When DuckTales: Remastered was initially announced, it was met with a flood of fanfare, but that excitement seemed to almost completely evaporate by the time it released in August of 2013. It may have been a hard sell to keep up enthusiasm for the remastering of a game from 1989, given the fact that much more recent games were already getting the remastered treatment. Additionally, it was to be released on the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U, and not the hotly anticipated new generation of consoles.
Now that it is free to PS Plus members in January, is it worth playing?
Those of us old enough to have played the original release on the NES remember the game as a way to engage more with the characters from the animated series. You only get to play as Scrooge McDuck, but all the main characters like Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad, Mrs. Beakley, and more make their appearances. True to those roots, the remastered edition upgrades the grainy 8-bit graphics to make the game look almost as though it were hand drawn, just like the cartoon.
The gameplay of the remaster differs little from that of the original title. You will traverse this platformer mostly by walking and jumping, but for attacking you get to use Scrooge’s cane. The main attack used will be pogoing on Scrooge’s cane and taking enemies out by landing on them. Some enemies, however, will take different tactics, but those will be presented when needed. For example, your other cane attack method will allow you so swing at certain objects, thus turning them into projectiles to hit targets with.
WayForward Technologies did a fantastic job updating this title from its original release by Capcom. The aforementioned graphical upgrade looks great when compared to newer games, but keeps that retro platformer feel. The classic controls still work flawlessly and those looking for that “old-school” feeling can use the D-pad instead of the analog stick. A great service was done to the game’s audio as well by having the original cast of the cartoon series re-record all of the dialog for the game.
The key element maintained in this remastered edition is the non-linear gameplay. What made this game such a success is that it was one of the first to deviate from the standard left-to-right gameplay of its day. Players were given the opportunity and ability to explore the spaces within the game. Levels could be completed by following more than one track and not just by running straight forward. Although some may have been annoyed or irked by having to explore the level, most of us were captivated by the idea of doing so. It was a thrill to jump into what looked like a dead-end, only to keep going and find a secret area filled with treasure.
In the slew of remakes and remasters that have been dumped upon gamers, DuckTales: Remastered may or may not be of interest to you. If you played the original and would like to see it again, then this is game is a must play. On the other hand, if you have no familiarity with DuckTales, either the series or game, there may be little reason for you to play this as there isn’t much setup in the game to explain any of the characters or settings. Fans of platformers will have to consider the value proposition of the game before buying since the current asking price is still $15 and it can be completed in about three hours. PSN Plus members can get this game for free as part of the January 2015 games and that is the best price you’ll find.
It was fun to play this game again after so many years just to see how it held up and what they did with it. I easily picked up on the mechanics and loved playing it again. Without having a background into DuckTales, I don’t know that one would have much interest in this game other than the love of retro-gaming, but PSN Plus members should take the time to play this classic.
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!