DuckTales (video game)
Original cover art for DuckTales
Disney Interactive Studios
DuckTales (わんぱくダック夢冒険 Wanpaku Dakku Yume Bōken?, lit. "Naughty Ducks Dream Adventures") is an action platformer video game developed by Capcom and based on the Disney animated TV series of the same name. It was first released in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989 and was later ported to the Game Boy in 1990. The story involves Scrooge McDuck traveling around the globe collecting treasure and outwitting his rival Flintheart Glomgold to become the world's richest duck.
Produced by key personnel from the Mega Man series, DuckTales would go on to sell over a million copies worldwide on each system, becoming Capcom's best-selling title for both platforms. The game was praised for its tight control, unique and non-linear gameplay and bright presentation, and is often regarded as one of the best titles for the NES, appearing on numerous "Best of" lists.
DuckTales was followed by a sequel, DuckTales 2, in 1993. A Remastered version of DuckTales developed by WayForward Technologies, featuring high resolution graphics and the original voice cast from the show, was released in 2013 for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U.
The game sees players in the role of Scrooge McDuck as he travels around the world in search of five treasures to further increase his fortune. Scrooge is able to attack enemies and get around using his cane. On the ground, Scrooge can swing his cane to attack enemies and break open or throw certain objects. While jumping, Scrooge can bounce on his cane like a pogo stick to attack enemies from above. This also allows him to reach higher areas, as well as bounce across hazardous areas that would hurt him on foot. Along the way, Scrooge can find various diamonds, found in treasure chests or appearing in certain areas, to increase his fortune and ice cream that can restore his health. Scrooge will also encounter various characters from the series who have various roles, such as providing hints, offering up items and opening up new areas.
Five levels are available in DuckTales: African Mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, Transylvania and The Moon. The player can visit the levels in any order and can revisit them in order to access new areas unlocked after collecting certain items. Each level culminates in a boss battle that the player must defeat to retrieve that level's treasure. There are also two secret treasures hidden within some of the levels. When all five main treasures are collected, the player returns to Transylvania for the final boss fight. Upon completing the game, the player can receive one of three endings based on his performance: a regular ending for simply clearing the game, a great ending for clearing the game with both hidden treasures and at least $10,000,000, and a bad ending for clearing the game with $0.
Although Capcom had previously worked with Disney by publishing the Hudson-produced Mickey Mousecapade in North America in 1988, DuckTales became the first licensed game from the company that they actually developed, and shared many key personnel with the original Mega Man series including producer Tokuro Fujiwara, character designer Keiji Inafune, and sound programmer Yoshihiro Sakaguchi.
Revisions to the game included the removal of crosses from the coffins in the Transylvania stage, replacing them with the letters "RIP", replacing hamburgers as power-ups with ice cream, and the omission of an option for Scrooge to lose all his money, which was deemed too "un-Scrooge-like." A leaked prototype cartridge from a private collector reveals several differences between the original unfinished version and the final release, such as different level names, unused music for the Transylvania stage, slower tempo on the music for the Moon stage, unused or altered text, and the character GizmoDuck going by his Japanese name "RoboDuck". Despite the changes, images of the unfinished beta version could be seen in the 1990 books Consumer Guide: Hot Tips for the Coolest Nintendo Games and the NES Game Atlas by Nintendo.
DuckTales was later ported to the Game Boy in late 1990. This version features the same gameplay, music and levels of the original console release, though the layout of each level was changed to accommodate the handheld's lower resolution screen.
DuckTales was a commercial success, with the NES and Game Boy versions selling approximately 1.67 million and 1.43 million copies worldwide respectively, each becoming Capcom's highest-selling titles for their respective platforms. It was released to generally positive reviews, with Electronic Gaming Monthly praising the NES version for its gameplay and colorful graphics, calling it "a prime example of very good game design." The magazine would additionally comment that the title was probably made "with younger players in mind" due to its short length and relative lack of difficulty or complexity, declaring that "you'll probably enjoy this game but find it beaten after the first day of play." Conversely, Mean Machines magazine would call the game "very tough and challenging", elaborating that "it requires plenty of skill to get all the way through the game in one go." Nintendo Power would later call the Game Boy port "a faithful translation from the NES version."
Nintendo Power would list DuckTales as the 13th best Nintendo Entertainment System game in 2008, praising it as fun in spite of being a licensed product. The magazine would later place the game 44th in its list of the "285 Greatest Games of All Time" in 2012. In 2009, website IGN would rank the title 10th on its list of the 100 greatest NES games, remarking that "Out of all of the games built on Capcom's famous Mega Man architecture (but wasn't an actual Mega Man game), Duck Tales is perhaps the best of the bunch." Official Nintendo Magazine would also include the game at number 85 on their own list of the "100 Best Nintendo Games" that same year, and 9th in its "Top Ten Best NES Games" list in 2013. It also placed 9th on 1UP.com's "Top 25 NES Games" feature in 2010, and 12th in GamesRadar's own "Best NES Games of All Time" list in 2012.
Creative director of DuckTales Remastered Matt Bozon called the music of DuckTales "some of the best 8-bit music [he's] ever heard," with his developer team citing themes as that of the Transylvania and Himalayas stages as memorable. Polygon cites the "Moon Theme" as the most famous piece of music from the title, with Geekparty calling it "the most perfect piece of 8-bit music ever written."
A remake of the game, titled DuckTales: Remastered, was released in 2013 for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U and in 2015 for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Developed by WayForward Technologies, Remastered features updated graphics and music, expanded story content, and full voice-acting for the characters, including the surviving members of the animated series' cast. The original game's levels are included, but expanded with new areas and new boss patterns, along with two new levels exclusive to Remastered.
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