Modern Review: DuckTales Remastered (Xbox 360)

DuckTales-Remastered-Xbox-360-ReviewIf you have played the original DuckTales game on the NES (considered to be one of THE NES classics) then this nostalgia fuelled trip is definitely for you. If you missed it way back when then fret not: it is a vibrant and fun delve into Duckburg and its inhabitants.

You control Scrooge McDuck – the miserly penny pinching hero in his never ending quest to remain the richest duck around. The game begins with his enemies from the cartoon (The Beagle Boys) raiding McDuck’s vault – which is essentially a training level to give you a heads up as to controls and how the game plays out. You jump and use your cane as a weapon and pogo stick to bounce on your foes and also to reach secrets and treasures strewn about. For new comers this is generally a welcome addition. Let us not forget that it has been 23 years since the original so the developers (WayForward) weren’t just pandering to its hard core fans. The game is a Disney title after all so it needs to be accessible to all generations of gamers.

Not Pony Tails...

The initial level aside, the game generally follows suit from its predecessor – pick any of the five levels (Amazon, Himalayas, Transylvania, African Mine and the Moon) in any order to collect its treasure whilst adding to the money bin. Each stage has its own unique boss which really gives you a feel of ‘old school’ gaming. Each foe has a pattern to observe and overcome which can become tricky if you are not giving the game some serious attention. What brought a smile to my face is that WayForward have nailed the spirit of the original. As you play you suddenly remember old secrets from the NES version (such as jumping left in the cave in the Amazon stage to find a secret treasure room) that are still present in Remastered! It is a love letter to the original gamer and secrets abound for the newcomer – a lovely and welcome part of the game.

The controls are generally tight and responsive; you will find yourself boinging around the stages with relative ease. It does have some niggles though. Occasionally the hit detection is extremely unfair – you can appreciate a game such as Mega Man where it is your fault if you die – but here, the game is definitely to blame and can feel cheap. Also, when using the pogo cane to bounce around, if you land the stick near to the edge of a ledge it stops you from your continued jump which ruins any momentum you had built up. It is more a bugbear than an irritant but sometimes it can be a life or death moment. DuckTales robbed me twice on the very last jump of the game due to its poor land and jump control. I had unlocked the extreme difficulty (complete the game in one sitting with no continues) and it wibbled out on me forcing me to start the entire game again! Twice! Luckily the game can be clocked in less than two hours if speed running, but it was the fault of the game that forced me to repeat the process. It is not a testament to the game that I played it a second and third play through mind – I found that once was enough. I played it more simply for 100% completion.


...or Cotton Tails...

Graphically the game is outstanding. Every attention to detail has been taken to make DuckTales look gorgeous – from the stages or enemy design to the animation of Mcduck it is all expertly executed. The sound is near perfect too – the music tracks from the original levels have been updated and wow! They are brilliant. When I reached the moon stage (it has been argued that the music for this level is one of the all-time classic 8-bit songs of any game) I literally got goose bumps! It took me back to one of my perfect memories as a kid playing DuckTales – anyone will attest that the moon song stays with you and WayForward have nailed it with aplomb! Many other reviews have complained about the sheer amount of dialogue throughout which does break up the flow here and there. But in the devs defence – if you managed to get the original cast from an 80’s cartoon assembled, wouldn’t you milk it for all its’ worth too? At least they had the decency to add a skip cutscene button in the pause menu so it is totally forgivable.

DuckTales really doesn’t disappoint. You get exactly what you would expect from it. The content added on is pretty cool – you get to swim in McDuck’s money bin which is such a 30 second bit of fun, a welcome addition that didn’t have to be there. Collecting gems in the stages lets you unlock collectibles such as artwork and music (all the 8-bit classics are available!) Just be warned – if you start a new game you lose all your unlockables and have to start again! An absolute nightmare considering the grind you have to do to unlock everything (I completed the Amazon stage at least 25 times in addition to completing the game) so there is a lengthy, unnecessary amount of time you have to put in. I was a bit gutted that there wasn’t an episode of the cartoon tucked away somewhere – in another of Capcom’s classic games on 360 (Final Fight Double Impact) you can unlock a really cheesy but very entertaining episode of the Street Fighter cartoon featuring Final Fight characters! That would have been the icing on the cake for me if it had been included.



I bought the game in a download sale, but it is definitely worth the £9.99 asking price for some classic retro lip service. More justified to stump up is to keep WayForward chugging – their rendition of Double Dragon Neon I also found to be absolute quality (folks suggest otherwise but the original source material isn’t exactly mind blowing is it?) so in my eyes these guys can not do any wrong at the moment! If they keep up the quality, I’ll keep throwing my money at them, no matter how much nor how little.

DuckTales Remastered Trailer

Last Updated ( 24 January 2014 )  

James 'ewjim' Evans

Jim is a self confessed know it all when it comes to 16-bit gaming. With a strange fondness of playing rubbish videogames for the fun of it, there is no stoop too low he won't go to for entertainment.

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(Link to this comment) handfulofbits 2014-01-24 13:42
I got this in the Nintendo eShop sale for Wii U £7.99 is a great price to pay. I also loved the fact that it had off TV play so you could lay back and play it in bed. You covered all my complaints about the game in this article so I will shush now. 8)

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