Nostalgia is a funny little human trait. Funny, but dangerously powerful. Whack a childhood tune on a mobile network advert and our souls are simultaneously tagged and accounted for. But videogames are a very different beast to music and, more often than not, we wish we hadn't given someone the opportunity to crush our dreams. Duck Tales Remastered might not devastate your dreams but it'll draw tears of despair under those rose-tinted glasses.
Based on the hugely successful, 100-episode-strong cartoon series, the 1990 NES platformer was, and is, widely regarded as one of the best NES games in existence. On the surface, at least, this modern day update should be a runaway (waddleaway?) success but, rather than the reimagining many were hoping for, publisher Capcom has instead opted for an HD remake... and so the problems begin.
I know what fans of the cartoon/game are thinking. How can this possibly have been screwed up? The raw materials are sat there begging to be propelled to hi-def glory. Turns out HD isn't the magic wand cash-strapped publishers so desperately want it to be.
The game itself is a straightforward, side-scrolling platformer in which Scrooge McDuck is on the search for money and treasure across five themed levels (African Mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, Transylvania and The Moon). Scrooge can use his walking stick as a pogo (either to jump higher, or to nail enemies) or as a golf swing-style weapon.
On the NES it was great. Five different levels! Cartoon-quality animation! OMG, it's Huey, Dewey and Louie... AND Launchpad!!! The remake triggers those very same feelings. You'll shiver with duckbumps at the retro Capcom sizzle. You'll have the neighbours bashing down the door after you've listened with maniacal glee to the theme music for the 20th time. You'll sigh like a lovesick teenager when you first see the glorious HD graphics and hear the voices of the super-cute duckling triplets. But a mere 10 minutes later that warmly glowing nostalgia will be replaced by mind-numbing boredom.
Put simply, the gameplay just doesn't stand up to the test of time. The platforming is solid enough but it's so boring and so short-lived. You rarely ever see more than three characters onscreen at once. At one point a level intro sequence throws up dozens of rampaging enemy goons and a tingle of excitement makes your hands shake until you're thrown back into tedium just a few seconds later.
The foundations are there for greatness, but as it is the game just feels soulless and empty. What this game needs is more... of everything. A reimagining of this game would see more goons on screen, more power-ups, more collectibles, more levels and, crucially, more surprises.
If you manage to stave off the boredom you'll have seen everything inside of three hours. That the 'infinite' Cloudberry Kingdom sells for just £8 while this will set you back a whopping £13.50 speaks volumes.
Ironically the only gamers who will take to this are the 3-8 year olds, the very opposite audience to which this nostalgia-laden fan service was originally aimed at. A shame.