Scrooge McDuck and his pals return to the small screen. But is that a good thing?
Amid all the furore surrounding the next generation of consoles, you could have been forgiven for forgetting about the Duck Tales revival. I imagine younger gamers had a quizzical look on their grubby little faces, wondering what all the fuss was about but for the older, more grizzled amongst us, it no doubt stirred fond memories of the cult cartoon that was a televisual treat back in the late 1980s. The subsequent move to the NES and then the Game Boy ensured Scrooge McDuck and his grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie cemented their places in video game history.
Developed by Capcom, it became a firm fan favourite and garnered extremely positive reviews. Now, nearly 25 years on and DuckTales Remastered is available.
So here we are, a side scrolling platform game where bouncing on baddies’ heads and collecting gems is the order of the day. Like all games of its ilk, it’s fairly repetitive, with levels completed through trial and error rather than sheer skill, and enemies respawning the minute you wander to the next screen. Mis-time a jump or clip an enemy thanks to the dodgy collision detection and you’ll shed some health, eventually dying and having to restart a few screens away. Don’t worry though, you’ll discover plenty of ice cream and cake that will help to prolong your life a little.
"The character animations are charming and the backgrounds are sufficiently detailed. Equally, the voice acting is faithful to the old show. "
On tougher difficulties, it can be massively frustrating but at least that means it’s faithful to the 8-bit original. After navigating the shortish levels and perhaps collecting an object or two, you’ll come face to face with a big boss that is generally easy to conquer thanks to their formulaic attacks. There are some hidden passageways and treasures on each level so ensure you check everywhere and explore. The more treasures and money you accrue, the more bonuses you’ll unlock in the form of characters, concept art and music.
Visually, everything’s been given a nice modern polish and the graphics and crisp and sharp, with a pseudo 3D feel to them. The character animations are charming and the backgrounds are sufficiently detailed. Equally, the voice acting is faithful to the old show. There are a few too many cutscenes for my liking but fortunately, these are all skippable.
Given the fact that none of the levels or bosses are particularly taxing, the game really won’t take too long to complete. After an initial tutorial level, you get to choose from any of the five main missions. These cover pretty much every stereotypical side-scrolling level of yesteryear: The Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, The Himalayas and The Moon. Complete these and there’s a trip to Mount Vesuvius and a hugely irritating final boss battle. And that’s it.
"It’s a decent enough game but I’m not quite sure who would buy this. Those seeking a trip down memory lane will quickly realise Duck Tales is fairly dated in feel."
It’s certainly faithful to the old TV series – and between levels you can even choose to dive into your vault and swim about in your riches, which is another nostalgic nod to the cartoon. During your quest you’ll stumble upon both friends and foe, including Magica, Fenton, Bubba, Webby, Gyro, Launchpad, Mrs Beakley and those infernal Beagle Boys. And then there’s an appearance of your arch rival, Flintheart Glomgold – the world’s second richest duck – who is after Scrooge’s sacred “Number One Dime” – the first dime he ever earned.
It’s a decent enough game but I’m not quite sure who would buy this. Those seeking a trip down memory lane will quickly realise Duck Tales is fairly dated in feel. A competent gamer will squeeze out only a couple of hours’ gameplay at most. Younger players will most likely find such classic platforming and the bosses frustrating and tricky.
At the princely sum of £11.99 for PC (reviewed here), Duck Tales Remastered is fairly expensive considering the brief playtime and limited replayability. As an aside, it’s also a bit weird that ducks don’t appear to like water in this game, and getting your feet wet means instant death! Still, it’s fun while it lasts and great for fans.
Nostalgia is certainly making a comeback, with Duck Tales Remastered leading the return of classics such as Castle of Illusion, Flashback, Superfrog and The Chaos Engine. Personally, I’ve got my fingers crossed that Quackshot is next on the comeback list!
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Visuals look great and it’s got the feel of the NES original with the voices and characters many older gamers will instantly recognise
There are very few levels to play through and it’s frustrating on the harder difficulties. Controlling your pogo attack via keyboard can be tricky. Expensive for the content on offer
Ducktales Remastered will only appeal to those seeking a trip down memory lane.