My late childhood/early teenage years were marked by my first console, a NES console bought cheaply at a garage sale from some people about half a kilometer down my street, with a bunch of accompanying games. As the first console that I’ve ever owned, I look back on those gaming years fondly, even if one fourth of the games I owned for it were utter crap. Not like I cared. I left the bad games where I was storing them, and played and replayed the titles that became my classics.
Among those classics? Just about every Disney title I could get my hands on, whether it was Mickey Mousecapades (which I sucked at), Darkwing Duck (which I believe I completed at least once), Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers (Tough levels, disappointing bosses), and of course, the most famous one of the bunch: DuckTales.
Ah yes, DuckTales. The cartoon series aired in the 90s and I watched them on Radio-Canada, the French CBC, on Saturday mornings. I distinctly remember an episode about the Beagle Boys stealing control of large robots to wreak havoc and steal Scrooge’s money. The theme song is known to induce rage in certain people because they’ve only recently managed to get it out of their heads. Which is why I have decided to post it here, because I am exactly that kind of troll.
|All memorable characters. Yep, even the lightbulb robot.|
The show included a large number of side-characters, from Miss Beakley and Webby to Launchpad McQuack, Gyro Gearloose, Gizmoduck, and that’s not even mentioning the villains. Many stories were lifted right out of Carl Barks and Don Rosa’ classic comics. Oh, and mentioning it right away, Disney will be launching a reboot of the TV show this year, with a different art style and more stories taken from the comics. It should be interesting… if done right.
|Those damn mountain goats. That damn snow!|
Keep in mind that this is not quite the NES game; a lot of stuff has been added to it. In fact, I’ll probably have a compare-and-contrast approach to this review. It’ll be most interesting to study the changes.
Hell, we can start comparing right away! The original game’s title screen:
The Remastered title screen:
This sets the tone! The original DuckTales game had three difficulty settings: Easy, Medium and Hard. Here, you start off with the same modes, but you can also unlock an Extreme mode. Easy Mode gives you infinite lives, Medium gives you 3 lives at the start of every level and few, if any, chances to regain new ones. Hard gives you very few hit points, but a few more lives that can be collected. The famed Extreme mode, unlocked when you beat Hard? No saving, so you must beat the game in one sitting, and you’re limited to very few extra lives. Oh, also, the controls work different.
|Pogo-cane-jumping: If every old person did it, the world|
would be a more awesome place.
Oh yeah, here is something else this game revamps: We have an honest-to-God tutorial level! The game starts as the Beagle Boys, armed with a whole bunch of cartoony bombs, launching an assault on the Money Bin. Scrooge immediately rushes there to protect his wealth. And protect his wealth he does. On the way, we learn how to use Scrooge’s cane to break blocks, push items, pogo jump… I swear, that cane is more useful than a friggin’ Swiss knife. Of course, Scrooge also winds up having to save the triplets. And considering Scrooge is stinking rich, he can afford some degree of creativity in his security systems. I mean, giant hands wielding giant hammers? That ain’t something you see in every building. We use the pogo jump to activate switches, and we deal with every Beagle Boy on the way.
|Boom. Scrooge is so rich, he can afford a life-sized|
whack-a-mole with full-sized criminals as the moles.
|...That is, as long as he isn't the one getting crushed by it.|
|Big Time Beagle was one of those unique Beagle|
Boys given a distinct look and appearance on the show.
At the end of the level, Big Time Beagle confronts Scrooge, putting on a helmet to protect himself from the pogo cane jump. Okay Scrooge, change your tactic. Aim for the crotch! …Or drop a huge safe on Big Time Beagle and then cane his head, that works too. After the defeated Beagle Boys leave, Scrooge inspects his office and discovers that the big robbing family was trying to get its hands on a painting Scrooge recently acquired. Costed almost nothing for the actual value it might have, too! It was almost fishy. Anyway, the painting was broken, and it contains a treasure map showing the way to five different legendary items all over the planet. Of course, Scrooge will never skip an opportunity to get richer, so he decides to go on this adventure and look for this treasure. He’d rather go by himself, but you know Huey, Dewey and Louie are just gonna follow sometimes even if Scrooge doesn’t want them to. Oh, and Webby, too. Oh, and that airheaded Launchpad McQuack, because we need someone to pilot the helicopter. I sure as Hell don’t trust him piloting any plane. If it has wings, he will crash it. Mark my words, it is as guaranteed to happen.
|Alright, so we have five distinct choices of locations to venture to-|
Hey, is that the magic lamp from the DuckTales movie I'm seeing in
In the original DuckTales game, we could choose among the main five stages at will; we could start with any of them. The Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, The Himalayas, and the Moon. If you played the original, I bet saying these five names out loud made memories flood back to your mind… If the review thus far hadn’t already. Once again, we can choose any of those to start with. Want to do them in the order they’re presented in? Sure, why not look at them in that order?
|Launchpad should just concentrate on piloting the helicopter.|
This chronically-crashed duck need to be careful.
Oh God, that music is awesome! I remember the original tune for the Amazon level. This is such a great improvement!
|How did I get myself into this little corner,,,?|
|So many coins... and one cutscene for each of them!|
|Those are some large bees.|
Scrooge almost got stung there.
In the original game, you could find two extra hearts that could be added to your life gauge, bringing your maximum hearts to 5. In Remastered, you can find one secret room with a chest containing an extra heart in each of the main five levels, bringing your maximum to 8. Trust me, you’ll need all of them in the end.
|We shall see who is the more knuckleheaded here!"|
Talking about contrast, this is another element ameliorated from the original game: The boss battles. In the NES DuckTales, bosses were deceptively easy, sticking to only one pattern of attack and hardly, if ever, changing. They were laughable, all you needed was good timing to beat them up with your cane. The statue in the Amazon, as an example, would move left and right, changing direction only when reaching the opposite wall. It would jump to cause an earthquake and hurt Scrooge, once in a while, but that was about it. The other bosses all used similar simplistic strategies. Yep, even the last boss.
|No matter how dangerous a mplace is, Scrooge will face|
its dangers with a smile on his bill!
Soon enough, the statue is defeated, destroying itself and bringing the whole castle crashing down with it. The treasure appears lost – until the tribe living in the forest comes in to celebrate the destruction of the castle, and as a reward they give Scrooge the scepter. Yay! Although Scrooge is so rich, this is hardly anything but a new backscratcher for him. How convenient, that’s what it was for the old Incan King as well! Of course, Scrooge’s nephews make sure to mock him for it.
|"And let's conveniently never address how exactly|
she could be found deep inside this secret castle
floating on clouds. That same castle that Scrooge
took a while to find by himself."
Alright! How about we continue this in Part 2?