Evidently, some of the gamer magazine reviewers were not too pleased with the inclusion of "so much" interstitial material in this release. For them, the play's the thing. Those of us whose loyalty is to the animated series, rather than the mechanical imperatives of joystick manipulation, know better.
The running backstory here lasts 76 minutes, two minutes longer than the running time of DuckTales: The Movie. It's only natural, therefore, to consider Scrooge and company's search for five long-lost treasures, and their ongoing entanglements with the Beagle Boys, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica de Spell, and several additional (and, in some cases, surprisingly familiar) foes, as being a "second movie" of sorts. What is more unexpected is that the material hangs together well enough to actually merit a comparison to a theatrical feature. This is to the game designers' credit.
the original Capcom game), and decisions as to the next treasure to find. During each individual treasure hunt, Scrooge must literally put together a number of subpieces -- scraps of paper, golden coins, sections of the Gizmosuit, etc. -- before discovering the headlined bauble. Once all the treasures are in place, the "allied" Flinty and Magica (a first -- and, as one might expect, a "marriage" that will prove to be very short-lived) intervene, and the Ducks' struggles against them constitute the remainder of the gameplay. In the end, Scrooge winds up empty-mitted, but he doesn't mind, since he and his friends and family have gotten to enjoy "the adventure of a lifetime."
The Land of Trala La." The only difference is that, the third time around, the boys are all in the same cage.
Rota-like masse towards the Bin, the only individual Beagles to get any game time are those old standbys: Big Time, Burger, Bouncer, and Baggy. They're not searching for riches, but rather, an old painting that holds a "secret code" giving directions to the various treasures. First on the "finding line": the Sceptre of the Incan King, deep in the Amazon jungle. (Yes, this does make geographical sense... barely.)
Scrooge's Pet," among other episodes. Unfortunately, LP doesn't get any chances, here or anywhere else, to truly prove his mettle, serving instead as a means of (frequently bumpy) transportation from place to place. The local natives who cede the Sceptre to Scrooge (and giggle behind Scrooge's back that the "treasure" is actually King Manco Capquack's old back-scratcher) look like miniature versions of the somewhat more, er, "traditionally depicted" locals of "Jungle Duck." Their chief is extremely well-spoken, which should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone living in 2014.
Cue grumbling from Britishers in the audience.) The McGuffin in play here is the Coin of the Lost Realm. Both Scrooge and HD&L are in familiar form during this trek, with hard-headed Scrooge pooh-poohing the existence of "vampires, banshees" and similar ephemera (evidently, he's forgotten all about the events of "Ducky Horror Picture Show") and HD&L dissing Webby as "a big chicken." Karma comes to call when the boys subsequently fall into a trap, and it's up to Scrooge to save their tail feathers. The Beagle Boys, disguised as ghosts, wander around the castle and cause mischief for a while, but Magica is the (entirely appropriate) main foe here.
Alan Young sounds a bit subdued, as one would expect of a 94-year-old, but his Scrooge is right on point. Ditto the HD&L and Webby of the 70-year-old Russi Taylor. Chuck McCann, Terry McGovern, and Frank Welker are themselves, nuff said. As for June Foray... well, if her accent for Magica has slipped just a bit, then that is certainly understandable for someone who will turn 97 this fall. The signature cackle and attitude remain pretty much intact.
Magica's appearance in the mirror is the occasion for what is, remarkably, Webby's first-ever comment about Magica, at least in an animated format:
The next two treasure treks add to our comforting sense of familiarity by directly retracing the steps of DuckTales -- and Barks -- adventures past. First, Scrooge and HD&L visit Scrooge's African diamond diggings in search of the Giant Diamond of the Inner Earth, only to discover a panicked workers' stampede that seems -- and sounds -- mighty familiar:
Earth Quack," though their King (once again, voiced by Welker) is a little more distinctively characterized this time around, and they refer to the diamonds that are interfering with their "Great Games" as "garbage rocks." After defeating the King in a roll-and-crash-off, Scrooge has little trouble acquiring the Giant Diamond as part of a deal to take out the rest of the "garbage."
The post-Africa Money Bin confab also features my favorite line in the "movie" (starting at time mark 35:05 in the video). The line itself isn't exceptionally witty, but Russi Taylor's reading of it is. She lays on the sarcasm with a trowel, as if she were channeling a line from the slightly more cynical Nephews of Barks' later period. Or, perhaps Russi has spent so much time working on The Simpsons by now that she finds it easier to sound snarky, no matter what character she is voicing. You be the judge.
The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan. And the Ducks need to find it in Shadow Pass, no less. The setup isn't quite the same as it was in the TV episode. In a gambit reminiscent of Scrooge's reverse psychology in "The Golden Goose, Part 2," HD&L are left at home this time, while Webby is charged with "looking after them." But Webby isn't to be put off so easily this time. Instead, in the time-honored (if not wholly time-justified) tradition, she tags along.
callback to the series, Webby claims to have gotten her ability to deal with monster-speak from the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook. (And she doesn't even need to consult it in order to tell what the monster is growling -- most impressive.) The "thorn" plaguing the Yeti turns out to be the Lost Crown itself. A bit simpler than DT's original telling of the tale, but perfectly acceptable. Launchpad manages to get in a variation of a much-beloved line from the TV episode when he claims, "Usually, it's me the girls go ga-ga for."
