Scrooge McDuck is back with the latest HD remake DuckTales. That’s right, the original NES classic has been revitalised and energised for the 21st century. So how does it hold up today and will DuckTales faithful find it worthy of its modern day price tag?
The original DuckTales was released in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1989 and was based on the Disney TV series. The games story was simple; Scrooge McDuck travels the world in search of treasure to add to his already wealthy collection. You play as Scrooge McDuck and you explore the five worlds that are available, armed with nothing but your cane as a weapon. Each of the worlds can also be visited in any order that you wish. DuckTales is essentially a platforming title at heart and is very well laid out and was a top selling title back on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Fast forward to today, and WayForward has taken the much loved original DuckTales and has given it the 21st century treatment by remastering it in High Definition, improved sound and modern day achievements. However, what you will soon find if you’ve played the original is that DuckTales Remastered is essentially, DuckTales with better graphics, or is there more here than meets the eye?
Gameplay wise DuckTales retains all of the original ideas, layout and more. For example, there are many hidden paths to secret areas and a wealth of secret treasures to find. You can choose to run as fast as you can through the levels or search high and low till you obtain every item and collectible before moving on. Each play style will reward you with multiple endings which provide an incentive to revisit the game more often. One new addition to the game is the notifications that you receive while playing, for example, each time you find a special coin you have to listen to Scrooge McDuck explain the significance of it. In fact, he spends just as much time talking to you as you do playing the game and within the first 30 minutes it became so frustrating and annoying that I stopped caring about the story and what he had to say as I continually paused and selected “skip cut scene” instead. It’s certainly very overbearing and really dumbs the game down. The intro and first few moments are ample enough and personally I found the over bearing tutorial and commentary too much to handle.
Scrooge McDuck as previously mentioned only has his cane to protect himself from the onslaught of enemies he encounters. Scrooge can swing his cane to send large rocks hurling towards enemies or towards walls to give Scrooge more leverage when he needs to jump to a higher platform. Scrooge can also press the X button while in the air to essentially mount his cane and he comes smashing down on anything in sight. This is your primary attack ability and you’ll soon find Scrooge bouncing all over the place on enemies, treasure chests and more.
So far, the majority of the game is identical to the original, from enemies to even treasure locations, map layouts etc., there all the same. The only real change that I saw was the reworked boss battles which have been remastered and are now more challenging, but that’s essentially it. Other small changes include difficulty levels, earning achievements, unlocking art work, music and more. It’s a shame that more levels were not added, or extended to provide further value.
Graphics and Sound
One of the great changes is of course the graphical upgrade from an 8 bit system to full 1080p high definition. The colours are bright and the game is silky smooth. You can certainly tell that time and effort was put into the presentation of the game and it clearly shows. The sound is remastered also with the original voice actor Alan Young reprising his role as Scrooge’s voice which just gives the game that certain authenticity as the original.
When DuckTales was announced as a HD Remake fans rejoiced and so they should as DuckTales remastered is a fantastic title worthy of its small price tag on Xbox Live. Fans of the original will be pleased to have a modern day version of their favourite classic title, however some may be disappointed. It would have been nice to perhaps expand on the formula by offering more levels or expanding on the current ones, or perhaps hiding more secret items around the place. New gamers may find DuckTales lacking in many areas and quite linear as well. Personally I feel that DuckTales remastered is more suited to fans of the original title who will appreciate the type of game that it is. It’s a worthy port, but doesn’t stack up in terms of value for modern gamers.