I would hope that everyone reading this review has at least heard of DuckTales. If you haven’t, please minimize this review and go find an episode to watch. Now that you’re back from that, let me begin by saying when I was a little kid, I played the DuckTales NES game to death. I absolutely loved it. When WayForward announced that they were remaking the classic title, I did a back flip. My neck is still recovering from the failed attempt, but needless to say, I was really excited. My excitement was not in vain. DuckTales Remastered is an amazing trip back down memory lane.
DuckTales Remastered has players taking control of Scrooge McDuck, a billionaire treasure hunter that wants nothing more than to obtain more riches. Of course, others want those riches as well, and Scrooge, along with his three nephews; Huey, Dewey, Louie; his niece Webby; and his “trusty” pilot Launchpad McQuack go off in search for treasures all around the world, and even on the Moon as well.
The game is, for all intents and purposes, a remake of the original game with a few extras dropped in. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to do. There are multiple stages to play and each has their own take on how to approach them. Players can choose which one to play and there is no set order. Scrooge can pogo with his cane to defeat enemies, reach higher platforms, or golf swing objects into treasure chest or enemies. Collecting gems will increase Scrooge’s money total which can be used to unlock art, music, and more in the hub world.
Each stage has a big boss fight at the end that will test the player’s 2D hand-eye coordination. Just like a classic NES boss, it’s all about seeing their pattern and adjusting to it accordingly. DuckTales is not one of those nonchalant 2D platformers. When I say it is difficult, I’m talking the infamous “Nintendo hard” difficulty. Players get three lives (four if they find Mrs. Beakley before losing any of them) and start off with only three hearts. Scrooge can take three hits, and then he dies. If he dies three times, it’s game over and the player is sent back to the stage select screen. There is no hand holding, but it’s one of those games where the more and more players play, the better they get at it and will eventually triumph.
The game has the old school in mind not just for its game play, but with the presentation and unlocks as well. The visuals have Scrooge and company in high resolution 2D hand-drawn sprites. The animations are well done and it looks like an HD version of the cartoon. WayForward had all the original voice actors from the cartoon to come back to reprise their roles and give the game some charm. They do such a wonderful job with it as well. It felt like I was playing a lost episode of the show. Just hearing Scrooge and Launchpad go back and forth during the Amazon stage had me smiling from ear to ear, and watching Gizmoduck wheel around with me on the Moon blasting baddies with rockets had me cheering the entire time. It was such a treat to see and hear.
How could I not mention the amazing original soundtrack by Jake Kaufman? It takes every song from the original NES game, remixes it with modern sounds, and keeps some of the 8-bit feel in it. I was whistling the Transylvania theme the entire time. Players that enjoy video game music will eat this game up.
Of course, as nostalgic as I am for this game, I have to point out the very few things that kept this game form being the perfect childhood trip. Some of the jumping is slightly off in some areas, usually during boss fights. Even if I know my pogo attack would hit, I would slightly be to the side of the enemy and would get myself as well. When I have only a few hits I can take and limited lives, it can become frustrating when dying may mean having to do the entire level over again, but even with the difficulty, I couldn’t stop playing it. Finding new secrets and obtaining permanent health upgrades were just some of the addictions.
Anyone who has played the original game and enjoyed it must play DuckTales Remastered. It is such a joy to see some of my favorite childhood characters back once again. Yes, even the annoying Webby. The game play is tight and very challenging, and even if you trade blows with a boss and end up dying, you won’t mind too much because of how much fun you’re having. The visuals, voice acting, music and game play make this a $15 dollar package that any kid from the 80s and 90s should play. Your inner kid wants you to play this game. Do it for them. You will not be disappointed.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 3.