Having entirely missed the original DuckTales due to complications with how time works -namely thanks to the fact I wasn’t quite born yet- I didn’t know what to expect when I loaded up the Remastered version of the NES classic on my Wii U. Sure, I knew all about the “woo-oo”s and Scrooge McDuck (mainly because Tuffcub never stops talking about the game) but in terms of content and playability, I didn’t know how well it would fare.
After playing for a while, it actually seems like a decent platformer; the gameplay mechanics are fun at times, even if they’re not as refined as recent 2D Rayman and Mario titles.
It’s clear, however, that DuckTales is a remake, rather than an entirely new game. That fact has nothing to do with how DuckTales looks – it’s absolutely fantastic, with really vibrant 2D characters and impressive 3D backgrounds and stages; as far as I can tell, it’s a huge step up and a complete change in direction from the original, more true to its roots as an animated television show. And the animation is sublime – there’s something really charming about it all.
Instead, the fact that you’re able to tell that this is an updated version of the original is entirely to do with how it plays, which ends up feeling quite poor at times when compared to the platforming gold we have today.
It’s a perfect fit for playing off-TV on the Wii U GamePad’s screen, though; if the visuals didn’t make you think twice about its roots as a NES title, then the fact you’re able to play it on the controller will. It works really well as a semi-handheld game and looks great on the smaller screen, too.
While the game lacks interesting touch features, you are able to show the map on the GamePad’s screen with a tap in the pause menu. It’s odd that this isn’t enabled by default, as it provides a good way to see all of the objectives throughout the level and makes much more sense than simply replicating the screen at all times. Aside from that, there aren’t really any features specific to Nintendo’s platform.
From what I can tell, it’s quite a faithful remake, with the platforming action very reminiscent of games I played when I was young. That’s not necessarily a good thing mind, with some issues rearing their head as you progress. Gameplay will often become repetitive with some sections proving quite tedious and then there’s the archaic progression system which throws you out of the level completely if you die a few times; it’s actually rather difficulty, truth be told.
It’s not just the problems of old that prove to be an annoyance, with the newly added (I’ve done some research) cutscenes being rather mundane in their execution, despite the suitable voice acting. That’s nothing compared to the annoyance of having to laboriously making your way back through a level after falling at the final hurdle, though.
Due to having never played the NES game, I’m not completely sure how faithful DuckTales Remastered is to the original, but I know that it can be quite fun at points, despite how tiresome I found some of the dated gameplay. And I know that theme tune hasn’t left my head since I loaded it up; I don’t expect that earworm to go away for a while.