game is relatively unchanged. You have the five original core levels; Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, Himalayas, and The Moon along with a new training level and end boss fight level and all the platforming and item collection is spot on from the original (or so I was told by our resident expert on the game). Judging by his review for the Xbox 360 version, it becomes quite clear that you really need to be a fan of the material to enjoy this remake.
As you collect treasure and coin to fill your cavernous vault you can also spend your money between missions on a variety of unlockable concept art. It would have been nice for some retro extras like the original 8-bit soundtrack or even toss in the original game like Ubisoft did with the Flashback remake. There really needs to be some added incentive to play this game beyond the 2-3 hours it will take to finish on Easy or the countless hours it will take to perfect on anything harder.
The game plays with either the keyboard or a gamepad, and while I certainly recommend a controller, neither will afford you the precise control you expect from a contemporary platformer or even the control required to play this game successfully. There is some infuriating lag between the time you press the jump/pogo button and when Scrooge decides to do it, and this can easily lead to sudden death.
Death wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we weren’t playing by NES old-school rules. On all but the easiest of difficulty levels you will not have the luxury of mid-level checkpoints and you will have limited lives. Any death will send you to the start of the level and when you run out of lives you start over. While this may be a testament to the stamina of the 80’s and 90’s gamer, I fear that this generation will find the game more of a repetitious chore than a fun platformer. At least the Easy mode offers those with a casual interest a somewhat rewarding trip down memory lane…even if it’s your dad’s memory.