DuckTales: Remastered is a Disney licensed title published by Capcom and developed by WayForward released in 2013 for Valve’s Steam platform. It is a remake of the classic DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System. While I was concerned that Capcom and Disney might be attempting to market this game simply to capitalize on the nostalgia of fans of the classic game, this game appears to be a solid single-player platformer for Windows 7 era PCs. Fans of the show will appreciate getting reacquainted with all of the characters and the plucky humor is true to form for the series.
Upon loading the game you are greeted with a title screen with the town of Duckburg in the background. The DuckTales instrumental theme music plays and I couldn’t help but sing along. The original game went straight to a level select screen. This remastered version however begins predictably in the spirit of the animated show with the Beagle Boys breaking into Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin. McDuck, played by the player, must make his way to the money vault and defeat the boss. This level acts as a sort of tutorial to help the player get familiar with the game’s controls.
For those who are not familiar with playing DuckTales, the player controls Scrooge McDuck throughout the game. Like most platformers, the player may run in the horizontal directions and jump in a vertical arc. The player may also have McDuck use his cane like a pogo stick to get a jump with increased distance or to crush an enemy beneath him. He can also use his cane like a golf stick to whack items in the game.
When I was growing up, having a few friends who owned DuckTales for the NES, the general consensus was that the game was really hard. It appears my concept of hard has changed over the years. I wouldn’t call this an easy game, and it’s probably harder than the original Super Mario Bros., though that may be an apples to oranges comparison. That being said, the game feels fair even while I’m losing, and thus far at no point has felt overwhelmingly difficult. Quite the contrary, every time I have died, I wanted to try again and keep on playing.
Upon defeating the Beagle Boys, it is discovered that they were after a particular painting that contained information hidden in its picture frame as to the whereabouts of large sums of hidden treasures. McDuck punches all of the data into his large treasure hunting computer which then provides the menu screen for the additional levels of the game, segueing into the familiar level select of the original.
Just like in the original there are five main levels in DuckTales: Remastered: the Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, the Himalayas, and the Moon. The player can choose to play these levels in any order, so of course I picked the Moon first being the sci-fi adventurer I am. But before I went on my moon mission, I had to take a dive into McDuck’s piles of gold coins. This is actually probably the best part of the game I have played so far. I must have spent several minutes just enjoying making Uncle Scrooge dive into his wealth, drinking in the satisfying jingles.
I was impressed to find the moon level plays almost exactly like it did in the NES classic. I’m surprised they did not include a feature where you could switch between the old and new graphics of the levels like they had with the remastered version of The Secret of Monkey Island. Maybe there is more new stuff here than I realize, but the similarity between the two games is shocking. Added to this remastered version are new cut-scenes that provide back story and giving fans of the show new material that fits in with the series.
So far I would recommend this game to any fan of the DuckTales animated series and anyone who really enjoys a decent platformer. The voice acting is fantastic and the graphics have received a worthy face lift. While there is nothing here particularly groundbreaking, given that the platformer genre has seen a great deal of changes and innovations since 1989, the game play continues to hold up well and provides a great deal of entertainment in our current decade. The simplicity of the controls may also make it an obvious choice for those who are unfamiliar and new to playing 2D platformers.