DuckTales Remastered [App o the Mornin']

I’m too old to have any nostalgic memories of the classic DuckTales game, originally released in 1989 as a tie-in to a popular TV show. My children and I are, however, huge fans and collectors of Disney comics in general, and Duck comics in particular. The Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck books from artists/writers Carl Barks and Don Rosa are some of the best comics ever published, and the DuckTales show and game both used a lot of that material to great effect.

The original DuckTales game has become something of a legend. It may have started life as just another TV tie-in product, but once Capcom got involved with the actual production, it became something more. The Mega Man team took over, and created one of the most beloved and fondly remembered platform games on the NES.

Now Capcom has revisited their classic in DuckTales Remastered (PC/Xbox/PS3/WiiU: $15), a completely faithful update of the original. The five levels from 1989 have been recreated, and two new levels added. These levels are expanded, however, with more areas, more secrets, and different patterns in the way enemies (particularly) boss appear.

The biggest change is in the production. The old 8-bit visuals have been updated to lush, colorful, handpainted graphics that really do the game and its multiple worlds justice. It uses 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds to add depth to each environment. For those who want some of that old retro feel, there’s a toggle to switch back and forth between the new and the old visuals. New cut scenes have been added with full voice support, including the great Alan Young (now 93 years old and best remembered as Wilbur on Mr. Ed), the only man to ever voice Scrooge McDuck.

The gameplay is top-notch. It would be easiest to just say it’s a straight platformer, with lots of jumping and fighting and careful timing, but it’s more than that. Scrooge’s cane can be either a weapon for bashing enemies or a pogo stick for reaching high places. Using your cane to bouncing across the heads of a series of Beagle Boys, knocking them out without ever touching the ground, it just one of those classic game moments resurrected by DuckTales Remastered. It’s a bit sure, but loads of fun.

Content: Rated E for Everyone. Lots of bouncing on enemies and other genial low-level cartoon violence.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    I was a Sega kid growing up (it explains a lot, I know) so I missed out on the original NES game, but I was a HUGE fan of the cartoon when it was originally on so the treat for me with this remastered version (apart from WayForward’s 2D animation which is not never top notch) was the reunited voice cast and the loads upon loads of new dialog. I know a lot of reviewers really hated all the extra added story and cutscenes but for me that was the best part.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Me too. I liked the extra stuff. Retro snobs are wieners.

    Scrooge McDuck is probably my favorite comic book character.

  • victor

    He’s definitely in my top 3, too. So many fond memories as a kid of reading the various copies of the Donald Duck comic books they had in the Bill Knapp’s waiting room. Carl Barks + chicken fricassee is comfort food for body + soul.

  • Linebyline

    I’m working my way through this game now. It’s quite fun, even if the hi-res graphics make you forget that the physics and controls are still those of an 8-bit game. Sometimes I expect the movements to be a little more fluid, and I find it easy to get hit by enemies or fall down holes for that reason. The way Scrooge’s cane swing sends stuff flying only at a perfect 45-degree angle also feels unnatural. It’s not bad once you get used to it, though. Just takes a minute or two of playing.

    Actually, speaking of the cane swing, can I offer a minor correction? You can’t actually hit enemies with it. You can only use it to smack obstacles, most of which slide along the ground until they reach an edge, at which point they drop straight down. Some obstacles can be sent airborne at the aforementioned 45-degree angle. But you can only perform the move at all when you’re pressed up against something. Trying that with an enemy has…unpleasant results. (The animation for Scrooge smacking a wall or something else that can’t be moved is funny enough–to me, at least–that I sometimes smack walls just to see it.)

    I have a fair amount of nostalgia for the cartoon. I didn’t learn it was based on comics until just a few years ago. I never played the original NES game but I did have the Game Boy adaptation. That was a lot of fun, and I remember I actually managed to beat it a few times even without a save file. (Could I beat Remastered in one sitting? Heck no.) Ah, good times, good times.

    Anyone up for a sequel, or better yet, a Darkwing Duck game? You can never have too many side-scrolling platformers (as long as they’re, you know, good.) Plus, ducks!