DuckTales: Remastered is a fantastic blast from the past

Duck Tales Remastered

‘Duck Tales Remastered’ is a video game remake that’s ludicrously fun, challenging as needed, and filled with about a zillion things to trigger nostalgia for past glories.


I don’t usually review video games, although I’ve certainly played more than my share. Probably it’s because, in the scale of entertainment, video games rank lower priority-wise from movies, television, and books in terms of what I choose to spend my time on first. When I was a kid, I played all the time — in those days, my first video game system was the Nintendo Entertainment System — the NES — and I played the hell out of Super Mario Bros and Final Fantasy. I didn’t have that many games, so replay value was pretty crucial. But sometimes I was able to borrow a friend’s game, and sometimes one of those games would really stick with you. One of those games was DuckTales.

DuckTales the video game was from Capcom (a video game company also known for the Street Fighter and Mega Man games) and based on the late ’80s/early ’90s Disney cartoon show of the same name. I also watched that show quite a lot, which was loosely based on older Uncle Scrooge comics by Carl Barks, and it was awesome. It was a perfect timeless adventure cartoon that still holds up today. It was so successful that Disney was able to produce a lot of other animated shows. As for the game, it wasn’t easy, but then again most of those older Nintendo games were meant to be challenging … giving you that crucial bang for your buck, as they say. And to be honest, it’s far more satisfying to beat a hard game than it is to beat a simple one; can’t beat that adrenaline rush. The NES game was fun and addictive, with a decent  — for a video game adaptation — connection to the show about Scrooge pogo-jumping on his cane (an ingenious gimmick) through five unique stages to find legendary treasure. And that music. Some of the greatest video game music of all time, with a particular emphasis on the Moon theme, which is bizarre, haunting, and beautiful (listen to the original). So you might say this remake has a lot to live up to. But does it deliver?

The graphics look clean and dynamic, the voice acting is perfect, and the story fun and full of great nostalgia.
I’m not sure how DuckTales: Remastered managed to get the green light, but I’m so happy it did. I love this game. First, all the old graphics are reskinned and brought up to HD quality by developer Wayforward with brand new artwork with some of the original artists from the show. Nearly all the levels stay the same, but with a few added twists to make it interesting.

According to the developers, it was meant to be a pretty straightforward adaptation, but then Disney said, “say, would you like to use the voice actors from the show?” Gee, I wonder? So the game is now like a mini-episode of the DuckTales show, with all the voice actors that are still alive reprising their roles, including Alan Young (who is NINETY THREE) back for Scrooge and June Foray (who is NINETY-FIVE … damn) back for villainess Magica De Spell. It’s not quite the same, but it’s pretty damn close. And it’s a delight watching Scrooge, Launchpad, and his nephews (with more than a few cameos) going through the classic levels of the Amazon, Himalayas, African Mines, Transylvania, and the Moon. The game has a few difficulty levels, the hardest of which can only be unlocked after beating the game. For those newcomers, the Easy mode will be challenging but doable, while the old-school veterans will find Hard mode more their speed (I blasted through Easy mode in an hour, but Hard mode still kills me more than a few times).


There are two new levels added to the game, a tutorial level and a final boss level, both of which feel just like the rest. The controls are solid, even tweaked to be a bit easier if needed, and a few little mini quests are put in to give a bit more for the great price of only $14.99. So the graphics look clean and dynamic, the voice acting is perfect, and the story is fun and full of great nostalgia. A lot of things I don’t want to spoil.

But what about that music, the thing people would be furious about if screwed up? Well, I’m pleased to say that they did it — composed by mega-talented Jake Kaufman — the stages are perfect remixes that still manage to capture the spirit of the original. And as for the legendary Moon theme, although I still do prefer the original, the new theme is fantastic and endlessly replayable.

Plus there a quite a few unlockables and secrets that I don’t want to give away, because I was pretty gleeful when I found them. If you ever played the original games or watched the show, you need to buy this game. The only possible complaint I have is that once you’ve played through it once and want to play it again, you have to keep skipping the cutscenes (not exactly a hardship, more an annoyance). But really, when a game makes me this happy, I just want to tell people about it. The nostalgia hit me pretty hard on this one, but it’s still a very fun game even if you don’t really know the original material. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy, or in the case of this game, a whole bunch of little things.

DuckTales: Remastered is now available for purchase on PC, Wii-U,  PSN, and XBox Live .

Photo Credit: Capcom, Wayforward

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