If you’re not familiar with the NES version of the game, you play as Scrooge McDuck, traveling around the world to retrieve five treasures to become “the richest duck in the world.” (Why not just “the richest… animal/being/whatever in the world?” Why only limited to a duck?) That’s it. Nothing else to add to the story.
The Remastered version expands on this. Actually, it explains more of the story. In this version, your money vault is being taken over by the Beagle Boys and, in the process, your nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie have been captured. So not only do you have to recover the money, but also save your nephews as well (Scrooge does have a momentary lapse of priorities after rescuing Dewey). After defeating the final Beagle Boy, Scrooge discovers a map behind a painting that leads to five valuable treasures spread across five “real-world” locations. If you’ve never seen the show, Scrooge may be the good guy, but his greed motivates him to travel all over the world, often at the expense of his loved ones.
Each location presents a problem that forces Scrooge to deviate from his main objective; such as rescuing his nephews (again) in Transylvania (why did he even bring them in the first place?), and recovering plane parts in the Himalayas. In case you’re wondering, those problems were never in the original game.
After recovering the five treasures you’ll find out the real reason why Scrooge went out. However, prepare yourself for moments of rage in the final chapters of the game.
The graphics and sound have both received obvious upgrades with this remastering. The characters were hand-drawn, true to the original series, but the background is in CGI, making the game much more presentable. Some of the sounds from the 8-bit era remain, such as Scrooge’s pogo jump and attack. In fact, when you complete the game, you have the option of playing the game with the 8-bit theme, but strangely enough, not the 8-bit graphics. As nice as the 8-bit theme is, it doesn’t seem to fit in with the HD graphics, which, as a result, have made the 8-bit graphics much more necessary for that purpose.
Speaking of themes and music, the orchestration sounds very nice. All the fears of butchering the soundtrack, especially the Moon theme, have been put to rest with their “HD” renditions. In fact, it made some of the boss battles even more exciting (which will be explained in the Gameplay section).
The biggest addition to the sound department are the voice actors. Most have returned from the original series to provide their voices once again, including the now 94-year-old Alan Young, reprising his role as Scrooge McDuck. Even at that age, he’s still got it.
The gameplay from the original game basically remains the same. You jump, golf-swing rocks, stones, etc. to defeat your enemies, pogo jump on others, and collect diamonds as treasure and food for health. Classic platforming formula.
What has changed?
As mentioned in the story section, each stage presents a “problem” that you encounter along the way. For example, in Transylvania, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are kidnapped, so you’re tasked with finding them in order to advance the story. For each nephew you rescue you’re rewarded with a clue that will help you advance to the boss; you’ll need three of them that are stashed in your “Inventory” on the pause menu.
Your map is also displayed there. The Wii U version of the game allows you to play either on the TV screen or on the Wii U control pad. The Wii U control pad can also be used as the map itself, removing the need to pause the game to look at it. This can be helpful, but it can also be distracting, since you have to look up and down constantly to find out where you’re at. How the map is displayed also depends on the difficulty level you chose.
In the original game, you collect treasure and diamonds to increase your chances of having the best ending (which is at $10 million). In this version, it can be used to buy unlockable extras such as character and background designs, music, TV art, etc. While this is a nice feature it does become pointless once all the extras have been unlocked.
The cut scenes have also changed. Each part of the stage has a cut scene that will either advance the story or just hear Scrooge speak his own thoughts. It’s a nice added feature, making the game look modern and feel close to the TV show, but sometimes it can be prolonged and disrupt the flow of the game, like the nephews lamenting about Webby in Transylvania.
The most drastic change are the boss fights. In the original version, each boss had their own unique, but limited, fighting techniques. For example, the Incan Statue from the original game can only jump, and it took five hits to defeat it. In the remastered version, the Incan Statue is much bigger. Not only does it jump, but it uses the walls, the ceiling, and the floor to defeat you. Plus, it takes 9-12 hits to defeat it and the enhanced music makes it much more exciting. Other bosses have their own improvements as well.
While the game may appeal to older gamers that grew up with the original DuckTales, newcomers not accustomed to this type of play may become easily frustrated. Fortunately there is a save state, but you have to beat the stage first in order for that to happen.
Finally, the price tag of $15 might be a bit too steep for novices. Steam may sell it at a huge discount during the holidays, just make sure you have that Xbox 360 Controller for Windows handy.
[gameinfo title="Game Info" game_name="DuckTales: Remastered" developers="WayForward Technologies" publishers="Capcom" platforms="Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC (Steam)" genres="platform release_date="August 13, 2013 for Wii U, PS3, and Steam; September 11th, 2013 for Xbox 360"]
DuckTales: Remastered remains faithful to the classic game that older gamers grew up with, but it might frustrate novices that didn’t. Thankfully, there is a save state to decrease the frustration level, though you’d have to beat the stage first for that to happen. However, the gameplay, along with enhanced graphics and audio (with the original voice actors) makes the game worth playing, although the cut scenes might be a bit too long and $15 a bit steep.