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Games : Recommended
Release Date: August 13th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

DuckTales: Remastered

Overview -

Just when it seemed like Disney had put the kibosh on any Disney-related video games not entitled 'Disney Infinity,' Capcom came out of nowhere to announce that the NES classic 'DuckTales' was making a comeback of the HD variety. This was to be no simple re-skin; however, as the visuals would eschew the 8-bit look in favor of a unique 2.5D hybrid. In fact, much about the classic game would be different. Not just different in level design and difficulty, but as different as a game now filled with cut scenes, unlockables and achievements can be from its platformer roots.

Not only did Capcom promise a HD remastering of 'DuckTales,' but they even teased to reunite new "luscious hand-drawn" and animated characters with the "surviving voice actors from the landmark Disney Afternoon TV series." In that respect, Capcom and developer WayForward Technologies sought to do more than just reintroduce a beloved platformer. In one move, they promised a product that would single handedly tear both Nintendo cartridge and 'DuckTales' right out of Disney's vault and onto not one but four platforms.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
Audio Formats:
Dolby Digital 2.0
Release Date:
August 13th, 2013

Video Review


Now we are talking. I mentioned before how incredible the character visuals are and that is a serious understatement. Both famous 'DuckTales' characters, and the odd enemies that are thrown about the game are stunning. They are stunning in both freeze frame and in animation. Just seeing a single character animate against a background for the loading screens is enough to give pause. It would have been easy to charm with a 16-bit pixel art style in place of the original, but those hand-drawn characters stun in 1080p. And yet, the game falls into a classic trap, made all the worse for just how excellent all of the characters look. The environment is meant to be 3D and make for a 2.5D platformer, but most of the time, the level visuals fail to impress. What's worse than the simple poly areas are the scanned-in backgrounds that are often completely devoid of detail. WayForward and Capcom will sell you a song about staying true to the roots of the cartoon or something, but I suspect a combination of budget limitation of both time and money as well as someone's misguided expectation that the game somehow be 3D is to blame. Of course, the original game was mixed in my eyes, with level interiors like Transylvania and the UFO classic in that NES fashion, while level exteriors like the Amazon, bordered on truly ugly. Nevertheless, that does not excuse the state of the new game. If only they had treated the background with half of the care rendered to the characters.

One area where the simple, banded background does work is Scrooge McDuck's money bin, which is one addition that works perfectly without disturbing the rest of the game's gameplay.

The game's item pickups, such as the treasures and health items and diamonds are also 3D, and are another good example unnecessarily and unfortunately 3D art is used.

Audio Review


Much like other aspects of the game, I do not actually think of the original game's soundtrack as pure gold. Outside of the main theme, level select, Moon level, and one or two others, the original game's music tends to be, dare I say, overrated. And yet, it is still preferable to this remix version. The new music mimics the old, and is in that way sometimes good and usually tolerable, but is also often quite busy and full of unnecessary flourish. Though there is one part of game without either music or dialogue, and it is eerie, so I may be being harsh on the music. The sound effects, on the other hand, are pretty much excellent, with enemy deaths nailing that nicely updated vibe. I have mentioned my luke-warm feelings for many of the cut scenes and it may in part be because the game cuts all music to allow character dialogue alone to be heard. With several long dialogue exchanges, usually with near static characters, this lack of music seems like a mistake. Overall, the classic music, which can be unlocked but only to play in the extras screen, is an option the I imagine many are sorely missing.

Ultimately, 'DuckTales: Remastered' attempts to draw in both fans of the original game and fans of the series, along with a secret desire that those unfamiliar with 'DuckTales' at all will be intrigued with its 2.5D style and frequent cut scenes. At the same time, the original game is kept away in an almost defensive manner.

For me, the execution and nostalgia are enough to overcome the game's deep flaws, but both its successes and failures should provide a cautionary blueprint for any future similar remasters.