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Xbox 360 Review: ‘DuckTales Remastered’

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ducktalesremastered4Scrooge McDuck is a duckly capitalism kingpin, not the favored breed of current swinging political tides. He dives into a pit of money and swims amongst his gold, spitting out coins as he splurges on his riches. No doubt his businesses are open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And yet, this is a character hard to hate. WayForward’s careful tackling of the respected, springy adventure adds cartoon flavor, and is an expansion of the limited visual depth on the NES cart. Scrooge wiggles adorably as the ascends/descends ropes and jars himself when whacking solid matter – enough to scurry tail feathers.

As head of the McDuck clan, this aged Scrooge works through the globe in search of priceless treasure to further enhance his wealth. At the center is a pogo cane, inherently friendly with a dash of vitality added to traditional platform hopping. Bopping heads and breaking treasure chests is generous with its fluidity, a mechanism born of simplicity without losing its appeal. Complexity ages. Simple is timeless.

WayForward’s touches are more than radiant sprites (and polarizing 3D backdrops). Levels are extended and added to bolster length, as to not shock anyone when a comfortable difficulty level used to allow completion in under an hour. Their developmental touch is seamless, as if DuckTales always contained these adventurous values. Design stretching is naturally flowing, in command of the cane mechanism’s beautiful recoil momentum.

Modernization has slashed some of DuckTales’ tranquility. The Amazon, often considered the first level in a game where progression is based on selective choice, is fitted with a booming tune. It becomes a less calming, more demanding pace with pulsating drums where simpleton chiptunes are breezier or more arid. Elsewhere, merging elements bring together the Himalayan theme with a flourish from the widely known Moon melody, which makes this sonic evolution commendable.

In its television animation form, DuckTales was still bred for videogames, even if the advent of bounding canes is a departure. Touches of black magic and greed splashed good vs evil storytelling into the fray, landing onto a modest cartridge without need for reasoning. Scrooge is a hero as he rescues the nephew trio and anything impeding progress is a villain.  Voice actors, including Alan Young–now into his 90s–bridge storytelling arcs of the late ’80s cartoon to embed authenticity for fans.

Once, those voice work interruptions were a mistake, an impediment to stage design movement until WayForward patched it all together (optionally). When you have access to the original voice cast, you use them. It’s marketing logic. However, they ended up everywhere, splintering momentum with extensive conversation. Doing this to a game of this pace is criminal even if the heart is rightfully placed. Offering a menu selection to dissipate their appearance is appreciated.

Fan fondness for the 8-bit classic is not birthed aside from flattened nostalgia but rather platforming perfectionism courtesy of the Capcom/Disney marriage. It would continue to spawn quality recreations from Chip & Dale to Darkwing Duck (and others), but the affection is here, honored graciously. Respect is shown for the source material, show and game alike.  DuckTales has now been honored as a deserving and distinguished part of essential gaming canon.

DuckTales Remastered is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence. This game can also be found on: Wii U, PS3, PC.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.