Disney's Duck Tales was a hugely popular animated television show in the late eighties and early nineties, spawning a theatrical film and a spin-off series. Based on pulp-style comics from the 1950s, the show revolved around the adventures of the world's richest duck Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
DuckTales' greatest legacy is probably the videogame of the same name. Developed by Capcom using the Mega Man engine and released on the NES and GameBoy, DuckTales remains one of the most beloved 8-bit platformers of its time. In 2013, developer WarForward teamed up with Capcom and Disney Interactive to remake the game on modern consoles and PCs as DuckTales: Remastered.
At last, DuckTales Remastered has made its way to Windows Phone and Windows 8. Does it retain the magic of the Xbox 360 version, let alone the original NES game? Read on to find out!
Bringing DuckTales back to life
The original DuckTales game had a light narrative bought to life through relatively minimal on-screen text. Remastered goes above and beyond the call of duty in updating the story. The entire tale has been rewritten and expanded to the point where it feels like an episode of the show.
An impressive array of series characters show up, including Scrooge's nephews, Mrs. Beakley and her niece Webby, Duckworth the Butler, Launchpad McQuack the pilot, Gyro the inventor, Fenton the annoying guy who turns into Gizmoduck, and Bubba the caveduck. Flinthart Glomgold, Magica De Spell, and the Beagle Boys turn up as villains.
All of those characters are fully voiced, with most played by their original actors – including Alan Young as protagonist Scrooge McDuck. Roles belonging to deceased actors were recast, including Mrs. Beakley, Flinthart Glomgold, Gyro, and Fenton. Flinthart's new voice turns in a fantastic performance, whereas Fenton's voice makes him even more annoying than he's supposed to be.
The story still comes to life via in-game sprites rather than separate cinematic sequences. The characters all animate and emote, but unfortunately their mouths don't move. Hey, at least they have voices!
Story scenes can be skipped. Alternately, the Quick cinematics option skips any previously viewed sequence automatically.
Quest for treasure
DuckTales Remastered opens with an all-new tutorial level that sets Scrooge's adventure in motion. The Beagle Boys (a gang of habitual felons) attack Scrooge's Money Bin, a gigantic vault that protects his riches.
Scrooge takes it upon himself to storm the vault, eject the intruders, and rescue his nephews. In doing so, he discovers a treasure map hidden in the painting the Beagle Boys were after. Looks like we have an adventure on our hands!
Now Scrooge finds himself his Money Bin office, the game's hub area. From here players can select levels, purchase unlockable gallery items, and even go for a swim in the Money Bin!
The five original levels (African Mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, Transylvania, and the Moon, all revamped and expanded) can be played in any order. Each one functions like a mini-episode of the show. They culminate in some truly exciting boss battles, which again are vastly improved over those of the original.
After knocking out the five levels and collecting their treasures, Remastered has a brand new final level: Mount Vesuvius. Here Scrooge teams up with an old adversary, trading clever barbs while navigating the dangerous lava-filled environment. It's a challenging and thrilled-filled conclusion, far better than the NES game's repeated Transylvania finale.
Unlike the original, DuckTales Remastered has only a single ending. But it will bring a smile to the faces of fans of the show – especially when the lyrical theme song plays during the end credits.
That's a cane, not a shovel
Although it used the Mega Man engine, DuckTales played quite unlike other games of its time. Scrooge McDuck doesn't blast baddies with a gun. Instead, he hops on them with his cane.
The pogo attack is easier than ever to perform in Remastered. Simply jump and tap the cane button to pogo onto enemies' heads, damaging them. Pogoing also happens to allow Scrooge to bounce higher and avoid damage from spikes on the ground, so players will often pogo around all over the place. Recent Xbox One release Shovel Knight borrowed its shovel pogo mechanic from DuckTales.
Hunting for treasure proves just as enjoyable as bouncing around on Scrooge's cane. Each level contains numerous chests filled with valuable gems to collect. Oftentimes, moving past certain areas will cause invisible gems and/or chests to appear as well. The money collected from each level can be spent on items in the Gallery.
Most levels feature unique sequences to break up the platforming. Scrooge gets to ride in mine carts, hang from a rope as Launchpad flies a helicopter, and more. WayForward also added a convenient map screen (accessible via the pause menu) to make navigating the levels easier.
Having beaten the game, players can revisit all seven stages at will. You can also switch the soundtrack to the original 8-bit chiptunes, which still sound fantastic all these years later. Everybody loves the moon level's theme!
As mentioned earlier, money collected from each level can be spent on items in the Gallery. Most are various forms of concept art. But buy enough stuff in the gallery and you'll be able to unlock songs from the game and even concept art from the actual DuckTales TV show. It will take about two playthroughs to afford all the cool stuff.
Windows Phone version
Windows Phone, Windows 8, Steam, and Xbox 360 version differences
DuckTales Remastered is available as a universal purchase for Windows Phone and Windows 8, on Steam, Xbox 360, and other consoles.
- The Windows 8 version runs flawlessly on the original Surface Pro. The Windows Phone version initially suffered from frame rate issues on the Lumia 1520, but I THINK those were fixed with a recent update.
- The Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions both offer surprisingly good touch screen controls. The game is perfectly playable with touch, especially on Easy difficulty.
- Windows 8 and Steam both support Xbox controllers, which is the best way to play.
- The Steam version offers Steam Achievements and cloud saves, which you won't get from the Windows Phone or Windows 8 versions.
- Two Xbox 360 versions exist: a retail release with 1,000 Gamerscore and an XBLA game with 400 Gamerscore.
DuckTales Remastered easily surpasses the NES game, adding new levels, a fun story with charming voice acting, and plenty of new secrets and extras. It's a pitch-perfect remaster of a platforming classic. Anyone who has ever watched the cartoon or played the original game will be overjoyed with the new game.
Like Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (another remastered Disney platformer), DuckTales Remastered rings up at $9.99 on Windows Phone and Windows 8. It's a universal purchase, so buying one gets you the other. The price is very fair given the high quality of the game and lack of in-app purchases. Plus it's five bucks less than the Steam and XBLA versions to boot.
- Download DuckTales Remastered for Windows Phone ($9.99)
- Download DuckTales Remastered for Windows 8 and RT ($9.99)
- DuckTales Remastered – Windows PC – $14.99 – Steam Link
- DuckTales Remastered – Xbox 360 – $14.99 – Xbox Link – Amazon Link