To be honest, the original Ducktales game released for the NES in 1990 lives in a space in my brain of fond memories of gaming. Any child of the 80s remembers the TV show and the theme song (which is now stuck in your head) fondly. Everyday I’d come home from school and watch an episode of Scrooge, Launch Pad, and the crew while eating a snack. As a 10 year old, the game blew my mind - it looked amazing for the time.
That game has been remade by Wayforward, whose most recent title was Double Dragon Neon. It’s a faithful recreation of the original game featuring beautiful hand drawn animation combined with 3D levels all set in side scrolling gameplay. Ducktales: Remastered isn’t just an adaptation of the original, but a faithful recreation of every level, enemy, and item. It’s this decision that has many folks split as to whether or not this is a “good game.”
Ducktales reminds me of the games gone past, when the challenge wasn’t just your dexterity or from learning the patterns of enemies, but also your endurance. Ducktales: Remastered will challenge you in this regard - if you run out of lives at the very end of a level during the final boss fight - there’s no option to continue. You’ll have to play that entire 30 minutes over again. In a way it reminds me why there’s such a resurgence of “Rogue Likes” lately with Spelunky and Rogue Legacy.
Personally I can’t get over just how beautiful Ducktales: Remastered looks. I’m instantly transported back to my childhood watching Mrs. Beakley talk to Scrooge about keeping a clean house. Diving into Scrooge’s money bin for a swim is a strangely satisfying experience. The voices for the most part seem spot on and while the story hasn’t changed, it’s easy to see how it encapsulates almost every episode of Ducktales ever created.
Ducktales: Remastered isn’t for everyone though. If you don’t have the nostalgia factor going for you what you’ll find is a competent side scroller with solid controls, basic puzzles, and some slightly annoying gameplay quirks. Things like respawning enemies as soon as you move off the screen and back on can be shocking for some players, but this was “normal” for an early 90s game. I don’t think Wayforward needed to change that formula to create a compelling, fun, and challenging title. Ducktales: Remastered is exactly what I wanted it to be.