Hamilton Camp's Fenton was enthusiastic and somewhat naive, but he wasn't "goony." Scrooge's insults to Fenton seem a bit more justified here than they did in the series, which I don't think was the idea.
At least this Fenton seems a bit more on the ball when it comes to protecting his secret identity. He is well aware that Gyro might get suspicious when he disappears and Gizmoduck reappears. Scrooge blows it off by making a derogatory reference to Gyro's deductive reasoning skills, but the fact remains that Fenton was aware of the issue. (Of course, there is always the distinct possibility that Gyro learned the truth about Fenton when he rebuilt the Gizmosuit after the original suit was destroyed in "Attack of the Metal Mites." Given how thoroughly the series had mucked up the issue of Fenton's secret ID by the end, perhaps we should simply pretend that this whole sequence doesn't exist.)
Scrooge bests Glomgold, the Beagle Boys, and a giant rat (yes, really) for the Green Cheese and returns to Earth... only to find that Flinty and the Beagles have HD&L and the other treasures in their possession. Flinty has barely finished chortling over securing the treasures and thereby becoming the richest Duck in the world (exactly how he would do that is never made clear; perhaps he was planning on auctioning them off, or something?) when Magica blows in and assumes ownership. Intending to use the treasures to revive Count Dracula Duck and "rule the world" (a parlay of similar opacity to Glomgold's), Magica takes HD&L as hostages, demanding the Old Number #1 Dime in exchange. (It's always good to have a backup plan, especially when it should be the main plan.) Flinty and Scrooge decide on a "Robot Robbers" redo and agree to cooperate in order to get HD&L and the treasures back. If this isn't confusing enough already, just wait.
Scrooge and Flinty brave a couple of snares inside Mount Vesuvius -- with Scrooge doing all of the heavy lifting, big surprise -- before the showdown in Magica's lair. (Sorry, Greg, but there's no pentagram in evidence this time.) There, Glomgold proves that he's been playing a double game all along by swiping Old #1. Magica uses the treasures to summon Dracula Duck, whom Scrooge must then dispatch. Dracula's demise turns out to be surprisingly creepy, with the undead monster writhing in apparent agony before drying up to ashes and blowing away.
Magica's lair subsequently begins to fall apart (huh??), and HD&L's cage breaks, freeing the lads (ditto??). To finish the job, Scrooge must recover Old #1 from Flinty and Magica, who are tussling over it. Glomgold won't give the dime up until Magica hands over the treasures... and, here, I really must object. Magica used the treasures to summon Dracula, so, presumably, they don't exist any more, just as Old #1 would no longer exist if Magica were to melt it down to become part of a magical amulet. Glomgold must therefore be either exceptionally naive or exceptionally stupid, neither of which I can truly buy. To me, this is the most questionable moment of the entire narrative. The fact that it comes at the climax is most unfortunate.
Scrooge short-circuits the villains' somewhat contrived quarrel by barging in and recovering the dime. Following a 'copter rescue from a fiery fate, we get a flyoff scene suspiciously reminiscent of the ending of "Send in the Clones." Given that "Clones" was Magica's first major starring role *annoyed side glance at "Magica's Magic Mirror"*, there's a pleasing symmetry in this.
Back in Duckburg, the proverbial "whole gang" grins with glee as Glomgold and the Beagle Boys are carted off in the paddy wagon. (Seeing as how Flinty was last seen hanging onto Vulture Magica's tail feathers, while Magica had transformed the Beagles into pigs before taking her leave of Scrooge's office, there are some obvious continuity issues here.) We iris out on a reprise of a familiar gag from "Scroogerello." Scrooge's short-bordered generosity is even narrower than it appears to be; he takes HD&L to the ice-cream shop while ignoring everyone else, including Webby. Somehow, I don't think that the "wee lassie" would take that dissement lying down. Perhaps she will defy Scrooge and tag along again? (Let's not even talk about Bubba's reaction.)
The creators of DuckTales Remastered have a lot to be proud of. With the perspective of a quarter-century and the help of advanced technology, they were able to revamp a much-loved video classic while using the cutscenes to pay a more elaborate, and highly knowledgeable, tribute to the series that inspired it. That mythical 101st episode of DuckTales? Close enough, I deem.
Oh, there's another DuckTales-related video game out there, you say?
Actually, this one is of comparatively little interest to DT fans. Alan Young and Terry McGovern do appear as the voices of Scrooge and Launchpad, and Flintheart Glomgold, Magica de Spell, and Ma Beagle are the villains who have absconded with Scrooge's (ugh) loot, but the gameplay features a generic Duck-boy character. (HD&L are off visiting Uncle Donald, in case you're wondering.) It appears to be a pleasant diversion for gaming enthusiasts, nothing more, nothing less.
Some DUCKTALES comics reviews should be coming your way next.