Author Topic: Expansion Quack Included: More Thoughts  (Read 1365 times)

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Offline King Bowser Koopa

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Expansion Quack Included: More Thoughts
« on: August 20, 2013, 10:37:11 AM »

It's not a mystery, they DID re-write history!

As I mentioned in my DuckTales Remastered review, “words cannot describe the sheer attention to detail that has been put into this meticulous re-imagining.” Well, I'm going to throw some more words around in an attempt to further explain why you need to buy this game.

See, it's already been established that I loved the DuckTales cartoon back in the day. I've collected the DVDs recently and re-watched all of them, to discover that my childhood love certainly wasn't misplaced like with several other shows (Toxic Crusaders, I'm glaring at you). The adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his plucky group of family and friends still hold up as a wonderful example of family entertainment today. Granted, I'm the target audience that DuckTales Remastered was intended for, someone who loved the original game and still fondly remembers the show. Does that make me biased? Hardly. If anything, it's the fans who would nitpick if a character acted unusually, if a voice didn't sound right, or a reference to the source material was erroneous.

It's the authenticity of the package where WayForward have pulled out all the stops. Close your eyes during the cutscenes and you'd think you were back in time, listening to an episode of the show on a Saturday morning in the late 80s. The quirky cast of adventurers and antagonists is written perfectly, down to every little catchphrase and personality nuance. Scrooge's nephews refer to their Junior Woodchuck guide books to research geographic locations. Launchpad upholds his crash-landing track record in more than one level. Webby even mentions her Quackie Patch dolls.

It's not just the “curse me kilts” and “quack-a-rooney”s stuck in the dialogue to give the characters some hint of a tie-in to the source material, either. The upgraded storyline now lives and breathes in the DuckTales continuity. Remember Magica De Spell's primary motivation for the wicked things she does to Scrooge? She is, and always has been, only concerned with obtaining Scrooge's Number One Dime – the first coin he ever earned - to use in her spells. Without going into specific detail, this becomes in integral part of the remastered remake's story, and goes so far as to explain the final boss and Magica's unusual and sudden team up with Glomgold in the final scenes of the original NES game. Though it seems like such a simple and superfluous addition, Remastered even gives you the ability to go for a quick dip in Scrooge's Money Bin. It comes so naturally to the DuckTales world and is such a mindlessly fun thing to do that it's surprising it took 23 years for someone to think of putting it in a game.

In the process of expanding the itinerary of things to do in each level, characters that once had  throwaway cameo appearances are now given fully fleshed-out roles crucial to completing the stage. For an example, in the Himalayas level in the original game, Bubba Duck could be found frozen in the ice at the end of a precarious tunnel, and would reveal one of two secret health upgrades in the game for saving him. In the remake he's now found much more easily, and after Scrooge frees him from the ice, he'll follow you through a frozen cave, smashing giant ice blocks in your way.

My favorite improvement to the game is in the African Mines level. Back on the NES, Scrooge would come across a locked door at the start of the stage, where his nephew Louie would be waiting. “You'll need a key to get in”, the young duck would say. “It's in Transylvania.” How did he know this? Why is the key there? With absolutely no explanation or warning, you're whisked away to the Transylvania level, where you have to locate the hidden key, go back to the level select screen and travel to the mines all over again. This silliness is, literally, a thing of the past in the new version, but it's not entirely gone. In the remake, Scrooge has hired an excavation team to tunnel into the mine, when mysterious voices cause the workers to flee in a panic, thinking the shaft is haunted. To enter the mine he now needs to find a key to start an elevator winch that descends into the entrance tunnel. When he returns, his nephews are convinced that ghosts had taken the key and hidden it away somewhere. It's a crafty little homage to what once was a needless pain in the tailfeathers.

Everything from the style of the painted backgrounds to the official voice cast who still sound spot-on (especially Alan Young, who does an incredible job for someone in his nineties!), just feels so utterly perfect. No flaw exists in DuckTales Remastered that wasn't already present in the original version of the game* and many flaws that the original game had have been rewritten or removed entirely. The game really has been improved in every way.

I hope others in the industry are taking note, this is how to remake a classic game. Other recent revivals such as the excellent Monkey Island Special Editions are helping to prove that there is definitely enough elbow room for these remasters to coexist with new titles. Perhaps one day Nickelodeon and Konami will release Turtles In Time Re-Re-Shelled with the appropriate voice actors and a more faithful representation of the Fred Wolf art style, and maybe then it won't suck.

*Pointing out glitches at this point would be entirely unfair, since WayForward are working hard to fix them in an update patch.

Andrew Brown - NWR Australia Correspondent