Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: DuckTales Remastered

DuckTales Remastered
Wii U eShop, Steam, PSN, XBLA
Price: AU$19.50 and up
I was going to review Tales of Xillia today, but this got in the way. The retro gamer in me demanded I buy and play this while the reviewer in me wanted something easier to review than a JRPG. I will get to my Tales of Xillia review soon but you know what they say, "Life is like a hurricane." Woo-ooh!

If you are a little young, DuckTales was an 80's cartoon from Disney before they produced all those pathetically crappy live action TV comedies that they spend too much money on. In 1989 a game for an old gaming console called the Nintendo Entertainment System(made by Mattel, the same guys who made Barbie dolls) based on the cartoon came out that gamers still praise today. Flash forward to today and WayForward, Capcom and Disney have revived the game to fit into modern gaming with a HD coat of paint, redesigned levels and nerfed lower difficulties for greenhorns to get used to it. They also added a map in the pause menu too, though not really needed in my opinion.

This HD remake of the NES DuckTales has now adapted a story to a game with a vague plot(Hey Nintendo, take notes from the guys behind this game). Basically Scrooge Mc Duck's money bin gets attacked by the Beagle Boys(a family of thieves) and after thwarting their assault, finds a treasure map that leads to 5 rare treasures. The duck pensioner has nothing better to do so he goes out to hunt them with his nephews(Huey, Dewey and Louie), Launchpad Mc Quack(his pilot) and other members of the DuckTales cast.

The game is a classic 2D platformer... duh. It's a golden age game! Well the plays like a Megaman game and the original was actually made by Megaman team members. It's now been given a HD 2.5D makeover and cutscenes are now added even in the stages themselves. Scrooge uses a cane to defeat enemies by whacking blocks or rocks into them or pogo jump on their heads and pogo jumping can also be used to jump to higher platforms too.

The game follows a non linear path with a level select screen for the 5 main stages but also features 2 new levels that serves as a tutorial for newcomers and a new final level to replace retreading through the Transylvania stage. The 5 main stages(Amazon, Transylvania, African mines, Himalayas and the Moon) all feature item hunting to progress, a boss fight and tons of loot to nab.

Veterans will be glad to know that the controls feel just right and Hard difficulty comes close to the brutal NES difficulty we know and love and removes the map.. If you beat Hard mode you'll unlock an Extreme mode designed more for us and it's definitely worth it. You can also toggle between pogo settings to have it old school or holding a button but I welcomed the one button approach.

The major differences between this version and the original NES version are the 2 new levels, redesigned classic levels, the story cutscenes that make it feel like a lost episode of the cartoon, extra hearts in the normal and easy difficulty and new boss patterns. None of these are deal breakers to retro fans wanting to relive their childhood.

To complement the game, a gallery has been added that's filled with artwork and even the music from this and the original game are their to enjoy. All the money you collect in the game can be used in the gallery to unlock all those goodies and encourages replaying the game to see all the gallery has to offer. It's like a virtual artbook and soundtrack CD!

Visuals in the game will be a mixed bag to some. The 2D graphics look magnificent, but cutscenes don't have the sprites mouths move. The 3D graphics on the other hand look like they came out of Kingdom Hearts on the PS2. Personally I liked both the 2D and 3D graphics and I feel they work well together. The music is tantalising to the ears and the sounds and voice acting are perfect. Yes, the 8-Bit music tracks have been recomposed and keep the original melodies while the surviving cast of the original cartoon bring the classic characters back to life.

The Wii U version of the game brings off TV play for when you have to share your TV or continue on the toilet and the touchscreen can be used for the map instead of pausing. Playing on a Nintendo console will feel better to some retro gamers too and the gamepad feels better to play this with than a PS3 or Xbox 360 controller... at least to me it did.

There's such a great satisfaction to finally be able to dive into the money bin and swim around after all these years. The game retains it's retro roots while making small tweaks to make it more accessible to newcomers. When you stuff up in the game you feel like it's your fault and not the games which is a nice change from more modern glitch fill beta version games we pay full retail for. It's a cheap game well worth the price, heck I'd pay double for a physical retail copy! Whether you're seeking nostalgia or desiring a well done platformer, DuckTales Remastered won't disappoint despite what Gamespot says. Go buy it and lets hope DuckTales 2 gets remastered too!

Score 5/5

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