|System: Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: WayForward Technologies|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Sean Engemann
I doubt even Capcom expected such an elated response from nostalgic gamers when they announced the revival of one of the greatest Disney platform games of all time, DuckTales. Despite everyone born from 1990 onwards being oblivious to the cartoon series and likely scratching their heads at us old farts for cheering Capcom on, the simple yet exhilarating gameplay from the DuckTales video game makes it more than worth remaking. And although the level design and controls remains true to the classic title, the visuals and sound have been given an incredible makeover. While listening to the theme song and watching people belt it out in a karaoke booth on the E3 show floor, I was able to test out a couple of playable levels, and I can honestly say I did not want to give up the controller to the next person in line.
I surprised myself when the cast entered the scene and I remembered all their names. Scrooge McDuck, Mrs. Beakley, Launchpad McQuack, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and even sweet little Webby are all present and accounted for, although the remastered version now comes with fully voiced dialogue, even including some of the original voice actors from the cartoon series. And the humorous script is not confined to a story bridge between levels. As objectives are met and checkpoints reached, Scrooge will stop to scold Launchpad for his incompetence, and get a scolding himself from Mrs. Beakley for not taking better care of himself.
Getting into the action, Scrooge’s trusty cane once again helps him tackle obstacles and take down enemies. After jumping, Scrooge can bounce on his cane like a pogo stick, which dispatches most enemies after bouncing on their noggins. Doing so also gives you an upwards boost, which at certain points let’s you access secret areas and reach lofty treasure chests. When beside a boulder, chest, or other whack-able objects, the multifunctional cane acts as a mallet, launching boulders skywards and cracking open chests. Diamonds are collected and converted into a currency score, and cakes will replenish your health. Three difficulty modes (Easy, Medium, and Hard) determine how many hearts you have. And between the clever level design and aggressive enemies, you’ll dare not play DuckTales and call it a kid’s game.
Unlike most traditional side-scrollers, DuckTales doesn’t merely take you from the left side of the board to the finish line on the right side. Instead, you climb chains and descend vines, backtracking and moving all around the compass to complete your objective. A handy map shows you which areas you’ve already visited and the general location of the objects you are seeking. This makes each board a campaign within itself, and completing a level without losing a life is immensely satisfying.
Though the timeless gameplay has gone untouched, the most praise must be given to the completely rebuilt visuals. DuckTales: Remastered looks absolutely gorgeous. The characters distinctly standout from the backdrops, possessing whimsical animations with an old-school style. The 3D backdrops are full of life and depth. Though a cartoonish design, the colors pop, even in the grim Draculesti Manor. Windows will sway with a storm raging outside, and distant statues from the Incan level increase the scope of your surroundings. Small touches like a dim aura in spooky rooms and the bobbing of the brake handle on the mine cart all stand out as you journey on. The remixed audio also sounds great. They’re all the memorable tracks from the original game but with modernized effects that sound clean and sharp.
DuckTales: Remastered will likely remain a single-player affair, though it is definitely one you can enjoy by yourself or with a few good friends who can watch and share in the nostalgia. No official release date has been confirmed, but the game is expected to be digitally available to download within the next few months. I wouldn’t mind seeing an upgrade to the mere five levels from the original, but even with the same selection, I will happily play it over and over again. I will be happier still with the return of multiple endings that change according to your accumulated wealth. Revitalized classics are alive and well in today’s cornucopia of genres, and DuckTales will be the icing on the cake.
Date: June 13, 2013