DuckTales Remastered: By The Biggest Fans For The Biggest Fans

By Robert Ward . August 13, 2013 . 11:40pm

When it was announced that Peter Cullen was returning to voice Optimus Prime in Michael Bay’s 2007 iteration of Transformers, it was big news for fans who grew up with the infallible Autobot leader. When it was announced that Kevin Conroy was going to reprise his role as the Dark Knight in 2009′s Batman: Arkham Asylum, fans who grew up watching the 1992 Batman animated series were elated (and throwing in Mark Hamill as the Joker only made them more antsy).

 

Fast-forward to 2013, and we find that WayForward Technologies has been trusted to remaster the beloved DuckTales NES game—and 94-year-old Alan Young hopped on the chance to voice Scrooge McDuck one last time. It wasn’t just Young, though—ALL of the original voice actors for the DuckTales cartoon were onboard for DuckTales Remastered! Fans who grew up watching DuckTales were ecstatic, just as the fans who enjoyed Peter Cullen and Kevin Conroy were, and it’s the fans who grew up watching (or playing) DuckTales, I think, who are going to be the one’s most excited to play DuckTales Remastered.

 

In an interview with Siliconera, Rey Jimenez (the producer of Ducktales Remastered) mentioned that each of the five areas main areas in the game were designed to feel like an episode of the cartoon. As a huge fan of the NES version of DuckTales, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the nostalgic 8-bit sprites being replaced by hand-drawn animations. After spending just over five hours beating the game, however, I can see that it makes sense for what WayForward was trying to accomplish the new style—and It might’ve been more of a problem if they didn’t devote the core of DuckTales Remastered to this concept, but they did, and it helped craft a completely different experience.

 

The animation in Ducktales Remastered is right on par with what you’d expect from WayForward Technologies—fluid, detailed, and executed in such a way that it really did make me feel like I was in control of an episode of one of my favorite childhood T.V. shows.  Go ahead—jump in one of those carnivorous flowers in The Amazon area, and look on with awe. Oh, and it’d be foolish of me to not mention the gorgeous, hand-painted-matte-on-3D-geometry backgrounds that garnish instead of pollute the game’s environment (that one’s for you, Kaufman). Unlocking the background art in the gallery section makes these all the more admirable, too.

 

Some have already expressed their irritation towards the constant in-game banter that “interrupts” gameplay, but with the option to skip past any cinematic in a matter of seconds, not to mention my partiality towards hearing Alan Young’s sharp-tongued humor, it never detracted from the experience. Although the characters might seem unfamiliar to millennial gamers, the humor is timeless, and the puns are gold (perhaps even worthy of a place in McDuck’s Money Pit).

 

Among my favorite additions to DuckTales is the stellar remixed soundtrack by Jake Kaufman, and a story that explains why Scrooge McDuck is hunting for treasures—and an awesome, re-imagined faceoff with… well, you’ll have to discover that for yourself. I can guarantee you, though, that you’ll want to show up to the final stage’s boss with at least three lives and full health.

 

On that subject, combat itself is still reliant on Scrooge McDuck hopping around on his cane, and the controls used to utilize the cane can sometimes be finicky, but not enough to steal more than a few hearts from you. I beat the game on normal with little to no problem. Hard mode is next, followed by extreme difficulty, which I expect to beat in order to unlock all of the bonus concept art, music, and so on.

 

DuckTales wasn’t a AAA hit on the NES, and you shouldn’t expect it to be a AAA title today. The NES had obvious limitations, after all—it couldn’t use the kind of rich voice work that DuckTales Remastered brings to the table, nor could it afford to expand on the motives of Scrooge McDuck’s treasure hunting adventures. It’s in this sense that DuckTales Remastered represents the best of what the original DuckTales game could have been, while maintaining the simplicity that made the game special in the first place.

 

When you start up DuckTales Remastered, you can hear the original 8-bit title theme underneath Jake Kaufman’s brilliant remix—and I think that serves as a proper metaphor for how I experienced the game from beginning to end. The spirit of DuckTales is still there, but it’s got a new face—and a wonderful one at that. Taking something good and making it great, that’s what I’ve come to expect from the WayForward team.

 

This love letter to the olden days of gaming was made by the biggest fans DuckTales, and by people who understand what made those platformers so addictive. It’s not for everyone, but for those who want a taste of the old, I can’t help but recommend it.

 

Food For Thought:

 

1. I mentioned some time ago that I hoped Capcom would trust the blue bomber brand to WayForward, and maybe if this is successful, we can expect to see that hope become a reality! (Just think of Kaufman remaking all of Mega Man X’s music)

 

2. You can choose to play through the game with the original, 8-bit soundtrack—but only after you beat the game (on any difficulty) at least once.

 

3. Do yourself a favor, and before you select your first venue for adventure, go into McDuck’s safe. Jump from the top, and enjoy the detail put into bringing McDuck’s character to life.

 


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  • leingod

    It’s a delightful revision of one of my most fondly remembered titles from the NES era. It was short then, but it’s a little less short now with all the additions, which I am thankful for.

    Having a blast with it on PS3, but I’ll say it again: I would’ve loved to own it on Vita as well.

