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Review: DuckTales: Remastered
Developer: Wayforward Technologies - Publisher: Capcom - Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC - Release Date: August 13, 2013 (September 11, 2013 for Xbox 360)
Concept: Give an HD shine to the classic NES DuckTales platformer that appeases fans and welcomes newcomers with open arms.
Graphics: Crisp 2D sprites look great against the colorful backdrops of the 3D worlds.
Sound: Remastered reunites the original voice cast from the show who do a fantastic job. The remixed tunes complement the updated gameplay.
Playability: Mastering Scrooge's pogo jump to the point where you're bouncing off multiple enemies without hitting the ground is fun and rewarding.
Entertainment: DuckTales: Remastered is an enjoyable, lighthearted platformer for newcomers of all ages. Longtime fans of the show will get an absolute kick out of this tribute to one of the best cartoons of the 80's.
Replay Value: Moderate
The Wii U Difference
Obviously, being on Wii U means this version of DuckTales lacks achievements/trophies which may turn-off gamers hooked on improving their gamer scores. The Wii U version can be played entirely on the gamepad, which is great if you have to fight for TV rights or if you'd rather enjoy the game on a tabletop or laying down on the couch.
A Fun and Nostalgia-fueled Return Trip to Duckberg
DuckTales was one of my favorite cartoon shows as a kid, and I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when I heard the classic NES title based on the exploits of Scrooge McDuck and his three grand-nephews was getting an HD update. Even more promising was that Wayforward, a studio with a knack for creating quality revivals of dormant franchises (BloodRayne: Betrayal, Double Dragon Neon), was at the helm. Everything came together wonderfully, as DuckTales: Remastered is a great love letter to one of Disney's most beloved series.
Six levels are available for players to visit in any order they choose. Levels are varied and interesting, from a creepy mansion in the heart of Transylvania, to the snow capped Himalayas, to the lush Amazon. Areas feature a Metroid-esque layout with branching paths and multiple tiers, though they're not as massive as Nintendo's galactic platformer. Players are usually tasked with scouring the area in search of multiple objects such as ancient coins or rescuing each of Scrooge's mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Scrooge lays the smack-er-quackdown (couldn't resist) by bouncing on enemies, using his cane as a pogo stick. It's a simple mechanic on the surface, but mastering nuances such as a pogo jump's momentum and falling speed is important. There's an easy learning curve, however, and a little practice will turn you into a pogo master before you know it. Gameplay doesn't evolve much past bouncing on everything poorer than you, but hitting four or five baddies in succession without touching the ground never fails to satisfy.
As a remake of an NES title, some of the hardcore difficulty of that era remains here. You're awarded three lives at the beginning of each stage. Lose them all and you start the level fresh, meaning you'll have to explore everywhere and collect everything all over again. This probably won't ruffle the feathers of many veteran gamers, but younger players weaned on constant saves and checkpoints may quickly grow frustrated. While not the toughest platformer out there, DuckTales has it's fair share of nerve-racking moments, especially during the final stage. Even I found myself occasionally cursing at having to start an entire stage over again, and I'm an old school gamer.
DuckTales isn't the most substantial or lengthy platformer, but the high nostalgia level make up for it. Whether it's laughing at Scrooge berating Launchpad McQuack for his constant bumbling, watching Fenton transform into Gizmoduck or gleefully diving into Scrooge's money bin, it was impossible for the DuckTales fan in me to stop smiling. Thankfully, the fun memories are backed up with solid design. It doesn't matter if you've only heard of Scrooge McDuck or can recite the theme song in your sleep, DuckTales: Remastered is a skillfully crafted adventure that anyone can enjoy.