DuckTales, woo hoo! Now, is the theme song stuck in your head already? For a lot of gamers (and children of the eighties) the name DuckTales instantly brings back not only the theme song, but memories of a great show that most watched on Saturday mornings with a bowl of whatever marshmallow-filled cereal their parents would actually allow them to eat. As the television series gained popularity it was only a matter of time until the ducks jumped to video games. This happened in 1989 when Capcom release the original DuckTales game on the NES in North America.
The game was a solid platformer that held true to the show and received solid reviews. Jumping forward 24 years, studio WayForward now has DuckTales under their wing and has created a solid HD re-master featuring updated songs and the original voice cast. The question is, does it live up to the original release? The answer here is hard to give, as this basically is the original release with new tweaks, but gaming has changed a lot in 24 years. Regardless, DuckTales is still a fun, charming platformer that is worth playing, although you may want to wait for a sale.
The gameplay in DuckTales is platforming with a bit of combat. Now “combat” here is more or less jumping on enemies’ heads by using Scrooge’s cane as a pogo stick. In typical platformer fashion the game takes you through seven levels (five main levels, and two story oriented levels at the beginning and end of the game) of side-scrolling action in which you avoid enemies and dispatch them by timed jumps and by using your cane as a bat to hit rocks at them. Everything in the game is very simple and easy to understand, even the boss battles. Within the first 20 minutes you’ll fully understand the traversal and how to get rid of all the enemies you’ll see over the next two hours as the game unfolds.
The best part of Ducktales is the world and charm. The voice acting is well done and the art is fantastic. You’ll find yourself traveling through Transylvania, hopping through the Himalayas, and even floating around on the Moon. All of the levels have great, re-mastered music and look fantastic. Even if the gameplay itself is fairly simplistic you’ll still be wowed going through every environment. You also collect diamonds of various sizes throughout each level to try and max out your earnings, and some of the diamonds (along with health upgrades) are hidden pretty well. This allows for a bit of replay value in each stage (not to mention achievements). With the cash you can buy concept art, character art, and even music back at the hub area.
DuckTales is a tough game to review. It’s very simplistic and the controls sometimes fight you (especially on vines) but it’s a game of a bygone era. I commend WayForward for the awesome updates they did to overhaul the game, and I’d recommend the game to almost anyone (especially those with kids) after it goes on sale. The game costs $15 on consoles; this is just a bit too much for a two to two and a half hour game. If you replay to get money for all the unlockable art you could get double that time, so it’s up to you if you think the value proposition is there. Overall the updates that have been done to DuckTales are great, and the game is still a good deal of fun to play (albeit a bit simple). If you have $15 to spare I’d recommend the game. Once on sale, I would definitely recommend you buy DuckTales Remastered.
DuckTales Remastered Transylvania Gameplay
DuckTales Remastered Moon Gameplay