August 15, 2013 1 Comment
DuckTales: Remastered is a game about two billionaires squabbling over five million dollars worth of junk. Seriously. That’s what the game is about. After beating the five main stages of the game and collecting ancient treasures, Scrooge McDuck’s rival, Flintheart Glomgold (couldn’t have sounded more evil if his name was Adolf Stalin Jong Pot III), steals them from you and declares himself the richest duck in the world. Now, since Scrooge McDuck is established as a billionaire, that means Glomgold is likely one too. One whose net-worth is no more than $4,999,999.99 less than Scrooge’s. This is what happens when old people with too much money end up with too much free time. The worst part is during the end credits when, spoiler alert, Scrooge offers to buy the boys an ice cream cone. Each. And fill it with ice cream this time. And I thought I was frugal. What a dick.
That’s why I don’t get DuckTales. Scrooge McDuck is an utterly unlikable tightwad. A cross between Gordon Gekko and Mr. Burns that practically has an orgasm with every new gem you pick up. He talks down to his loyal employees, calling them countless variations of “stupid” and occasionally making fun of his maid’s girth. He lives in a mansion that has a giant silo filled with money that he swims in. In the game, you even get an achievement for partaking in this selfish, narcissistic pastime. And yet, Scrooge is somehow portrayed as the good guy in this thing. This thing that gamers have been salivating over for months now. Hey wait a second. Wasn’t picketing rich assholes who treated their employees with disdain and kept all the wealth to themselves a thing not too long ago?
Glomgold is the villain because he has an evil beard, I guess. Never mind that it’s Scrooge that’s running around the world like a grave robber, stealing priceless artifacts from primitives and bludgeoning the local wildlife (many of which are endangered species) to death with his cane. By comparison, Glomgold just stealing a few gold trinkets from Scrooge seems positively tame. Though I don’t understand why he would kidnap Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby. Presumably to murder them. What else is he going to do with them? Hold them for ransom? I think the courts would frown on that. Scrooge is established as being older than Glomgold. I’m sure there’s probably an in-joke about how he’s only five minutes older or something, but whatever. Here’s a thought, Flinty: just wait for the old fuck to die. They’ll split his inheritance and you’ll then be the richest duck in the world. A little patience goes a long ways.
Okay, fine. Game review.
DuckTales: Remastered isn’t an indie, but as someone who barely watched the show (which started airing two years before I was born) and just played the NES game for the first time last month, I feel my perspective might be unique. Going into the NES game, I’ll be honest: I thought it was going to suck. Nostalgia taints everything. I’ve had children of the 80s tell me with a straight face that episodes of He-Man or movies starring Corey Haim hold up. That’s only the case if you watched them as a child and they remind you of a more innocent time before work, bills, relationships, politics, and children of your own turned you into your parents. Meanwhile, with only a few exceptions, games based on licensed properties tend to suck. So you’ll forgive me for thinking that DuckTales would be shit, just like 90% of the NES games you thirty-somethings tell me rock.
I admit, I was wrong. DuckTales on the NES was a fine game. But the remake, DuckTales: Remastered, is even better. First off, it looks fantastic. Animation and character models are beautiful. And that soundtrack? Wow. The old 8-bit chip tune stuff is alright if you’re into that sort of thing. But the symphonic remakes are stunning. Unfortunately, Remastered has a giant-sized hard-on for endless dialog. You can skip it easily by pausing the game and pushing a button, but I actively question why they bothered in the first place. Fans of the series won’t like it because the voices are all wrong. Well, except for the kids. But Scrooge sounds way off, probably on account of the voice actor being 93 years old now. I mean, yea, it’s cool that he’s not dead. But when you have the entire force of Disney behind you, perhaps tracking down a sound-alike would have been preferable. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if all the recorded quips were just for gameplay actions, but oh no. Slow cut scenes showing Scrooge being verbally abusive to his staff or being a miserable old bastard to his family. DuckTales: Remastered, a remake of a game from the late 80s, is now one of the poster children for modern gaming’s excesses.
I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I like how the levels aren’t simply about finding a boss anymore. Each stage requires a full exploration to track down hidden trinkets that open up the boss. And the bosses aren’t just about jumping on their heads, but rather play out as an event. Okay, sometimes those go a little long, but never to the point of crossing the line. There’s a new opening stage, and the final boss isn’t found by replaying the Transylvania level, but in an entirely new stage. Using the pogo stick is easier. Some of the cheap jumps have been eliminated. The last boss doesn’t use random patterns where you could presumably go forever without having him open himself up to attack, like in the original. I mean, really, they took a pretty decent NES game and made it better. You retro nerds that won’t stop bitching about “why couldn’t they just give us the NES game?” really need to ask yourselves why you play games to begin with. Skip those cut scenes and Remastered is clearly the better game.
It’s not perfect. I don’t understand why invincible coins only last like four seconds, long enough to kill maybe two enemies at best. I don’t get why the physics for the climbing ropes weren’t improved along with everything else. I’m really not sure why unlocking the music, which is really all anyone would want to unlock, is buried beneath so much other shit you have to get through first. But that’s all nit picky. DuckTales: Remastered is a jolly good time and one of the best remakes I’ve ever played, so much so that I’m just about ready to tell Virtual Console and it’s endlessly re-released moldy oldies to choke on a duck’s dick and die. Improve the original or don’t bother at all. I’m looking at you, Earthbound, you overrated sleeping pill with antiquated play mechanics that’s about as fun to play today as soccer using cannonballs.
DuckTales: Remastered is Chick Approved, but not eligible for the Leaderboard (non-indie)