Bagpuss, Dangermouse, He-Man, King Rollo, Muppet Babies. Ah the 80’s.
A time of fun, crazy clothes and superb cartoons. Video games were rather innocent affairs, still pretty much in their infancy and the platformer was what the first person shooter is to us nowadays, the big seller! And so it was always a good idea to try and combine the cartoons with this games genre. Nintendo led the way (as they did most of the time back then) and in 1989 they released DuckTales, firstly on the Nintendo Entertainment System and then latterly on the much loved, much sold Gameboy. It was a hit and alongside the cartoon, Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie were known worldwide…..oh and there was the little matter of a rather catchy theme tune.
Then in the early 90’s after 100 or so episodes the cartoon ended and our favourite ducks slid slowly from the limelight.
But now they’re back and we see the original game being picked up, developed and remastered by Wayforward Technologies for our high specced, high definition consoles. So have they done a decent job?
Yep, damn right.
Make no bones about it, this is most definitely the original game, but it is one that has been brought crashing into the 21st century and thankfully it still works.
As was the case back then, the storyline is angelic with a very small hint of destructiveness. You play as Scrooge McDuck, who has found those evil Beagle Boys ransacking his mansion. First thoughts for Scrooge, as always, are with regards to his money, quickly followed by a need to rescue his nephews. His attention is quickly back on the cash though as he discovers the Beagle Boys weren’t after his money after all, but were in fact searching for a treasure map. Scrooge being Scrooge loves treasure and so this is where the story ends and the gameplay begins.
The treasure map shows 5 locations for McDee to spend a little time. The Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, the Himalayas and finally the moon all have their own special riches to collect and their own associated enemies. Each level plays pretty much the same as the last, and basically sees you wandering around amassing gems, jumping on enemies with your pogo jump and collecting the relevant pieces needed, before encountering the end of level boss and then heading off to pastures new. Only the graphical variation really makes them stand apart from each other, but you have to remember that back in the 80’s, on the whole, games weren’t designed with anywhere near as much thought as they are now. With this being the case, you would think that the old boredom factor would creep in pretty quickly. Due to the short length of each level (and the ease in which they can be completed), this is never the case and each stage can easily be done and dusted within 25 minutes, boss included.
You can of course go back and complete the levels again on harder difficulty levels and whilst this will add a couple of hours onto your playtime, be warned that as was usually the case with games of that era, the hard level is HARD. Rock hard! Your only real reason for attempting numerous playthroughs would be to earn a little more cash for McDuck, either through picking up more gems or by finding the few secret rooms, which in turn release some unlockable gifts in the art gallery and an achievement or two.
But other than that, there’s not really an awful lot to mention. The levels can be played and replayed in any order, the graphics are super lovely (and so they should be), but there is a rather annoying tune rolling in the background throughout the levels. I see the need to spice things up a little with the music because otherwise the audio is very basic but the repetition of said tune is a little too much for my liking. Maybe they should have just chucked the full DuckTales theme tune in there instead. EVERYONE loves that, don’t they?
So all in in it’s a decent return to Duckburg, which brings back the memories of the original game but in a new glorious looking package. Slightly dodgy jumping controls aside, Scrooge is a top character, however if you’re after a lengthy game don’t even bother looking at this, as it will be over in a few hours at the very most. But, if you’re in the market for a decent quick hit then this fun platformer is probably one for you to try out, although I feel a tenner is a little steep so maybe it’s worth waiting till it hits a sale first. Or maybe just take a look at the trial version of this classic first?
Oh, and did I mention the tune? Woo-oo!