Bringing the wealthy duck into a more polished adventure.
Originally written: 11-28-13
The richest duck in the world, Scrooge McDuck, foils a robbery attempt against him by defeating the Beagle Boys. This encounter leads to him learning the locations of five hidden treasures. Since there's no such thing as enough money for him, he gathers up his pilot Launchpad McQuack to take him to these locations.-summary
I remember the announcement of Capcom releasing an updated version of Ducktales taking me by complete surprise. It was definitely unexpected and I was looking forward to it. Like many, many, people whom played the original for the NES back in 1989, I remembered the game fondly. Released as Ducktales: Remastered, the game was originally released only as DLC last August until many people voiced their complaints about this. Die-hard fans wanted a physical copy of a game that they loved so much, and I was definitely a part of this group.The game was re-released early November for purchase at $20 and I will say this is an update done right despite some negative issues here and there. I wish more game developers did this.
Ducktales: Remastered is a single player 2.5D plat-former that follows Scrooge as he travels the globe for these artifacts. This adventure will take him into the heat of the amazon jungle, the coldest depths of the Himalayas, and even to the Moon. Those who played the original are definitely going to notice changes in this update, however the territory is still very familiar.
The stages have been expanded upon with the game encouraging exploration in order to find hidden areas plus mandatory items. Each of the main stages requires Scrooge to find a number of things such as ancient coins to open a new path, or gathering the armored pieces to Gizmo-Duck's super suit. While these elements are new, it adds something more to the linear game play. The stages are flooded with enemies specific to that location and there are plenty of traps as well. Scrooge defends himself by using his cane as a pogo stick to bounce on enemies heads, plus he can swat small boulders. The stages are littered with diamonds to pick up for purchasing art work and even music from the soundtrack of this game and the original. Health items occasionally pop up and Scrooge's three hearted health bar can be increased.
The game's stages are rarely, if ever boring due to different elements constantly being added such as the snow stage taking away Scrooge's ability to pogo bounce, because he will just dive into the snow and get stuck, plus there are areas with teleporting mirrors and quick moving mining carts. Despite the minor amount of back tracking, it's impossible to get lost or wander aimless; once you learn the game's tricks concerning hidden areas and treasure boxes they become very easy to find later. Now don't think the rest of the game is a cakewalk. I haven't played the original since around the time it was released more than 2 decades ago; I remember it being quite difficult but nothing like this. This game is old school, probably too old school for its own good. Some of the stages require quite a bit of practice. I saw the game over screen on the first stage in the selection. There are some tight jumps here and there along with some careful enemy placement. The truth is, if you die constantly in this game for the most part it's your fault. However, this is not the case concerning the final stage though. There are plenty of ways for cheap deaths and easy health draining hits through sloppy enemy placement, and at least one annoying mechanic concerning the controls, more on that one later.
The boss battles went through an upgrade and some of them can be tough. The toughest battle I thought took place in Transylvania against one of Scrooge's nemesis, the sorceress Magica De Spell. I don't remember her being like this in the original, but it's a fun battle as she attempts to burn and blast Scrooge; for the most part these boss battles keep you on your toes and the bosses usually have at least two different attacks. I think the first boss actually has an instant kill move.
Now most of my complaints are towards how closely the developers wanted to recapture that 8-bit feel. Now I don't mind difficult games, but I hate re-spawning enemies especially if they don't drop power ups, and that's exactly what you're going to see. Some of these enemies are in the most annoying spots, and you're going to back track some of these locations. Another annoying element is once you see that game over screen, because this means once those 2 lives are gone you're doing the entire stage from scratch; this even includes dying in the boss battles and if you make it to them with no extra lives, you're more than likely doing that stage again. Especially in the final stage, and you are going to die there a few times. Now I do understand most games put you back after the game over screen, but I found it more frustrating here.
There is plenty of fan service with several characters making it from the TV series with voice overs; this is a cool new addition as the developers attempt to make the game more story driven through dialog heavy cut scenes and the usual banter between the characters. The problem here is that these interactions disrupt the flow of the game play. I noticed this especially during the Amazon stage, and it bothered me after awhile even though the interactions can be funny, with Scrooge asking Launchpad, "were you ever dropped on the head when you were a kid?". And Launchpad replies, " yeah, all the time!". I commend them for at least attempting to tell a story though. I also like the character development for Scrooge; he's adventurous, brave, and he loves his family and friends, even before his fortune although it doesn't seem that way at first.
The game itself lasts somewhere around 2.5 hours but your first run through is going to last longer than that. I only played through it once on normal and I unlocked a lot of things. It would have been nice to unlock the original game only for the sake of comparison. Honestly though, going through this once is good enough for me and I don't see myself unlocking all of that content. It's not a bad game at all, I just don't find it to be that addictive.
This area is pretty simple with the jump button, and holding down during a jump to bounce. The controls feel up to standard but there was this slight sluggish feel that I kept noticing. For one thing, Scrooge's regular jump feels kind of floaty in a way, and for some reason when he's scaling long chains and ropes hanging from ceilings, it requires too much effort to leap to the next chain or rope and grab it. During the early stages this problem really doesn't seem like much, but once you get to the final stage it becomes apparent that you didn't get enough practice here or something. I died several times despite holding the control pad in the up right position after a jump and Scrooge just wouldn't grab the chain or rope; and in the final stage it can be rage inducing because that little miss will require you to do everything all over again if you see that game over screen. The final battle is a race, and it's frustrating as hell to lose over and over just because the damn duck won't grab a chain or his floaty jump gets in the way. Although I heavily criticize the New Super Mario Bros. series; I wish every plat former controlled like those games. For me this was kind of a joy kill.
Now of course this is the area we will see the most improvement. The game maintains its cartoony style of the TV series with some very nice animations. The sprites have a good amount of detail with some facial expressions and movements. Gizmo-Duck looks really cool as he fires missiles and pulls out all types of weapons. Some of the giant bosses look great also and everyone looks exactly how they do in the series. The 3D backgrounds look very good with specific details to their areas. The Transylvania haunted castle stage has a nice cartoony spookiness to it with very dark backgrounds and good amount of lighting. The final stage in Magica's home forsakes the colorful detail found in everything before it in favor of black and red, fiery like backgrounds. It definitely had a different feel, but it didn't bother me much at all. Now in comparison to The New Super Mario Bros. series and even Rayman; the 3D and 2D sprites are clearly clashing with each other and they look kind of out of place. It really stands out when Scrooge and company are in a plane or helicopter, it just looks a bit weird.
The sound effects are done well for a game of this type, but it's the voice work that clearly stands out. Most of the original cast return with June Foray reprising her role as Magica and Alan Young as Scrooge at the ages of 96 and 94 respectively; they sound amazing still with Foray stealing the show. I love all of the performances here and I never felt tempted to skip any of these cut scenes. The remixed soundtrack is very good as it sounds updated, but it maintains the soul of the originals. They're all fun to listen to and they compliment the style of the game.
Ducktales: Remastered is a very good update but I really shouldn't be that surprised since Capcom has already proved they're very good with these type of things. The difficulty level is going to put casual gamers off and I think it can be a bit too hard for really young kids also; fortunately for them there is an easy mode. I haven't tried it out and I never will, but I been told it's more forgiving with the lives and it's great for casual players so they can still experience it. Overall this is a solid game that I think most people should give a try but maybe as a rental. I can only imagine hardcore fans coming back for more and more. So if you loved the original game, then definitely give this a shot. It's going to challenge you.
Pros: Fantastic and entertaining voice work, challenging game play
Cons: Some annoying elements, cheap final stage, too difficult for some