The lights are on
Note: The following review is based on the Wii U iteration of DuckTales: Remastered.
Say the word DuckTales, and it brings back many fond memories of childhood. Uncle Scrooge and the gang appeared in the famous animated series, comics, an often-overlooked theatrical film, and a few Nintendo games--two on the NES and Game Boy, to be exact. There was also one, called The Quest for Gold, that appeared on Commodore 64, but that's not as fondly remembered as the Capcom games.
Anyways, the original DuckTales game for the Nintendo Entertainment System has been highly regarded over the years. I mean, it's an incredible game! The pogo-cane mechanics, the ability to hit rocks, bricks and barrels like a golf ball to get where you need to go, it was a fun move-set to work with. Sure, the game was difficult, but it was a fun kind of difficult that made you want to go back for more.
So after almost 24 years since its original release in November of 1989, Capcom and WayForward Games have decided to unleash upon us a graphical remake of the original Nintendo game. But giving players new graphics to work with simply wasn't enough for the crew; also, DuckTales Remastered features a narrative that brings back the original DuckTales voice-over cast, updated music, new areas for players to explore within the remade levels, and tweaked game mechanics that make the game either easier or harder depending on how skilled you are at the original DuckTales.
For example, the boss battles are given a considerable change; battling the Yeti in the Himalayas level felt a little more balanced, while retaining the challenge that the original game had. These changes I found to actually be a little more helpful--in the original game I would have by now probably lost my patience.
Like the original, players can choose whatever level they'd like to play next. You don't have to start with the Amazon, and you don't have to make the Moon your last level. Upon completing the main game, you don't have to start a new game, either. You can simply go back and replay levels again to earn more money. The money that you earn in each level can be used to purchase unlockable concept art, sketches, music and more.
I'm happy to say the remastered edition plays just as fluently as the original, if not more so. More buttons allows more freedom, so I was able to use Y and A for the Pogo-Cane or for hitting objects. I'm sure most gamers at this point are more used to just using the analog stick for movement, I found myself opting for the D-Pad because of the level of precision it offers when it comes to platforming titles. The Wii U GamePad allows the entire game to be played Off-TV by default, and it looks and sounds just as great as it does on the TV.
The whole package culminates to a great experience... except for one lacking thing that sticks out like a sore thumb by the time I cleared the game; there's a lack of replay value. Aside from going back to each level to earn all the money to unlock the extras, I can't think of much more reason to go back to it once I finish that. Maybe other gamers will feel differently about that, but I expected a little more out of this for some reason.
Despite that lack of replay value, DuckTales Remastered is a terrific experience for anyone who grew up with the classic cartoons or the original NES game. For those who never played the original, it's worth a try. And for those who never grew up with either but still have that itching for a skilled platforming title, I still recommend this. It'll kick your arse, and that's no joke.
DuckTales: Remastered is now available for PC, PS3 and Wii U, with an Xbox 360 release coming September 11th.
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