Review: DuckTales Remastered (PC)

Get ready to experience tales of derring-do, bad and good luck tales with Scrooge McDuck in stunning HD, with DuckTales Remastered.

DuckTales Remastered
Score: 10/10
Release Date: 8/13/2013 (USA)
Platform: 360, PS3, PC, Wii U
Developed by WayForward
Published by Capcom

For those who may not have had the opportunity to play the original DuckTales on the NES, DuckTales Remastered offers the same experience, but with an HD overhaul that sucks players into the whimsical world of the Disney cartoon. Players take the role of Scrooge McDuck as he travels to various areas of the world- and beyond- searching for five lost treasures. While the plot remains primarily unchanged, Remastered includes a large helping of cutscenes that provide some logical reasoning behind Scrooge’s multi-regional quest, how he can breathe on the Moon, and the higher “value” of the lost treasures. A major difference between the two versions deals with the collection of money: The original DuckTales had three different endings based on how many hidden items the player found, and their final amount of collected money at the end of the game; Remastered features multiple endings based on the Difficulty setting, but all of the money acquired during a play-through can be spent towards unlocking concept art, music, in-game perks and other collectibles.

DuckTales Remastered is a non-linear side-scrolling “platformer”, with several stage-dependent gameplay variants:

The core gameplay consists of collecting various items scattered throughout each stage in order to unlock a boss fight at the end; each level also has an extra element specific to it, such as a minecart-track section in Transylvania, hanging from Launchpad McQuack’s helicopter in Amazon, and the snow nullifying the cane-pogo in the Himilayas. For those who are curious as to whether or not Remastered is just as challenging as the original, WayForward managed to transfer that same frustrating difficulty into the remake.

DuckTales is what’s known as “NES-Hard”: During the NES-era of games, gameplay length was at the mercy of how much memory and storage data was allowed on the cartridge’s internal chip. To compensate for this, video games were intentionally difficult; cheap deaths masked as “one-hit-kills” and the “Castlevania death” guaranteed that the player would play for much longer than the actual time it would take to complete the game.

DuckTales Remastered can be completed in roughly 2 hrs, though an exceptionally skilled player could finish in under 40 min.

DuckTales is guilty of having the “Castlevania death”, but most of its difficulty is structured around how well the player masters one of Scrooge’s attacks- his cane. When next to an action-object (i.e. breakable blocks, platforms that need to be pushed), Scrooge uses his cane as a golf-club to launch it into the air; this is used to attack aerial enemies and to open unreachable chests. His cane also doubles as a pogo-stick, allowing him to bounce on top of enemies as an attack and an extra jump, and safely traverse over hazardous terrain such as spikes, thorns and electricity…The player will encounter several situations that test how well they’ve mastered Scrooge’s pogo-skills, with spikes on the floor and ceiling, even using enemies to traverse across water. (Yes, water is an instant-death…in a game where the main character is a duck.)

WayForward took a couple of liberties with the bosses, reworking them with new attack patterns and a higher difficulty to match the rest of the game:

From the title screen to the final boss, the scenery in DuckTales Remastered is outstanding; everything that the player experiences- voices, musical cues, backdrops- all culminates in the perfect blend of “Disney” and “retro”. Voice acting was added due to the inclusion of cutscenes- each of the surviving voice actors from the DuckTales cartoon have returned to their corresponding roles in Remastered; the stages and backdrops were designed by Rick Evans and Mike Peraza, former painter and former art director for Disney, both of whom worked on the cartoon series; they even managed to incorporate a brief segment of “the WayForward level” into the last level:

The music, arranged by Jake “Virt” Kaufman is absolutely amazing; the original music has a large following, and his new take on the classic soundtrack is sure to create a new following just the same:

While it may pose a hefty challenge to newcomers, it’s difficult by design, not by control limitations or the antics of questionable AI. This isn’t a game that requires a marriage proposal and a sacrifice of time; the average play-through will take roughly 2 hrs- the fastest times on the leaderboard for the PC version clock in at under 40 min. WayForward’s style truly makes this feel like an interactive series of lost episodes from the cartoon, and players will sport a large joyous grin throughout the entire game.

For those who might solve a mystery, or rewrite history, consider purchasing DuckTales Remastered.

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