Ever since I heard the news that the 1989 DuckTales video game by CAPCOM was getting remastered and rereleased, I got excited. Like, child-like glee excited. The NES remains to this day as some of my favorite video game experiences, with the N64 coming in a close second. I’m with those people who think that, for the most part, “they just don’t make games like they used to.”
So my cousin, knowing this, posted a link on my Facebook timeline that the game was available for download in the Steam store for $15. I now sit here minus $15 and plus DuckTales Remastered.
For those of you who are not familiar with the game, you play as Scrooge McDuck on a world-spanning (and beyond) treasure hunt. There is no princess to save. There is no time limit. The goal is to stop and pick up every bit of treasure you find. You’re playing Scrooge! Be greedy!
The enemies in this game come at you from the sides of the screen, mostly, and there is no benefit to killing them, other than the fact that maybe you don’t die so quickly. The only way to add to your score is to collect diamonds, loot, treasure, ancient coins, and other things with monetary value. Could a game spotlighting Scrooge McDuck have any other goal?
What is fascinating to me, though, is that there aren’t just coins lying everywhere as in some other games. While you’re jumping and bouncing around, they will literally appear from the air as you pass them. There are a few treasure chests lying around, but for the most part, you have to actively look for them. (My advice: check random holes in walls that don’t seem to serve a purpose. There’s one spot of ground to your right when you should clearly go to the left to make progress? There’s probably a diamond or some extra health waiting there for you.)
For those of you who have very fond memories of this game, I am delighted to announce that while the graphics have been drastically enhanced, they are done with quality, and with reverence to not only the original game, but to the TV show as well. Either they have added cutscenes that were not previously there, or they have recorded dialogue that used to just be beepy-scrolly words. I’m not entirely sure which, but it feels like playing the TV show.
Also, while the soundtracks sound very clean and appropriate to the locations, the old-school synthesized title song remains intact, along with the sound effects for jumping, bouncing, attacking, and dying (which you will likely hear a lot.)
Unfortunately, one other thing remains unchanged: I can’t remember ever beating a level, and this game isn’t making it any easier for me. It’s mostly easily avoidable, although sometimes awkward timing or improper alignment of a pogo attack get in my way. And, regrettably, each level gives you three chances to make it all the way through without losing your health. If you don’t do it in three tries (or more if you pick up extra lives), you have to start over. From the beginning. Of the level. Checkpoints aren’t really a thing. It gets a little frustrating, but man do you get good at the first third of a level.
All in all, I love this game. The old and the new. The challenge and the humor and the storytelling and the puzzle of it all. If I ever finish a level, expect a tweet or two about it!
- Johnny 5