When Ducktales first released on the NES in 1989 I was 4 years old and whilst I probably was aware of the TV show, I had yet to make my first foray into the magical world of Nintendo (I was busy twiddling nobs to move paddles up and down on some Pong clone). So the jist of it is that I have never owned a NES and therefore never played Ducktales.
Shocking I know but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. So when it was announced that Ducktales would be given the HDifying treatment affording me the chance to play the game for the first time I was understandably excited (especially as continuous reruns of the cartoon during my childhood years have left Scrooge McDuck and his nephews and also the ridiculously awesome theme tune, engraved into my mind). Ducktales a woo-ooo.
It's now 2013 and this year we have the next generation of consoles coming out but still we gamers clamor for these old school 2D platformers (just check out Ali's review of the recently released Cloudberry Kingdom) and remakes of our childhood favourites like Amiga classic Superfrog HD, there seems to be a new one popping up every week.
This week it's Ducktales turn to be remade and exposed to all the retro gamers and a whole new generation of gamers who were either too young like me or perhaps not even born yet when it originally released.
The game harkens back to the days of old school Mario and Alex the Kidd playing a lot like Mario the difference here is Scrooge Mcduck the grumpy Scottish Billionaire. The main character of this game is not your atypical hero, he's a duck, he's Scottish and he has a rather misguided view on life, valuing his vast fortune of gold and collectables over all else. And it's here that we kick off our adventure with Scrooges fortune being stolen by a load of Beagles and after he rescues his nephews and reclaims his mansion we set off on the epic quest for treasure.
Scrooge controls much like the classic Mario however Scrooge utilises his cane as a pogo stick/weapon to bounce on enemies heads and to reach higher platforms, this can be a huge advantage but also in some areas becomes a massive hinderance to progression with spikes etc on the ceiling for you to avoid. The pogo mechanic is actually one of the most frustrating aspects of the game for me as when it works correctly it’s great fun and a useful tool in the game, however when it goes wrong it really causes you problems especially on the higher difficulties where you have very limited lives. The game almost lulls you into a false sense of comfort with the pogoing you’ll be bouncing quite happily on platforms and enemies only for Scrooge to suddenly stop dead when he hits the ground, inevitably this throws you off your game and inevitably an enemy you were about to pogo on will hit you instead. This becomes very frustrating both in the platforming areas and against the bosses however on the lower difficulties it isn’t such an issue as you have more lives (especially on easy where you have unlimited lives).
Graphically Ducktales is easily comparable to any recently released 2D platformer, though the backgrounds are rendered in 3d the sprites retain that classic 2D aspect and that only adds to the overall charm. This is of course a Disney title based on the cartoon of the same name from the late 80’s/early 90’s so it just oozes charm all over from the cutesy trio of Scrooges Nephews to the classic soundtrack including the famous theme song in all it's chip tune glory.
The replayability for this game is actually far more vast than you would initially expect for this style of game. We have online leader boards tracking total time played, fastest completion time, most profitable playthrough and most money collected overall. In addition to this there are a ton of unlockables to purchase with the money you collect, ranging from concept art and sketches to music. In addition to this there are 4 difficulty levels, easy, normal, hard and extreme, and for anyone who hasn't played this before it is a tough game even on normal it provides a solid challenge! So to finish it on the top difficulty is going to be a real tough ask.
The real crux of this game is that it's just huge amounts of fun, easy to play hard to master and it does have possibly the best theme tune in any game ever, however at £11.99 in the UK it is in my opinion hugely overpriced unless you are planning to play through it multiple times for high scores and trophies, so unless you are looking for those I’d recommend waiting for a sale.
Overall Score - 76%
42 Level One