DuckTales Remastered is just that: an HD conversion of an NES classic. It isn’t a remake or a reboot, and should not be viewed as such. Most of the mechanical and design changes are subtle. The real draw is the presentation: the adorable HD visuals and robust animations, fully-voiced cutscenes and yet another energetic Jake Kaufman soundtrack. As long as you know what you’re getting into here (or aren’t above choosing “Easy” mode), DuckTales is just as fun as it was on the NES, with a hefty helping of extra charm.
Right off the bat, the soundtrack hits you like a truck. Kaufman is obviously a fan (along with practically all who have ever heard the DuckTales soundtrack), and his adaptation of the original tunes reflects it. Most of the tracks even incorporate the old chiptunes. The smashing together of old and new is not only great fun to listen to, but also serves as icing on the thematic cake.
The most interesting facet of WayForward’s version of DuckTales is its commitment to the original game’s mechanics. It’s a bit smoother, likely thanks to modern tech, but boot up the NES original and you’ll feel like you’re playing the same game. WayForward does offer a concession in the form of simplifying the pogo move (via a toggle option, so the more hardcore option still exists), and expanded the difficulty options a bit in both directions.
Players must keep in mind that this is, more or less, an NES game. It’s difficult on Normal mode, and a fair amount of said difficulty is a result of antiquated mechanics and design choices. The physics can be a little odd at times, and performing tasks such as climbing ropes can be a dangerous chore. If it’s too much, Easy mode is an option that doesn’t make you restart levels after a few deaths. Either way, many have and will struggle to finish any level, much less the final level (which has been expanded with a gauntlet of extra super-hard sections).
That said, Scrooge has all the tools he needs to get through the challenges, and the uphill battle to beat the game ends in one of gaming’s greatest rewards: a true sense of accomplishment. I was mentally exhausted by the end, with my body shutting down after several heart-pounding failed attempts at the final stage. But I hadn’t been so proud of myself after finishing a game in ages.
DuckTales Remastered isn’t the usual direction for a new version of an old game, but it makes sense. This is a total nostalgia release, maintaining the nuts and bolts of the original and focusing on fans instead of “modernizing” the game and going for a mass appeal that may or may not exist. It’s a respectable approach that also happens to work really well. Hopefully this is successful enough for a new DuckTales 2; those eBay prices are not okay.
Pros: Boatload of nostalgic fanfare
Cons: Some frustrating antiquated mechanics