(Capcom for XBLA)
By Mike Delano
I was – still am, of course – a big fan of NES-era Capcom games. Everything from masterpieces like Mega Man 2 down to obscurities like Little Nemo, the publisher had the platforming genre down cold circa 1990. Somehow, I never got attached to the DuckTales game back in the day, but I’m far from unaware of how beloved it is – just a mention of the name will send my wife into a full-on sing/dance rendition of the cartoon theme song and elicit a wistful sigh about sick days at home from school with the game. She’s not alone in her duck devotion, so the game has long been ripe for a re-imagining. With DuckTales: Remastered, the 2D masters at developer WayForward deliver a reverent 2013 take on the simple charms of the original.
Gameplay-wise, the main thing that DuckTales, now and then, has to offer is its satisfying pogo mechanic, wherein Scrooge McDuck bounces off enemies and the environment with his cane. It’s very basic and very fun to simply pogo over every inch of the levels as Scrooge searches for treasure, especially since bouncing into empty spaces or outside of the bounds of the exotic locales (The Himalayas, The Amazon, The…uh, Moon) is rewarded with sporadic treasure drops. It made for a light and breezy adventure in 1989, and since Remastered is loathe to tinker too much with the original recipe and doesn’t add anything really new from a gameplay perspective, it makes for a very light and breezy adventure today, especially considering what it shares virtual shelf space with on Xbox Live Arcade.
Really, though, the classic platforming is not the reason that the title has been so fondly remembered all of these years, nor is it just nostalgia. It’s because the game is so damn charming, and Remastered only enhances that charm. Scrooge swinging his cane like a golf club, his nephews crying out for “Unca” Scrooge, the endlessly peppy soundtrack, swan diving into a pit of gold coins — it’s a charm attack from beginning to end. The game has such a profoundly likeable spirit that it’s irresistible, and I’m glad that it’s back to work its magic on a new generation of gamers.