Over the past ten years, eight-bit platformers have become the subject of a special cult. Dendy and NES still find their customers, rare cartridges are sold at auctions for insane money, and developers are increasingly creating nostalgic projects in the spirit of the “old school”. At the same time, really important and high-quality games (such as Contra or Battletoads) were not so much in those years, and therefore each of them deserved the status of a masterpiece. One of those was DuckTales of 1990.
Making a remake of such a platform is a very controversial idea. It can not be sold again 20 years later: a lot of things need to be fixed, redrawn and improved to fit seriously step-by-step standards of gaming. But if there are too many innovations, there will be a completely different game that fans will definitely not. A subtle question arises about the balance of the old and the new, decided by WayForward under the direction of Capcom.
Life is like a hurricane here in Duckburg
The charm of the original DuckTales was that the passage of the location was never the ultimate goal: uncle Scrooge was not a killer of the “bosses”, but a treasure hunter. The main thing was the set of points, so the gameplay was to find hidden jewels – the level ended immediately as soon as the player reached the most expensive artifact. And the final of the whole adventure depended directly on the amount of the loot.
Usually scattered around coins was not: instead, diamonds arose in the empty places of the location, as soon as the player was picked up there. In other words, the hard-core gamer should not just walk through the level from left to right, but look in every recess and stand in each wall. Somewhere it was possible to jump “to the ceiling” and get into a secret storehouse, sometimes splashes fell through the floor, and sometimes they met other heroes of the animated series. They, of course, gave bonuses and reported something useful.
However, nobody interrupted and just walk to the final “boss”. In general, “Ducks” provided an amazing freedom of action for those years: each of the five episodes is available from the very beginning, and can be done in an arbitrary manner. The maps are also built nonlinearly: there are constantly falling branches, deadlocks and roundabouts that can be wandered for quite some time. So that after twenty minutes of travel the game world is not empty, the adversaries are constantly reborn, and Scrooge has not many ways to fight them. For the purpose of self-defense you can knock down enemies with stones or traditionally jump on their heads.
Actually, this game consists of: downloading locations in search of secrets and constantly dodge the continuous flow of enemies. Thanks to WayForward in the new version, all the above did not change at all. Responsiveness of management, puzzles, crystals emerging from nowhere and battle with the “bosses”: DuckTales Remastered is really the same “Duck Stories” from the 90s. Of course, without updates, of course, did not work.
First of all, the graphic component has undergone an improvement. The authors painted all to one character, so now they look like in the original cartoon series. On the quality of the animation did not save: movements are smooth and look absolutely wonderful. The main thing is that the average opponents remained alike to themselves – each mummy at the level manages to produce exactly the same impression as it was 20 years ago.
With the advent of a beautiful graphic game, there appeared a distinct directing. Few know that DuckTales relied on quite specific episodes of the animated series – now it has become noticeable. Each adventure has a zest, a cat scene and a few phrases after winning the “boss”. This is quite enough to have an elementary and recognizable storyline (for example, the story of the Snake, having become friends with the snow man).
There is also a global script component that combines all the episodes. In this regard, the game has been expanded a bit: new arcade fragments appeared, an introductory “tutorial” and a full epic uncoupling, on which there was no hint before. Now passage will take not 30 minutes, but 3 hours, which look like a completed full-length cartoon.
Old levels also received a number of additions. The authors have introduced an obligatory element of research: now access to the main thief needs to be earned by finding some important objects in the surroundings. Some parts of missions shifted or turned completely redone, but under no circumstances were removed – so, rolled stones from the jungle were migrated to the mines. Some “bosses” have edited behavior, and the overall level of difficulty is greatly redone: what was once called easy was now marked as Hard.
The only sad thing is that for most players the right choice will be just the easiest option of passing. Honestly, today DuckTales of 1990 does not look anything extraordinary: it’s a buy for really interesting episodes, annoying infinitely emerging gorillas and very easy to fight with “bosses.” Even after all the qualitative changes and attempts to dilute the archaic gameplay Remastered is not comparable, for example, with Rayman Origins. And therefore, it is not worth considering it in isolation from the source.
The new version of Duck Stories has succeeded. Reproduced heroes of favorite cartoons, wonderfully redesigned soundtrack and soft humor in intermediate rollers cause such a warm emotional response as it is possible at all.
The only “but”. If you have never taken a second cassette with a cartoon series to your neighbor, then the events will not be too clear. Without discounts on the age of the source and tears of temperament, this is a very average platformer, which is not bad at play, but nothing leaves behind itself. Without knowing the original, it’s not worth getting to know about it: retro-gameplay plays VVVVVV more successfully, and DuckTales Remastered is best left to those who, from the first notes, guess the melody in the introductory screensaver.