Does anyone remember Duck Tales on the NES? Of course you do, especially with the remastered version on the way this summer. What better time to step back and have a nostalgic reminiscence about one of the best titles for Nintendo’s 8-bit box.
Developed by Capcom, Duck Tales had a magical spark to it. The graphics were cute, crisp and clean. The controls were precise, the concept uncluttered and the music unforgettable. Lest we forget that ‘The Moon’ theme has become a standard for any gamer in a metal band.
Duck Tales is split up into five stages; the Moon, the Amazon, Transylvania, the African Mines and the Himalayas. Each stage has it’s own graphical style, enemies and gimmicks. This creates a decent bit of variety in a pretty simple game.
Adding to the variety and replayabillity is the fact that the levels aren’t linear. You are free to explore, with multiple paths leading off to hidden goodies, secrets and bosses. Not only that, but the stages could even be tackled in any order! I know that seems like nothing these days but back then it was a pretty awesome feature.
The bosses were pretty memorable, too. They (and the entire game in general) had just the right balance of difficulty. They weren’t too challenging but were tricky enough not to be a total cakewalk. And you had to be somewhat careful because you only had a small amount of lives to finish the game with. With no save function or continue option (unless earned), ‘game over’ meant that it was back to the title screen to start over again.
Duck Tales was truly one of the best games on the NES. In fact, it was actually my personal favorite and a game I still boot up the old grey box to play from time to time (when I can get the bloody thing to work). Success inevitably brings sequels and towards the end of the NES’s lifespan, Duck Tales 2 was delivered. And was played by… absolutely no-one. Why was Duck Tales 2 such an abysmal flop? I don’t know. The game was a very solid platformer that expanded nicely upon the ideas of the original. Sure, it was more difficult and lacked the defining X element that made it’s predecessor a timeless classic, but it was in no way a bad game. It’s definitely worth checking out if you didn’t know about it and are hungry for a bit more 8-bit pogo action.
Now, the remastered edition… Hmmmm. As a real fan of the original, this is one of the most anticipated titles of the year for me. That said, I am a bit cautious. I was a huge fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtle in Time on the SNES… And the ‘Reshelled’ version of that was fucking horrendous! Disturbingly, the new Duck Tales remaster features the same type of graphical overhaul. Yes, yes, I know. They’re not the same game and nor are they from the same developer… But it still puts a knot in my stomach.
Especially dangerous is the fact that the original Duck Tales is, as I’ve said before, utterly timeless. It still looks great, has fantastic charm and plays tight as a drum. So the new remastered version had better be good, because to be outplayed by a game that’s around twenty years old would be really embarrassing… And a very distinct possibility. If I was the devs, I would be pissing in my pants!
So, kudos to the new developer for having the balls to tackle such a classic. We’re all waiting with baited breath. Please don’t cock it up. And for all those of you who haven’t tried the original… Go do that immediately. Seriously, it’s more than worth the price of a used NES.