previews\ Mar 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

PAX East 2013 preview: DuckTales Remastered hands-on

ducktales remastered

You needn’t look further than the crowd at Capcom’s PAX East panel to know that DuckTales is just one of those games. The uproarious cheers and impromptu DuckTales theme song sing-a-long indicated that Capcom has made the right move by bringing back this beloved NES platformer. The remastered version of the game, developed by the 2D design wizards at WayForward, brought on a ton of smiles and managed to out-hype every other announcement at Capcom’s panel.

I’ve already heard it countless times throughout PAX: “DuckTales is my favorite NES game ever.” There’s a lot of love for this game, but I don’t think anyone saw this announcement coming. That said, this seems quite a bit more ambitious than the typical re-release. DuckTales Remastered earns its name, with lovingly crafted sprites for Scrooge and gang, and fresh 3D backdrops.

The game features a remastered soundtrack by Jay Kaufman, the composer at WayForward responsible for the excellent Double Dragon Neon soundtrack. On top of that, Capcom has worked close with Disney to bring back all the original voices for a fully-voiced storyline.

Ducktales Remastered

While the game preserves the vast majority of the NES original’s gameplay and level design, it isn’t afraid to update things where appropriate. A mine cart section in the demo I played, for example, is much smoother than the one in the original game. It feels like a realization of the idea the original game may have had, rather than a pure departure. Most of the gameplay is intact, though. From what I played, DuckTales carries that undeniable 8-bit charm through its fancy, new graphics and animation.

Along with gameplay tweaks, WayForward has added a few new areas, too. A tutorial zone will presumably teach the tricks players used to check the manual for. Along with that, there's a museum, most likely containing unlockables (thought that’s pure speculation on my part), and Scrooge’s money bin, which will give you the chance to swim around in a giant pile of money just like the original cartoon.

The remastered backgrounds also take a page or two from the cartoon. They’re a lot more depth and detail than the original game, while still remaining entirely old school. Honestly, for a game that came out of nowhere, based on an NES game from 1990, it’s looking and playing pretty sharp.

Ducktales Remastered

Pogo’ing around as Scrooge is still a lot of fun after all this time. Attacking enemies with a well-timed landing is still satisfying. Even the game’s various secrets had me scrounging the environment in my brief playtime.

The bottom line, it’s totally crazy that this game is getting such a glorious revival. WayForward has done an amazing visual overhaul of the game, and Capcom should be commended for digging so deeply into the past. The game will be released this Summer on Wii U, PSN, and XBLA for $14.99.

Now I guess I can start asking for a Chip ‘n Dales Rescue Rangers revival.

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About The Author
Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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