With the original DuckTales having sold over a million units each for the Nintendo Entertainment System and GameBoy in September of 1989, it became Capcom’s highest-selling title on both platforms. So it makes sense that an HD version would come around eventually. But even so, after 24 years is it really something worthy of picking up again or even for the first time? We reviewed it for the Xbox 360 to let you know.
Gaming has come along way since 1989 and of course gamers have too. The latter are not focused on 2D side scrolling like they used to (sorry Sonic, Mario, Mega Man). But even with those aforementioned titles, each one has at some point received many various RPGs and numerous revamps taking them in exciting new directions. There is no doubt that Sonic and Mario are icons within their own right worldwide. This is where DuckTales’ Scrooge comes in, and we are going to find out whether or not a polished new look will help the game stand against time and an ever-growing continuously evolving demographic of gamers.
Upon turning on the game, right away it feels like its classic ’89 predecessor. The music and titles screens start off sounding like they would if you loaded up the original on your NES, then it shifts to beautiful HD visuals and music that sound like it would be heard from an orchestra at a Disney park on the streets while you and your family walk around with self-named Mickey ears and a churro.
The very first thing we noticed is that the background set visuals look great. This is seen immediately before the player takes control of Scrooge McDuck who is racing to his bank to stop the dastardly Beagle Boys from robbing what Scrooge refers to as “acres of cash” in his vault. We felt like we were watching a cartoon on a Sunday morning before taking over Scrooge and trying to save Huey (the red t-shirted nephew) from a Beagle Boy by the name of Baggy who has him concealed in a cage. Baggy Beagle is easily dispatched with the help of on-screen prompts and Scrooge awkwardly abandons the adolescent Huey in a bank full of thieving criminals to continue going after his beloved money.
Though it is true that the 2D characters and their hand-drawn design pay homage to the original and look as if they really were in a cartoon, their movements felt a little heavy which would have been the same were we playing the game on an original Nintendo console.
Not too far ahead, after utilizing Scrooge’s pogo jump to reach the next floor level in the bank, Burger Beagle has entrapped Dewey (the nephew in the blue t-shirt). Again, with a couple of well-placed pogo-jumps, Burger Beagle is easily taken out and Scrooge continues while this time leaving a relieved and safe Dewey behind.
You’ll take out a few nameless Beagle Boys along the way, all of which can be taken out with a simple pogo-jump. Then again we were playing on Easy Mode which almost seems like it would be too easy for just about anyone.
Finally, Scrooge comes across Louie, his nephew favoring green, who is also held in a cage by Bouncer Beagle. A few more Scottish words here and a couple of pogo jumps there is all that you’ll need to avoid deadly laser beams from the ceiling to release Louie and move forward.
Even on Easy mode we still took a small bit of damage, with nearly nothing to heal Scrooge until the very end of the level. Of course if you are playing on Easy, you probably wont need it anyway.
Big Time Beagle awaits Scrooge at the end in his office where a final boss fight takes place. Even on Easy this can be a little tricky due to the constant movements of Big Time. Again with the pogo-jumps and a few well-placed cane swings, Big Time is taken down and the game opens up for more of the same antics, same gameplay and very similar level designs.
Okay, let us recap.
The game plays remarkably like the original with high-definition visuals and updated character sprites. The audio is not too bad, but with characters not moving their mouths at all during dialogue exchanges, it doesn’t quite feel authentic, something only hardcore gamers looking to pick up a few spare Gamer Points should worry about. It feels as though young kids will likely be playing this title, but probably wont notice or even care.
The controls and gameplay do not change much, which is to be expected on a remastered version of something that came from 1989. The levels are what you would expect, simple and to the point, with mechanics of taking out enemies not being simpler. With a couple hours to kill, beating the whole game should be relatively painless, if you can stand the music for that long.
All things said and done, the game looks nicer than the original, plays like the original, and adds some nice dialogue from familiar Disney voice actors. Kids will get a kick out of it, but probably not for long due to its constant repetitiveness. Adults with want them to turn the volume down low or on mute, or recommend them playing something a little more entertaining to watch.
While we find that some games were great for their time, and others we just had to have redone for the modern era, DuckTales does not deliver the same excitement as it once did in the late 80s early 90s. Perhaps it was best that we reminisce what once was with DuckTales and try not to focus on an attempt to cash-in on an old classic.
With varying and more exciting titles going for less than $20, DuckTales Remastered is likely to be a game that will be overlooked and likely ignored while adults reminisce about the joy of the original of 1989.