The 8-bit 2D side-scroller genre was defined by Nintendo's Mario Brothers titles, each one a masterpiece of design perfection in the Golden Age of Gaming. But one unlikely title was able to place itself on that lofty mantle right alongside Mario's NES-era plumber-rescuing-the-princess exploits: DuckTales.
Now, almost a quarter century later, Duck Tales makes a return, shaking off the 8-bit era cobwebs and getting a shiny new graphical upgrade, expanded levels, new boss movements, smoother controls, and all the fun and quality of the original. DuckTales: Remastered on Xbox Live Arcade is a stellar title that will be a pleasurable trip down nostalgia lane for those who played it back in the late '80s and a nice quality retro offering for those too young to have played it when it first released.
For the story, the richest duck in the world, Scrooge McDuck, who ironically is the most penny-pinching spendthrift in the world, is an adventurer of sorts. He never turns down an opportunity to travel near and extremely far to find rare treasures that would add even more value to his incalculable fortune. With his three nephews Huey, Louie and Dewey along for the ride, Scrooge has to traverse five locales and get new treasures while also dealing with a few cunningly clever enemies trying to steal his treasure in his mansion vault for themselves.
Each level predictably ends with a boss fight. Treasure chests are strewn across each level, with ice cream power-ups and jewels to collect. For an 8-bit title, the story was actually pretty detailed, and that story is brought more colorfully to life by the enhanced and improved visuals in DuckTales: Remastered. Still retaining that retro look and feel, but shined and polished and detailed to modern perfection, this game is exceptionally good looking.
Designed by the same Capcom team that worked on the successful Mega Man franchise, DuckTales had great side-scrolling action, with Scrooge McDuck cane-pogoing and cane-whacking his way through all kinds of zany enemies on a bunch of different levels. Whether bouncing on oversized bees or mummies or others thwacked with his cane, controlling the gameplay has been made very smooth using an Xbox 360 controller.
Unfortunately, the fun of DuckTales: Remastered ends way too soon. As the gameplay challenge is relatively low, from start to finish, it should take an average of three-to-five hours to complete the entire game. But despite that brevity of gameplay, DuckTales: Remastered is a fun flashback with modern flair for both those that quack-attacked in its 8-bit incarnation or those totally new to the duck tales of Scrooge McDuck.
‑ Lee Cieniawa
‑ Perfect visual upgrading of a classic 8-bit side-scroller, with smooth controls and all the fun of the original
‑ Extremely short amount of gameplay
Score: 8.5 / 10