From the few pictures I’ve posted inside my home and office, it’s no secret that I’m a big Carl Barks fan, and have been since childhood. Odds are if there is an auction, I’m bidding on it somewhere, even if silently. From #1 Gold Plate edition lithographs to figurines, comics to cookie jars, my Scrooge McDuck collection is one of the things I’ve kept with me since I was a boy, sometimes spending thousands of dollars to edge out another buyer if they are in between me and my prize. Most of them are in storage, with only a few in rotation at any given time depending on my mood. Sometimes, years will pass in between purchases, then an entire lot will go up on the block and I’ll be there. I’ve even used them as a source of inspiration, once writing a five-piece article on the lessons I learned from Scrooge in running my own portfolio and businesses.
Now that I’ve had a few days to play with the DuckTales Remastered game, available on Steam, PlayStation, and XBox 360, I have to say I’m really pleased with it, apart from a few minor details.
First, the good. Actually, the great:
- The animators did a phenomenal job on the quality of the sprites, down the details of Scrooge’s movements, breathing, cane twirling, and expressions. If I were an artist, I would have the concepts framed on my wall and proudly display them until my dying day. They were so true to the character, and yet added their own magic.
- The music re-orchestration is very good.
- The team did a great job of both keeping to the original, yet changing just enough that it feels somewhat new; a difficult line to walk.
I found a video showing a behind-the-scenes look at the art process:
They also show how the newly remastered DuckTales sound track came into being:
Now, the bad:
- The game controls are just not precise enough. The physics calculations don’t feel responsive and, in a game that involves landing on small platforms or timing jumps perfectly, it feels like you were cheated when you lose a heart or fall to your doom. It’s really unfortunate to the point that it is very noticeable. The artwork and sound are so good that it almost makes me angry they are hurt so badly by the control programming. The artists and musicians deserved better.
- The fact that you can’t speed up the text during cut-scenes (though you can skip them through the pause menu) makes the game seem slower than it should. Far from blowing through levels and having a blast, you’re constantly interrupted, destroying the flow as you get into each level.
As a result, I give it a sold B. If the physics could be fixed, I’d bump it up substantially to an A-.
I’ll probably end up buying it on all of the systems I can so I can help juice the sales figures. I might try to gift a bunch of copies, too, on Steam. I want Disney to see that the brand is still loved. (Hand to God, were I to ever become the CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation, there would be a replica Duckburg in one of the parks (think of all the adventures he went on and the ride opportunities – high-speed rafting down the Nile, riding runaway mine cart rollercoasters in abandoned mining shafts, the abandoned castle in Scotland, a McDuck Department Store like they have in Japan … it would tie in well, too, given that Scrooge is Donald Duck’s uncle.))
I’ve spent my day rocking out at work to the re-orchestrated Boss theme The developers knew their core audience as they stayed true to the 1989 original score, making their target demographic of 30-40 year old men and women sure to drown in aural nostalgia. Jake Kaufman hit it out of the park with his update of these tracks. I love what he did with the Transylvania theme (I seem to be in the minority as I always liked it better than the Moon theme, but we’re talking about degrees of perfection here).
And here they are explaining how they arranged the levels and backgrounds. It’s really cool to watch.
Until I found investing, this is what I thought I’d do with my life. If the scientific multi-verse theory is real, there is a Joshua Kennon working on projects like this somewhere out there, and it definitely still pulls my emotional heartstrings to watch it. If it weren’t for how much I love finance, and collecting dividend checks, I might even go into it. Who knows? I’m only 30. If I end up with a normal life expectancy, I’ve got another 50 years or so. I may just end up funding or acquiring a video game studio. It’s always been in the back of my mind.