  • TheRealMalek

    My only regret with this title is that i can’t play it with a nes controller !

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      you kinda can with the snes pad

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    All the other reviewers complained about the cutsceens and difficulty. pffft they must have not played chip and dale rescue rangers or Dark wing duck as kids XD

    • TheRealMalek

      Too easy that’s right ?

      And for cutscene’s i think they are quite good… They know they cank skip them ? :p

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    “Just think of Kaufman remaking all of Mega Man X’s music”
    Urnnghhh so good~
    I never actually played the original (I was a genesis kid) so I’m enjoying this game greatly. I discovered food for thought #3 as well. Such a charming game this is.

  • Göran Isacson

    Only thing I’m curious about is whether I will be able to deal with the 3d backgrounds combined with the cartoon-sprites. I thought they REALLY didn’t gel in the first videos, and the vast backgrounds made the games environments seem big and empty compared to the much smaller stages of old. That aside, this really looks like it will play just like I wanted it, and sounds like a dream.

    • Brimfyre

      They don’t work that well in the first Tutorial level. It looks like Chip n’ Dale in that it makes Scrooge look like he is tiny in a big world, but in all the actual levels they work great.

      • Göran Isacson

        Oh my God that is the best description of it I’ve read so far: it really DOES make Scrooge look like he’s supertiny. If it really does look better in the actual stages that is all the rocks of my chest I could ever ask for, thanks a bunch!

    • Robgoro

      Much like the 3DS, the game looks totally different when you play it compared to when you see videos of it. Don’t let it deter you.

      • Göran Isacson

        So I saw downthreads, apparently it’s just the first stage that looks far too big and empty. Gonna check it out then!

  • Brimfyre

    Some reviews for this game have made me realize which sites to never go to again, Gamespot and Polygon being the most obvious, but even some of the other reviews have to critique the cut scenes and voice acting.

    When I played it last night, with my 19 month old son, I realized game reviews are pretty worthless. How can you critique something that is just fun to play and enjoyable as hell. My son would laugh every time Scrooge swam in the money bin, and he watched the cut scenes, completely captivated.

    And when I think of how many reviews said Alan Young was voicing this from his death bed, and how it didn’t sound like Scrooge it honestly makes me really sad thinking about him reading any of those reviews. Just because some pathetic “game journalist” wants a little attention.

    It is absolutely amazing how much the 94 year old is still able to
    channel Scrooge, in tone and characterization. It sounds like Scrooge
    and he acts like Scrooge. That’s all that matters. And hearing all the
    old voice actors, bringing back all the characters perfectly, it is an
    amazing experience.

    As many have already said, I’m not really sure what some of these reviewers were wanting or expecting as far as the cutscenes go. The dialog and jokes feel like they are right out of a lost DuckTales episode. I don’t know if they wanted something like that iPad He-Man game that constantly makes fun of the source material and breaks the 4th wall all the time. I certainly don’t want that out of my DuckTales game. This game is a love letter to the original show, the actors and staff of the show, and all the fans who actually grew up and remember the show fondly.

    I’ve already become pretty jaded about Internet video game culture, and I think Siliconera might be the last place on the Internet where it feels like a positive place to celebrate love for video games.

    Sorry for the long winded rant. It just makes my ass want to dip snuff sometimes.

    • Robgoro

      Yeah, one thing I really don’t like about today’s video game world is the competition between reviewers to review something first. In the end, what it comes down to is looking at something with your own two eyes, and determining whether or not you’ll like it. You don’t need validation from other people, let alone reviewers who are caught up in the review culture of competition, to enjoy a video game – that doesn’t make it good.

      The reviewers for DuckTales seem to be judging it by today’s standards and, I can’t say I understand what they expected. It was an NES game, and a tiny one at that. The way it was remastered brought out all of the best qualities of the game and cartoon that couldn’t be conveyed on the NES, and I was perfectly happy playing through it and listening to the dialogue.

      In fact, I’d go so far as to say I actually enjoyed it. ;)

    • Robgoro

      Also, I caught myself thinking “am I being to positive in my playtests? Does there need to be a negative side to this for the sake of balance?” the other day, and quickly realized how stupid of a thought that was. That’s the beauty of playtests – it’s not about critiquing, it’s really about the experience that you had with the game, and I love that about Siliconera.

      • TheRealMalek

        It’s nice to see a tester being true to his game experience. Too many websites are nowaday negative “to show they are good critics”.

        Keep siliconera the way it is ! I love it !

  • chocochoco

    Finicky controls and the pogo not working 1/3 of my jumps ruins the game. Terrible to play on hard. Frustrating as hell to play, to say the least.

    • Robgoro

      I had a few frustrating moments with pogo-ing as well, but I think it was because the 360 controller really don’t work well with it. You need the sharp preciseness of a solid d-pad.

  • Robgoro

    An Addendum! I’ve been reminded that DuckTales (NES) sold just about 1.63 million copies worldwide, which, in the NES days, could easily be considered a AAA title. It also helps that The Moon theme is cited constantly as one of the best songs in video game history, so perhaps me stating that this is “no AAA title” is completely incorrect.

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