Gamer's Notebook

Gamer's Notebook

DuckTales makes a comeback; Disney cashes in

By Chris O'Neal 08/29/2013

 

• DuckTales Remastered is available across all platforms for $14.99

• Disney Infinity is also available across multiple platforms, with the starter kit starting at $74.99, additional character packs from $13.99 to $34.99.



Getting older? The days of sitting around the television with a bowl of cereal as you watch cartoons are over (unless you’re a 28-year-old bachelor with no shame). My generation is stuck on the past. Everything old is new again. Have you seen a twenty-something wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt lately? Or how about humming the theme song from Ducktales?


Ever since the industry — and by industry I mean every industry — discovered that clinging to a lost childhood is totally in, it has been looking for ways to monetize this. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles returned on television and in video games, while My Little Pony made a comeback and produced an entire culture of man-children who pretend that the show isn’t for little girls. This inevitably led to an attempt at recapturing the magic that made the originals mainstays in homes across 1980s’ America.


Capcom has jumped into the game of nostalgia by publishing DuckTales Remastered, a remake of the original 1989 NES title. Updated graphics, re-imagined themes and somewhat flimsy controls make this version a neat installment for adults who just can’t let it go.


Scrooge McDuck is back with a vengeance, carrying his cane and walloping the help on the head as he terrorizes several unique levels in his never-ending search for gold. Scrooge “1 percent” McDuck can only hop, never strike.


Where the game improves on the 24-year-old original is in the voice acting, imagery and soundtrack. The characters really pop with the voice acting, which will suck you right back in front of that box screen in your pajamas. Oh, hell, I’m doing it. I’m feeling nostalgic. No worries, the game is just as frustrating as the original, only this time in HD!


DuckTales Remastered falters by having less-than-perfect controls and story sequences that seem to last forever. While the supporting cast is great and all, I don’t think we need to talk to Launchpad without the ability to skip his inane dribble about planes. Furthermore, how realistic is it for a well-to-do like McDuck to stop and speak with an engine jockey? Why, I never.


Speaking of Disney, have you heard of Infinity? It’s this new thing where real figures meet video games. I don’t know what to call it. A real game? A video toy? Let’s call it what it is, Disney Infinity.


Players grab a start-up kit that sort of varies from console to console. It gets complicated, so let’s focus on one specifically. In the Xbox 360 version, the player receives three real-life action figures featuring characters from Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles. Also included is a platform. Plug this platform into your Xbox 360, place a character on the platform and voilà, you’re in the game.


Think Minecraft à la Disney. Players create and build whatever just as long as it’s kid-friendly. Pit characters against each other, i.e., Cap’n Jack Sparrow vs. Sully. There are pre-made adventures and goals, but the point of the Toy Box feature is to create your own world.


Also available are Play Sets in which characters can’t interact with others outside of their own medium and there are distinct goals. The Incredibles vs. Syndrome, for instance. Disney has done what Pokemon should have done years ago. More characters available over time, three sets of which will be available at launch. While the target audience is clearly children, let’s not pretend that it wasn’t 20- and 30-somethings in line at Disney’s E3 booth to collect an exclusive figure.


Is nostalgia bad? Well, no. It gives us leave from a reality that might not have lived up to the expectations set as a child. As with most things, nostalgia is best served in small doses.


Chris O’Neal is nostalgiac for Josta soda for some reason. Follow him on Twitter @agentoneal. 

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