I picked up the disc version of this gem on Monday, and it didn't disappoint. Although the NES Duck Tales game is understandably one of the timeless classics for most 80's/90's kids, it happened to be a game I never played during my childhood. I mostly liked games that weren't based on outside source material, as those games usually disappointed me, but little did I know, I was missing out on a real treat with Duck Tales. I was able to play a large chunk of it years later at my friend, Chris's house, and it was then that I saw what a great game - and soundtrack - Capcom's Duck Tales was. Duck Tails is, for those who do not know, a game based on the Disney cartoon of the same name which follows the adventures of billionaire, Scrooge McDuck, and his nephews. The cartoon was wildly popular in the 80s and early 90s.
So, needless to say, when I heard they were making a remastered version with improved graphics and sound, I was interested. However, since it was slated to be a download, I sort of forgot about it, as, anybody who's read my other game reviews knows, I'm not in a very good internet situation and have yet to embark on my Virtual Console downloading spree. I was at the mall on Monday and, for really no reason, as I didn't think there were any good games out for Wii U that I didn't already own, I decided to walk through Game Stop. Suddenly, this gem caught my eye, and when I saw the price of $19.99, I had to snatch it (despite a rather crumby current financial state). I have no regrets for buying this, though. Weirdly, I had just started watching Darkwing Duck again for the first time in about 20 years the week prior, so this only seemed even cooler to come by.
The game is pretty much the same game as the original, only now the money you collect is used to unlock artwork and music tracks. Some secrets are made easier to find by dialogue scenes and suspicious graphics, which, while it may kill some of the difficulty, also evens out the playing field as many NES secrets were sort of unfairly obscure. The controls and difficulty, secrets aside, are about identical to the NES original. Way Forward, the team responsible for remastering Capcom's classic, also added a good deal of extra material, such as a new final stage. All in all, this short retro release packs an awful lot of content into it's seven-stage length.
The graphics are pretty nice looking. When playing the intro stage, I thought they looked sort of mismatched and awkward, but then when I saw the main stages, which boasted far superior graphics, I saw what they were going for. The backdrop paintings, which you can unlock for your viewing pleasure, are in the style of cartoon cel backdrops of the 80s and 90s, much like those in the Duck Tales cartoon. The characters, however, are outlined in black and cel-shaded, further creating the style of retro cartoons. Many of the sceneries are also beautifully designed, and the hand-drawn animation in the characters is fluent and perfectly cartoony. You really feel like you're looking at the show turned into a video game.
The sound is great. Most original voice actors from the cartoon returned, or Disney's official modern equivalents supplied the talent. Being able to hear Alan Young as Scrooge again created a strong and warm nostalgic feeling in me, as well as Terence McGovern as Launchpad. The acting was just as excellent as it was in the cartoon. The music was also great. It was new and much revamped from the 8-bit originals (which I still love) but at the same time it kept a general retro arcade sound which was a good way of making it feel like it was not changing too much. And, yes, the Moon song still sounds top notch.
While there aren't many, it's only fair to go over the flaws in the game. The only main flaw that comes to mind is the over abundance of dialogue scenes. The game is constantly coming to a halt so some dialogue can begin. I enjoyed it as it reminded me of watching cartoons like Duck Tales, but I also couldn't help but get annoyed by it after a while as it keeps slowing down and chopping up the gameplay. Luckily, you can skip all cut scenes via the pause menu, but it still takes a bit of time. It's not a major flaw, but they could have toned it down a bit. I understand why they did it, however. It creates the feel of watching the show, and, since it's a rather short game (incredibly short by today's standards) they needed to make it last longer some how to please all walks of gamers. Aside from that, I really can't think of any flaws. It's the same great game it was two decades ago.
So, yeah, I recommend picking this one up. Whether you're a fan of the original or a new gamer, give it a try, it's timeless, and it's only 20 bucks. Word is Way Forward and Capcom plan to put out Rescue Rangers: Remastered, among other possible NES revamps if this game is a big enough success. While I never played the Rescue Rangers game, this is one nerd who would be happy as hell to see the NES Darkwing Duck masterpiece remastered. Jim Cummings voicing DW again? That would be awesome. Darkwing Duck for NES, while certainly not needing a remastering to be any better being it's my favorite TV/movie-based game on the NES (Bucky O'Hare's a close 2nd) would be pretty freaking awesome, and a guaranteed purchase for me.