Monday, 12 August 2013

Ducktales Retrospective

Life is like a Hurricane. Well it is if you live in Duckburg. Also, with all the Racecars, Lasers and Aeroplanes, i'm surprised that Scrooge McDuck can have any time to enjoy his Millions. And now to add to all that, Wayforward & Capcom announed earlier this year that Scrooge will be making a comeback in Ducktales Remastered, a remake of the NES Classic from 1989 which is still considered to be one of the best titles in the NES Library. I myself loved every minute, and the music alone, was iconic, let alone the levels. Scrooge is also bringing back Launchpad, and his Nephews Huey, Duey and Louey along for the ride, and Webby too.


I myself am massively excited to be revisiting the iconic locations such as Transylvania and The Moon amongst others, but in glorious handrawn HD & because of the massive hype I have regarding the upcoming XBLA Release (It is also being released for the Wii U Virtual Console & PSN on PS3), I thought "Why not revisit the classic?"
Ducktales was released for the NES in 1989 and was designed by Keiji Inafune, of Mega Man, Onimusha & Dead Rising fame, and was released for the Gameboy a year later. I did get to play the Gameboy Version, and while the NES Version is the better of the two, the Gameboy Port is an excellent little port, and not much was lost in the transition.
The game saw you play the role of Scrooge McDuck, the leading character from the TV Show we all know and love, as he and Launchpad travel across the world in search of five treasures to add to his already huge vault. Ducktales saw Scrooge visit The Amazon, Transylvania, The Moon, The Himalayas and the African Mines with his trusty Cane for company which you used as a weapon to swing at rocks to take down higher enemies or harder to reach Chests, and also as a Pogo Stick.
While the controls were a bit fiddly at first, the younger version of me found myself taking out Gorillas, Mummys and Spaceducks in no time. For me too, I personally loved The Amazon, and Transylvania levels, as they seemed to have more about them, and more character to them than the others. Although, to this day, I still have fun revisiting all five locations (and swearing a lot too at some of my mistimed jumps). The Soundtrack to the game as mentioned earlier, was a star in it's own right, and it still stands up today as one of the greatest Video Game Sountracks of all time, with each location having it's own theme, with The Moon being a fan favourite amongst millions across the globe.
Jake Kaufman has done a spectacular job of bringing back said pieces of Music for the Remastered Version, and despite having only heard snippets of each piece (at the time of writing), during Preview Videos and the Capcom Duckumentaries, I can honestly say i'm blown away by how he's made them sound so much grander, larger and beautiful, while still retaining the classic 8-bit sound to them that made them so popular in the first place. Ducktales also had you trying to find the two secret areas in each location, which many of us missed the first time around (thank you YouTube) and also had us amassing more Money throughout the game, with one of the endings (the Great one) happening if you managed to collect $10,000,000. The other two endings were triggered by you either just completing the game normally (the Good ending) and for finishing the game with $0 (Bad ending). You also had a Boss Fight at the end of each location to win each of the five Treasures. After collecting all five treasures, you then went back to Transylvania for a final boss fight to end the game.
I think what I loved about the original was that while Mario was undoubtably the king of the Platformers on the NES, Ducktales felt a lot different to most platformers around the same time, and it had a certain addictive quality, and charm, along with the beautiful soundtrack, and great locations, it's no surprise why it's considered one of the best NES games. If you ever played the Disney games on the NES, then you'll have also played the classics Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck, which people are hoping to see be Remastered in the same way that Ducktales is being done, should Ducktakes be successful.

As mentioned, i've played through Ducktales recently, and while my skills as a child didn't transfer completely to now (damn you Himalayas and African Mines!) I still found myself humming the soundtrack whilst playing though the locations again, and loving it even more so now, than when I was a 7 year old Ducktales obsessive having a great time with the NES Controller in my hand Pogoing my way through Magic Mirrors, Minecarts, and through the Snow. Come September 11th, this Man Child here will be "Solving a Mystery" (no might about it) and hoping Capcom have "rewritten history" in a good way.


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