DuckTales: Remastered Review – 5.5
***For full review experience; play the audio above while reading the review*** The music is the theme song from the game and some in game audio. We do not take any credit for the creation of the music. It is simply there for enjoyment while reading the review!
DuckTales the TV series is right behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for my favorite cartoon from my childhood. It resonated with me on so many levels. Two brothers, check; authority figure that never trusted us, check; adorable ducks, check! Not that my parents should have trusted us to be honest, but this is why I connected with the trio and Uncle Scrooge so much.
Well sorry Scrooge, but not even you can buy my love. How much I wanted to love you. When I first heard that Capcom was bringing you into the new age of graphics with a Remastered version I nearly exploded with excitement. Only $15 to get into trouble with my friends again, sign me up. I would have put down $30 for this game if they asked me. $15 later and I feel as if I have been kicked right in the balls 15 times, once for each dollar.
Now let’s talk about the game itself. First, the game has been upgraded with great precision. The HD character sprites are beautiful. The art design is by far the highlight of the game. Each level, character and animation is well done. Art isn’t the only part that is spot on though; the music is upgraded and it feels just right. With the DuckTales theme song leading the way, the game achieves great sound design.
Unfortunately, this is where the enjoyment ends. Uncle Scrooge’s cane/pogo gameplay is as fun as it always was but this is not a compliment. The gameplay and level design has not been upgraded one bit. There are some levels where you either pogo to the top of the screen or perform a light jump without the cane. There is no in-between with the jumping mechanic. It’s either bounce to the top of the screen or not. The moment you come upon some spikes you will understand why this becomes a problem. Of course, you cannot walk on spikes, so your only option is to bounce with Scrooges cane. Why has the developer placed enemy bats right above the spikes that you cannot avoid? It is not a matter of skill; it’s a matter of not getting hit twice. In these portions you have to assume that you are going to lose a heart.
These examples of gameplay flaws brings us one step closer to the biggest flaw in the game; the checkpoint system. The problem with the checkpoint system is the lack of challenge within the level pre boss fight. The levels are extremely tedious and boring. In the Amazon level, for example, you have three hearts per life and only two lives before you have to restart the whole level. On average, I would lose 1 heart before reaching the boss fight. The fun factor and real challenge in the game is when you reach the boss fights. The gameplay during the boss fights are more about memorization than anything. The first time you reach a boss is usually your sacrificial life to learn the behavior of the boss character. Rather than the game re-spawning you at the first of the boss fight they decide to force you to replay the tedious and pushover levels prior to the boss. You will lose a few hearts here and there but the developer populates the levels with plenty of food items to replenish your health. If the 30-45 minute portion of the levels leading up to the boss are so easy, why are they making us replay it over and over? The only two answers are; the developer wanted to give the game more value by extending gameplay times or they didn’t test their game. This is total lack of respect for the player. Games such as Mega Man, Contra and Dark Souls challenge you throughout the “whole game”. Not just during the boss fight. We shouldn’t be subjected to 30 minutes of torture just to reach the boss fight.
I am not going to sit here and try to make excuses or argue with those who say that I suck at the game because those arguments are just not fair. I have a history of loving difficult games. Demon and Dark Souls are two of my favorite games. It’s not about the difficulty. It’s the portions where you are forced to replay painfully easy levels over and over again, just to get to the compelling gameplay in the boss fights. I know a challenging game when I see one; and this game tries to be one, with artificial intentions. Give me only 3 hearts per life and only 2 lives per level and I am happy; but being oblivious to removing unpolished gameplay that causes unnecessary death is lazy and frustrating. If I wanted to play an unpolished video game with 24 year old gameplay, I would play the original game and save some money. Give me a break Capcom, taking an old classic and throwing some nice looking art on it, is not how you “Remaster” a game.
Final Toast – 5.5
This review was just as painful for me as playing the game was. I tried to love it because DuckTales is near and dear to my heart. I just couldn’t see the charm that the original had in this release. For those that still want to give it a shot; go for it, but I warned you.
Reviewed by BEN LINK (@Ben_Link)