“This is actually starting to be fun!” Scrooge McDuck chortles to himself part way through DuckTales Remastered. Sadly, such sentiment reflects your experience with the game by this point, a rejuvenated classic that for whatever reason fails to live up to that of the original.
You have to feel sorry for WayForward, who were under immense pressure by fans clamouring to relive a celebrated game from their childhood, whilst a younger generation stood by waiting to see what all the fuss was about. The outcome of which being a game that sublimely revamps the original’s visuals and adds further character through a newly accompanying voiceover, but fails to update its now tired formula.
After hearing the alarm sound, Scrooge McDuck races to his Money Bin vault to discover the Beagle Boys raiding the elderly duck’s fortune. Sending them packing, he stumbles on a secret note that, once fed through his supercomputer, is revealed to be a treasure map. Duckburg’s intrepid billionaire can’t resist adding such relics to his collection and therefore sets out on a quest to gather them all.
Such adventure takes you across the globe, your initial hunt sees you search for the Sceptre of the Incan King in The Amazon, with more trinkets waiting to be discovered in Transylvania, the African Mines, the Himalayas, and on the Moon itself where the Green Cheese of Longevity is waiting to be discovered.
Antagonists such as Flintheart Glomgold and Magica De Spell will seek to hamper Scrooge’s efforts, with side quests seeing you recover Fenton’s Gizmoduck suit or securing a part to repair Launchpad’s plane.
That DuckTales Remastered doesn’t present a more taxing platforming experience may come as a surprise, especially considering the original was released in an era of challenging games still relished to this day. Yet by design, it can still prove particularly infuriating.
Such aggravation largely results from the fact that if you lose all your lives within a level, that’s it. There isn’t even a Game Over screen. With no opportunity to continue, you’ll find yourself swooped back to Scrooge’s office at his Money Bin, left to tackle the level entirely from scratch. Such hardship is only heightened at the game’s conclusion, where one wrong move can see Scrooge fried to a crisp for any wrong move.
With elements in the game purposefully designed to catch you out like this, it can prove of detrimental frustration, fuelled further by the continual shortage of lives at your disposal. Regardless of any success, you’ll always start with three, which can only be increased by discovering Mrs Beakley on your travels who will grant you one more.
Beyond this, the game actually is structurally dull. You’ll soon tire of hopping around the place on Scrooge’s pogo stick, fending off enemies by bouncing on their heads and gathering diamonds for the greedy duck to fill his vault with. Scrooge’s move set, compared to today’s games within the genre, is too limited and many will miss the differentiation that can be found elsewhere.
The game’s only saving grace is that it presents some memorable boss encounters, though these are similarly easy to conquer once you’ve deduced how to dodge their attack patterns. That is if you have enough lives to survive any miscalculated jumps that you make.
Wii U GamePad integration sees Off-TV Play support, alongside an option to display a map which handily details areas you’ve visited and the location of your objectives. That this doesn’t appear by default is odd, though can quickly be altered through the start menu.
Astounding production values aside, DuckTales Remastered delivers a disappointing revival. There’s still much to enjoy for those who revel in the nostalgic trip it provides, with those new to the DuckTales scene left to discover an average experience at best that can be beaten in a few hours.