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Review: Duck Tales Remastered

Can a 20-year old game still be relevant?

If you’ve been wondering why friends have left cryptic status messages about solving mysteries or rewriting history, chances are they might have been referencing lyrics from the late 1980s classic, Duck Tales. Like many gamers who were kids during that generation, I can recall fond memories running home after-school to catch the newest episode of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Tale Spin and of course, Duck Tales. Whoo-hoo!

Say what you will, but we definitely had it good compared to the things kids are into today. The funny thing about nostalgia however, especially when it comes to digital remakes is they don’t always turn out for the best and fail to offer any relevance to new audiences. Fortunately, Duck Tales: Remastered delivers a faithful translation of the original adventure, with a few additional elements tossed in to sweeten the experience for diehard fans and newcomers alike.

ScroogeMcDuck_CaneSwing2WayForward has done a remarkable job staying faithful to the original formula, while making several cosmetic upgrades which makes the entire side-scrolling adventure come to life. Admittedly, there’s often little time to kick back and admire the visuals since enemy lurks behind every corner (d-d-d-danger watch behind you), and relentlessly respawn over and over. As a kid, that never seemed to bother me much since all NES-era games were rather limited, but man, what I wouldn’t give for Scrooge to have a few more utilities tucked away in that trusty cane of his.

The greatest challenges players will face consist of avoiding spikes and bottomless pits spanning the arctic Himalayas to the Amazon jungle, eventually leading to a face-off with an end-level boss upon successfully collecting all the required items scattered throughout each area. For the most part, the controls are responsive, however there were a few situations when I’d fall to my death from the result of coming out of “pogo mode” too early. While it goes against the grain from the original design, WayForward adjusted the controls so that players can hold down on the X or B button, rather than holding down directly on the pad/analog. Contrary to varied reports on the web, the controls aren’t awful. It certainly made things a lot easier for me, especially when dealing with enemies who were upgraded with new battle patterns that left me grumbling in frustration on more than one occasion.

In an effort to make the story seem more complete, the updated edition is loaded with cut-scenes, also graced by the original voice talent from the animated series including 93-year old legend Alan Young. While this is a great treat for longtime fans like myself, the novelty quickly wore off after I struggled to get past certain stages like the Amazon level. Pretty soon, I no longer cared what Alan and company had to say, I just wanted to skip the cinematics and move on. This breaks up the flow of the game since you have to actually pause the game and select “Skip Cinematic” as opposed to just hitting a button to speed through the dialogue.

Be forewarned, Duck Tales Remastered admittedly isn’t a very extensive game, but to honest, I didn’t expect a whole lot beyond the baited achievements and other extra content such as character art and music from the show that requires more than one or two complete sessions to fully unlock. These days, this often ends up being a hard sell for players who’ve grown accustomed to DLC. Duck Tales Remastered is one of the better products old-school reproductions handled just right. With any luck, perhaps this project could lead to a long-awaited spiritual successor? Shut up and take my money.

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