I loved the NES Ducktales as a kid. I must have beaten it hundreds of times and figured out every secret. I came up with my own strategies of how to defeat each boss and even took pride in how good I was at the game. With the release of Ducktales Remastered my skills aren't quite as good as they used to be, but that's not the only reason this game frustrates me.
Right after you launch the game, you are greeted with the classic yellow and blue Capcom logo and the short musical piece you might remember from when the logo appeared in Street Fighter II arcade cabinets. The title screen then appears with the beautifully recreated city of Duckburg and the Ducktales theme song playing in full force. Immediately a smile came to my face. I pressed the start button and began my nostalgia trip.
Just like the original game you have the option of starting with any of the game's five levels. I chose the Moon as my first level to try. Instead of immediately being thrown into the level so I could lay waste of some aliens with my pogo stick, I was left to watch a cut-scene of Scrooge and his two friends Gyro and Fenton discuss the treasure that is to be found on the moon. While I appreciate the story and the voicework done by the superb voice actors, it feels out of place. There were none of these scenes in the original game so why make them a part of the game now? It made me feel like I was watching the Ducktales animated tv show, which I enjoyed as a kid, but my memories of the game will forever be about the great platforming and high difficulty associated with it.
While this might seem like a minor inconvenience for the game that is to be enjoyed it does take away from the experience. These cut scenes play at the beginning of every level and also throughout it at various checkpoints. This would be fine if you were given the option to skip these scenes after watching them one time, but you cannot. Seems like a silly design choice to overlook for WayForward. If I were to play Ducktales remastered as my younger self I don't know if I would have the attention span to sit through these cut scenes every time I play.
After getting through the cut scenes though the game is great. All the original music from these levels is redone and sounds spectacular. The level designs are mostly identical as well so it feels like I am playing a more fine tuned version of a game I've loved. I'm also playing with the hard pogo controls to recreate the experience even more. This is both a blessing and a curse.
The NES controller was spot on when I used it as a kid although there were a few times where the pogo stick wouldn't be used even though I thought I inputted the command correctly. This occurrence happens a lot more often in Ducktales Remastered. I'm playing the game on the Wii U and I have tried using both the Wii U Pro controller and Wii U Gamepad to play, and have been met with problems using both. Even though I'm inputting the command as I always do (Down + Y), I am left with Scrooge landing on top of an enemies head and taking damage. Scrooge isn't one of the Mario Brothers and he can't generate the necessary stomping force with those webbed feet! With only 3 or 4 hearts for a life bar taking a few extra hits almost guarantees that you won't make it through a level without dying and with only 3 lives it's downright frustrating to finish a level.
I'm still in the early stages of playing Ducktales Remastered and getting used to the controls. I may need a bit more practice before I can give my full verdict on what I think of the game. For now I must play more cautiously and make sure the pogo stick is below me before jumping on top of an enemy and making Scrooge curse me with his Scottish accent.
Ducktales Remastered is available for download on the Wii U, PlayStation 3 and PC and will be available next month for Xbox 360.