Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

F200- Better Than Sleed

Nothing gets between a Greed and what it wants. Whether that's a locked chest, your purse, or those little plasticy tags that explode into ink when you take them out of a store. Your feeble ink cannot stop the Greeds!

Today's page marks the 200th Fugue update! And what better page to celebrate 200 than one with a nice bit of exploring and team unity?


Quick Critique: Duck Tales Remastered

To get the important things out of the way first, the NES Duck Tales game soundtrack is some of the finest game music ever composed. It came from an era where Capcom's musicians could do no wrong. After hearing how bad Virt's soundtrack was for the remake and how they butchered fantastic tracks like the Moon and Transylvania, I passed over the new version of the game. A proper Moon remix already exists and you can listen to it at: https://youtu.be/EwbMkIROOGU
After finding out there was a patch that added the NES music back in and a good sale, I came back and gave it a shot. And surprise, they lock you out of using the good NES music until you've already finished the game. Off to a bad start.
DTR is unfortunately the typical WayForward fare: a great idea but horrible execution. It has constantly repeating voice clips and hearing Scrooge say that he's never seen a diamond like that before despite me having heard him say that about dozens of diamonds already gets pretty tiring. The hit detection is all wonky and the enemies' collision can extend far beyond their sprite so you get hit by things that aren't touching you. There are hidden items in levels, but you can't replay levels to go back and get them until after you beat the game, which defeats the purpose. It's constantly interrupting gameplay for story segments that are fairly meaningless. I watched the heck out of some Duck Tales as a kid and the writing here is spot on and the voice acting is fantastic, but it's super annoying to have these segments forced into the gameplay and wrench control away from you. I don't need to hear Scrooge explain that I found a coin and describe the image on it for every single objective I find. It's a video game, I know what collecting the giant ornamental coins does. WayForward made me angry at Scrooge McDuck and I never wanted to be angry at Scrooge McDuck. I think I secretly sided with Scrooge when he was a jerk to Mickey in the Christmas Carol movie. Scrooge is just that awesome. It's not you, Mr. McD, it's WayForward's fault. Oh, and it should totally be "Mr. McD" not "Mr. McDee". Stupid Launchpad. And I'm pretty okay with being angry at Launchpad. Not only did you suck in Duck Tales, but then you had to go and suck in Darkwing Duck too.
Anywhere they added to the original game, it's less fun. Boss fights have extra parts so they go on too long and quickly become not fun. From just the tutorial stage boss, you have to go through his cycles five times to win, dealing with the lousy hit detection on his projectiles and that for some reason you can't pogo off the clearly solid objects he throws. If you die, you have to replay the entire stage all over again, which means you have to regularly pause to skip the cinematics every other minute. There's a new final stage that isn't fun at all and feels very different from the rest of the game, then the final boss is different and too long, and after the race at the end, they added a completely unnecessary second race. It's extra sad too because the base game is still so good. If you strip away what WayForward added, base Duck Tales is still great. The levels are varied and interesting. Cane pogo-ing is never not fun. It's silly and whimsical and you fight a giant rat on the Moon or the duck version of Dracula. Tell me that "Flintheart Glomgold" is not a great name and that beating him at the end isn't a triumphant moment and you are probably a liar.
The 2D art is fantastic, but combining it with the 3D backgrounds and objects is awful. They made no effort to have the 3D match the 2D. If you're going to combine the two, make sure the lighting and colors are remotely similar. If it was cel shaded or something, that probably would have been fine, but for what the game uses, there's a real dissonance between Scrooge and things like the treasure chests, ropes, or 1-Ups.
You can unlock the music using the money you find in stages, but they're gated so you have to go through dozens of really uninteresting background sketches until you can get to the songs. The character portraits were fine since you could compare them to the original sprites, but to unlock pencil sketches of the backgrounds that didn't look that great in the actual game to then unlock more refined sketches to then unlock colored backgrounds before you can unlock the music was a terrible idea.
Only after beating the game can you actually make it fun. You then get to use the proper NES music and there's an option to reduce the number of cutscenes. For some reason you can't get rid of all of them and you still have to complete all the shoehorned in extra objectives, but not having the game constantly interrupt you is nice. So that was fun. Fewer interruptions, awesome music, I picked up all the heart containers so I was super overpowered, and I could just enjoy the stages. Up until the game locked up after trying to skip one of the Mrs. Beakley cutscenes and I had to shut down the PS3 to get off a black screen. What the hell, Wayforward?