I can describe this title in five words: ‘This game is my childhood.’ I think that’s worth repeating in all caps. THIS GAME IS MY CHILDHOOD. Click here to read a rather gushy review of this remake to one of my favorite NES games based on a fantastic Disney TV cartoon (PS3 version reviewed here).
But first, a bit of background history. I’m a child of the 80’s, and many of the cartoons that I watched as a kid were just 30 minute commercials for whatever toy was popular at the time. I ate that up with some properties, like Transformers, but it didn’t take very long for even me to get sick of all of it. I had pretty much given up hope for all new cartoons, which is surprising for any kid to do, especially me. So when Disney announced a new TV cartoon based on the Carl Barks comics from the 50’s starring Uncle Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Donald Duck, I wasn’t much interested. They were going to show a five episode mini movie of DuckTales on a Sunday before the cartoon aired, but I wasn’t planning on seeing it. But as fate would have it, on that Sunday I was extremely sick and couldn’t get out of bed. My mom rolled the TV into my room so I could use it. With nothing better to do, I watched the premiere of DuckTales in my bed and was pleasantly surprised. Here, at the end of the 80’s, was a cartoon NOT based on a toy line, but instead a great cartoon with humor, adventure, and great storytelling and writing, and was the starting point for many fantastic Disney TV cartoons to come. Needless to say I was hooked and watched DuckTales every day after school after that.
Just like now, most kids’ licensed games back then were not very good. However, when Capcom got the rights to publish Disney games on the NES, they crafted some fantastic and memorable adventures based on Disney properties. One of their most favorite was DuckTales. I had it, of course, and played it to death. Over the years, many have expressed their fond memories of the NES game, and now Capcom is set to please a lot of fans with a remake of the NES classic, developed by the great WayForward.
Just as in the original, you play as Scrooge McDuck as you tromp around 2-D platforming areas searching for treasure and battling bosses. Similar to Capcom’s classic Mega Man titles, you can choose which stage to tackle first. Scrooge uses his cane as a pogo stick to jump higher and attack enemies, and he can also use it like a golf club to swat objects away.
WayForward made some loving improvements and additions to this game. Hand-drawn sprites, excellent remixed tunes (you can unlock the 8-bit music after you beat the game), as well as two new levels that still fit with the rest of the game. About 90 percent of the levels are exactly how they were from the NES game, but they added and improved parts of the levels to make them play smoother. I think even the most die-hard purists wouldn’t mind what they did. Bosses also have new attacks to keep you on your toes. You can also use the money you’ve earned to buy artwork and music in the gallery, as well as go for a swim in Scrooge’s money bin (a bit useless, but something everyone has wanted to do at some point or another). Best of all, the game features fully voiced characters by most of the voice actors from the cast of the original TV show (the ones that are still around anyway). It’s a DuckTales fan’s dream come true, as the extra touches make this game feel like episodes of the TV cartoon.
Of course, the remastered game isn’t without problems, as minor as they may be. It’s a bit pricey for such a short game, but then, the NES game was short and easy, too, as it was meant for kids. Some of the fully voiced cutscenes and added objectives in the levels kind of bog the game down, and you can’t just blast through the game like you could on the NES. But luckily you can skip the cutscenes so it’s not much of a problem. It would’ve also been nice if they had included the original NES game so you can compare the two easily. Other than that, though, this is a fun and loving tribute to a classic game and cartoon, and I highly recommend you download it. I would love to see Capcom have WayForward remake some of their other Disney game classics, like Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers!
DuckTales: Remastered is rated E with a ESRB descriptor of Mild Cartoon Violence. You can hit enemies with your pogo jump, but they just jump off the screen when defeated. With multiple difficulty levels, it shouldn’t be too frustrating for kids, but a bit of reading is required at the beginning tutorial level. I loved the NES game as a kid, so I think kids today would like this remake as well. If your kids aren’t familiar with DuckTales, I recommend tracking down the DVD sets of the episodes. You can find them pretty cheap on Amazon. Show your kids a good cartoon for a change that’s much better than some of the dreck that’s out there now!