Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Platform Game Mega Review: DuckTales

DuckTales was a 1989 platform game based on the popular DuckTales animated adventure series that itself was based on the Disney duck universe created by Carl Barks and Don Rosa.

It was created by Capcom, a video game developer that was prolific during the 1980s and 1990s. The developers worked with Walt Disney Computer Software to keep the art style as close to the television series as possible. This is very evident, as the characters are instantly recognizable even in the low-resolution pixel art produced by the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The game starred Scrooge McDuck as he went around the world collecting diamonds, jewels, and lost treasures. It had a fun gameplay mechanic where he would use his cane as a pogo stick. This could be used to jump higher, take out enemies, and cross areas he couldn't cross with his own two webbed feet.

There are five levels to choose from, including African mines, the Amazon, the Himalayas, Transylvania, and the Moon. Each of these had unique enemies and an end boss. Not all of these enemies actually appeared in DuckTales. However, as they all were created in the art style that was an 8-bit approximation of the art style of the beloved 1980s cartoon, they certainly looked like they could have been.

On the subject of characters from the cartoon, some of McDuck's allies appear in cameos. Huey Dewey, Louie, and Webby give Scrooge advice. Launchpad McQuack flies Scrooge back to Duckburg. Mrs. Beakley gives Scrooge life-restoring ice cream cones. Gyro Gearloose drops diamonds for Scrooge to grab. Finally, Gizmoduck opens up access to a new area on the Moon.

Two of Scrooge's biggest nemeses, the sorceress Magica DeSpell and the second richest duck in the world, Flintheart Glomgold, are also here trying to stop Scrooge from getting his treasures.

The music is one of the most memorable things about the game. I still have tunes from the game that come to mind when I think about the game, such as the music from the Amazon level. However, none are as iconic as the music from the Moon level. This tune is so beloved that the creators of the 2017 reboot of DuckTales used it as the music for the lullaby that Della Duck, the mother of Huey, Duey, and Louie, used to sing to her triplets before she found herself stranded on the Moon. That reboot also had an episode where Scrooge was given a pogo stick cane.

The game was remade as DuckTales Remastered in 2013. The game remains the same, except there is an option for easier pogo stick use. Originally, the down button had to be held down when jumping. The new optional control method allows pogo stick jumping with the tap of a button.

At the time the remastered version was released, the cast members of the original 1987 series were still alive, so they reunited to voice the characters in new cutscenes that were created in the art style of the classic cartoon. They had a scene where the inventor Gyro Gearloose gave Scrooge oxygen taffy so that he could breathe on the moon. The creators of the 2017 reboot also used this plot device, as Della was able to breathe on the moon using gum that Gyro invented called Oxy-Chew.

The remastered version faithfully recreated the art from the game in high resolution. It both matched the art in the game as well as matched the art style of the 1987 series. The music in the remake was created in an orchestral arrangement that remained faithful to the chiptune music from Capcom's original game.

DuckTales is a classic video game by Capcom that is still a lot of fun today. The art style remains faithful to the 1987 series, the game is a blast to play, and the music is phenomenal. It doesn't matter if you are playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System version or the 2013 DuckTales Remastered remake, there is a whole lot of fun to be had with this fantastic platform game.

Final Verdict:

5 out of 5

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