If you read my preview of DuckTales Remastered last week, you may well have gathered that I was quite excited about the prospect of getting my hands on the HD re-imagining of the classic 1990’s platformer, brought to you by Wayforward and Capcom. Would it deliver on it’s promise of tales of derring-do, bad and good luck tales and the odd “a-whoo-hoo” thrown in for good measure. Well, this week I got the chance to find out as I got to grips with the PC version of the game.
Right from the offset, nostalgia was kicked into overdrive as the remastered original music came blasting from my laptop speakers. The opening sequence, leading into the tutorial level, was gloriously shiny and new, while retaining the charm of the original game. Beautifully drawn and animated 2D sprites, fantastic voice acting, it’s all there and it makes you feel good like DuckTales should.
After the tutorial level, ol’ Scrooge fires up his supercomputer, which is your menu to choose one of the five main levels. I jumped straight into the Amazon. The levels are exactly as much fun as I remember, the perfect mix of “wow, look at that” and “OH GOD DAMN YOU” that a 90’s platformer ought to inspire. There are some moments where the mix of 2D sprites and 3D animation is a little jarring. It feels incongruous somehow, but overall the game looks beautiful and it plays beautifully too.
I found myself missing my controller from time to time, but that’s a personal choice, not a game issue. Just to note, DuckTales Remastered does support gamepads, it just happens that I don’t have one. The controls are simple though, cursors to move around, Z for attack, space for jump. Bog standard platform controls which respond well. Scrooge hops about from ledge to ledge pretty nimbly for an old timer. If you hold Z when jumping, you activate his pogo move which lets you move across hazardous terrain and of course, bounce onto enemy heads, crushing them. After a few teething troubles where I got used to gaming with a keyboard for the first time in a long while, I has soon mastered the ways of the McDuck.
Back to the supercomputer and one slight irritation is that levels are grayed out as they are completed, meaning that you can’t go back to a level and replay to pick up any treasure you might have missed. You can easily start a new game, but it’s a shame that there’s no option to revisit levels for mop up.
Exiting the game, you find yourself in Scrooge’s office. If you head over to the vault, you can do what many of us have dreamed of at some point in our lives, swim in a big pile of money. All of this lovely loot that you’ve collected on your travels can be spent on extras, such as concept art, music and art from the original TV show. It gives you a reason to keep diving back into the game and pulling as much treasure as you can, although given that a full playthrough of the game is, on average, about five hours, you’re going to have to go through it a fair number of times to unlock everything. It all depends how much you want it.
On the subject of unlockables, there’s a lot of chatter on the forums and social media channels asking for Steam trading cards in DuckTales Remastered. We’ve scouted around and as of yet, there’s no official word on this. They would be mad not to add trading cards in our opinion as there’s a lot of scope for some good ones and a lot of people want them. Time will tell.
To sum up, DuckTales Remastered is an absolute gem, updated retro gaming at it’s best. If you remember the original fondly, you’ll love what they’ve done with it, if you’ve never played the original, you’re in for a treat. The music, whilst superb, might eventually drive you mad and the inability to replay levels once completed is a real shame, but these are minor issues in an otherwise brilliant bit of nostalgic joy.
DuckTales Remastered will be available on PSN, Nintendo eShop and Steam from August 13th, 2013 and launches on Xbox Live Arcade on September 11th. A retail version for PS3 launches on August 20th, which includes a game code and collectors pin.