Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DuckTales Remastered, Rewriting History

ducktalesupdatedBack in 1989, Capcom released DuckTales for the NES. Whereas a lot of licensed franchise games exist only as a tie-in to make a quick buck, surprisingly DuckTales was a masterful game, being unique, fun, and challenging. So suffice it to say, DuckTales quickly became a hit.

In fact one of my earliest gaming experiences, aside from Mario, Zelda, and Tetris, took the form of Scrooge McDuck's pogo-ing and golf-swinging adventures. My family never even owned DuckTales, but my sisters and I still rented it over and over, continually trying to master the mysteries of Transylvania and the Moon. Given that the game came out when I was three, it's no surprise that said mastery never occurred (at least for me). However, the game left a lasting impression nonetheless.

That's why I was giddy to hear they were remaking the game for modern consoles.

Of course as my formative years were in the early 90s, DuckTales (and all of "Disney Afternoon"s great shows) had a large impact on me as well. I remember always wanting to keep up to date with the adventures of Scrooge and his grandnephews. This just goes to say that DuckTales, for someone my age, hits all the proper notes of nostalgia and childhood to forever occupy that warm, cuddly place in the heart where such things go.

That's why I've made sure to pay attention to the details surrounding the game.

And then, a few weeks back I was at San Diego Comic-Con and attended a panel held by Capcom and WayForward where they talked about making DuckTales Remastered itself. They went into their techniques for trying to be as faithful to the original game as possible while mixing the art up to look more like the TV show itself. I was really impressed at the lengths they went through, including an interesting technique of playing both the original and their remake side-by-side to ensure the controls are as 1-to-1 as possible.

That's why I purchased the game.

And now, lo and behold, I've bought it and played it, and you get to hear all about my thoughts on the subject.

The main thought: Woo-hoo!

So this game hits me in the feels. I didn't realize until now how much I actually remember of the original game. The remixed chiptunes themselves call up some deep memories and make me channel my inner 5-year-old. The only level I've finished so far is Transylvania, but I look forward to attacking the others one at a time. One of the best features of the original game is that, a la MegaMan, you can hit up the levels in any order you'd like. I am loving the voice acting as well, and am impressed by how many of the original actors from the TV show returned (the only ones that were replaced are sadly no longer with us). And the levels look so awesome and feel the same.

The one thing that caught me off guard: when I started playing it the controls actually felt really weird and slightly off. I realized it was that I had "Hard Pogo" turned off. Basically, the old NES way of pogo-ing was considered too hard (good ol' NES games!). As such, they replaced it with a simpler mechanism. Well, once I turned "Hard Pogo" on, my hands knew exactly what to do. Surprising how long muscle memory can survive! It's amazing how easily I slipped back into the feel of the game, and how good of a job WayForward did at emulating the original moves.

If you have any nostalgia for the TV show or video game, you won't  go wrong with this game. Even if you never saw the show or played the game, it's an amazing platformer with a unique play-style that's worth a go. And if you have any youngin's around, get them this game and make them watch the show, as it surpasses most kids shows today by a mile.

Meanwhile, I hope to plunder the game of every last treasure as soon as I can get back at it!


P.S. Apparently Capcom sent out the original DuckTales on golden cartridges as a promotional package. Shut up and take my money!

P.P.S. If you'd find it interesting, Capcom and WayForward posted a video about their strategy for updating the art without leaving behind the feel of the original. A lot of this was in their presentation at San Diego Comic-Con (and other conventions as well), and it's a good take on what lengths people go through when they've fully invested themselves in making something be the best experience they can.

1 comment:

  1. I rebemmer that show. I loved it, i rebemmer coming home after school and turning on PBS to watch "where in the world is Carmen Sandiego" and "Ghostwriter". Those were the good old days.