Review: Not pony tales or cotton tales, just DuckTales! Wooo-ooo!
Nostalgia can be a pretty tricky thing. On one hand, it's one of those overwhelming feelings you get when you experience or see something that brought you an immense amount of joy as a kid. However, nostalgia goggles can also prevent you from seeing something for what it truly is. After all, not everything that you remember from when you were 10 was as amazing as you once thought it was.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that both Capcom and Wayforward used our nostalgic fondness of a classic NES game that grabbed our hearts when we first got to pogo across the Moon with good old Scrooge. Whether it was challenging difficulty, the superb soundtrack, or just the memories of pogo-sticking a gorilla to the head, I'm sure many of you recall getting your hands on the NES classic back in the day. Does Wayforward honor its predecessor with this Remastered update?
It's important to look at DuckTales Remastered for what it is, a Remaster. Not a reboot, not really an update, but just a gorgeous re-skin of a game we only remember of being comprised of pixels. That means, for the most part, you're getting the same fantastic game, five levels and all, that you got when you first popped in that beautiful grey cartridge in 1989.
After the initial Tutorial level, which will familiarize you with Scrooge's handling, you're then free to select any of the five stages, in any order that you want. Trust me when I say the game definitely retains most of its difficulty from the original. It's meant to be punishing when you're not playing carefully. If you lose all your lives, you're sent back to the beginning of that level, no matter how far you progressed.
There are a few new additions to DuckTales Remastered that slightly set it apart from its original, and also add to the longevity of the game. Each level includes a set amount of collectibles that must be picked up before progress can be made. In the Moon level you have to pick up Gizmoduck's suit, and the Amazon level requires you to pick up eight ancient coins. In this regard, DuckTales is slightly Metroidvania in its design, since you're able to bring up the map with the press of a button, letting you know where you need to go next in order to progress.
Remastered also comes with all new cutscenes, which happen before each level, and often times during each level as well. The one main gripe I have is that they tend to break up the flow of the level, especially for those coming from playing the original. I just want to be able to hop to my next destination, without the need to pause and listen to Scrooge berate Fenton for his lack of intelligence, only to have him then change into the one-duck-army, Gizmoduck. On the flip-side, most of the cutscenes are well produced and quite entertaining if you have the patience. The explanation of how Scrooge is able to breathe on the Moon without a space suit wasn't necessarily needed, but it was amusing. Kudos Wayforward.
When you're not adventuring across the globe, you can choose to take a dive and swim around in Scrooge's vault, which isn't all that interactive, but it is satisfying. One of the newer additions to DuckTales is its unlockables. All the money you pick up in the form of various treasure in each level gets added to your overall cash amount. You can then spend this cash on various goodies like concept art, music, and even the original show's art.
Wayforward did their best to balance both the old school design that made the original DuckTales so wonderful, while also giving the game a downright gorgeous coat of paint. The environments are all handled in a 2.5D perspective, while each and every character is hand-drawn, with gorgeous animations. Even their idle animations are infused with character. Most of all, it's thanks to the stellar voice acting, coming from the original cast members like Alan Young, that not only delivers on DuckTales' authenticity, but gives each and every character on-screen its charm.
And that soundtrack, arguably one of the best things from the original, is handled perfectly with amazing results. Each level's catchy tune is remade to sound modern, and yet retains the classic melodies making each and every one instantly recognizable. While the Moon theme defies expectations, I have to give the nod to my personal favorite, the Amazon theme, which sounds magnificent in Remastered.
You can rest easy that even after you take off your Nostalgia goggles, you're left with a highly entertaining platformer that oozes personality and excellently difficult gameplay, and that's sure to make a lot of purists really happy.