Ducktales; old Vs new stone

The first minutes in each stage seems to be blah blah blah rather than playing games. The reason the video cuts so fast to the Remastered version is not to focus on it, rather it’s to show the plot! it has going for while pausing the NES game. The worst offender here is the new coin bits, where the game just halts until the dialogue has been delivered. There is no reason for these bits to be in there. These same coin descriptions should be at the end of each stage, or perhaps in the item description screen somewhere between the stages. Halting your action for things like this is not good game design. The inclusion of mode hidden treasure is neat, but I also wish that all the stages have been expanded accordingly at least 30%. If not, the only reason this game is longer than the original is because there’s more talking and less action.

Well, setting the completely unnecessary blabbering in the stages, this video gives a bit more insight on how the stages have been remastered, and the jungle looks a bit boring. First, the lush forest looks decent, good even, but the brown stones that come soon enough into the scene is just off. It doesn’t look good. It’s drab boring brown that doesn’t work for the lush forest. Why not go for the extra mile and make it looks like proper bedrock stone. Or even better, if it’s Incan treasure they’re looking for, the stone colour they could have there could look like your generic stone looks like in Peru. And you know what, even if the stone is very brownish in Peru, you could use a sort of patter for it, like what the Stonewalls of Cuzco looks like. You have those Incan stone tablets laying in the jungle, so why not go the extra mile rather than use huge, almost empty blocks of colours with slight cracks?  The NES version, while using (arguably) duller grey, the stones look far more interesting and natural due to the design of them. That, and the entrance to underground has that nice green hue to indicate that there’s something of interest in there. In both versions the entrance is clearly visible, but Remastered doesn’t invite you in, not even with the added pylons.

Speaking of the underground, it looks neat. The NES had it’s limitations, but I’m glad to see that the Remastered manages to pull of large cavern look well enough. However, the stone colours still bug me, as does the spiked plants design. In the NES version you see that it’s dangerous, that you do not want to touch it. Because how the visuals have been designed in Remastered, the ground doesn’t look any less dangerous than the rest of the plants that are not man-eating.

Good question is whether or not the stone is natural in the wine-climbing spot. In the NES version is can be accepted as natural mostly due to its colour and design, but in the Remastered it looks like it was cut and just put there. Did the Incans cut a whole mountain like that just for that one temple? Well, not entirely impossible I guess, but that’s would be stupid even for Ducktales. The colours change slightly in the later level, and the spike vines now look actually dangerous. However, the stone now looks sterile. It has been looking sterile the whole time.

The reason why I’m harping at the stone this much is mostly because I love to work with stone and I’ve visited handful of different stone quarries. Only cut stone looks so sterile. Very rarely natural stone is so blocky, unless it’s few specific varying types. However, here inside the temple this kind of cut stone works like a wonder amidst other stone crafts like statues. Now it looks like a natural thing when it’s clearly inside an unnatural construct overall. Before that the cut stone design doesn’t work because you’re clearly inside a natural environment as depicted by the caverns. So, what would’ve been better? you ask. Advancing from natural stone to cut stone temple, of course. Imagine the effect the game could’ve had if the starts from the jungle with natural stone and with each “area” of sorts it shows more and more cut stone elements, until finally the player reaches the temple where the rough, raw natural stone is morphed into sleek cut stone. This is sadly a visual design that would demand the designer to look at every area of the visuals from location to history and so on to actually bring in a proper design. Perhaps I’m harping on the whole stone design a bit too much, but it’s just a symptom for me. There’s something wrong with this game at the moment, and partially it’s in the visuals. While it looks decent and is highly defined, a lot of things just don’t mess with each other properly. The stone is just one thing I notice the most at the moment, and the weird mishmash of Disney’s influence within the last 30 years, eg. the spiders certainly look something Disney wouldn’t do nowadays while the Incas do look something what you could find in the Ducktales cartoon. Gorillas on the other hand look just weird, a bit too modern against the other two.

It also doesn’t help that the game overall is colourful and then the stones are brown. We’ve have enough of that colour for some time. Then again, it might be sandstone. Sandstone temple atop a mountain, sure…

Now the revamped boss looks first a bit silly. Why would they want to change a guardian statue that fits the overall design to a head? Oh, the they changed the whole room into a boss. If the stone would still be sandstone, Scrooge should be able to scratch it into tiny bits. Sandstones not the sturdiest substance to built your stone guardian. Some visual design choices still bug me here; why is there so much dust in the head’s trail, when the stone is clean? Why does the head jump high enough to hit the ceiling but doesn’t bump into it? I know the dust is an effect of tradition, but it looks silly and unnecessary. At least they could’ve thrown some very thin layer of dust or sand unto the ground from where the dust would rise. Then again, most likely the room as been undisturbed thousands of years. Or then not, as there’s people walking around it and the Incans are very much aware of its existence.

Perhaps I’m ripping this one level a new hole for no reason. Perhaps I just don’t want to wait and read through unnecessary dialogue to get into the game. Now that I think about this for a moment, WayForward’s Bloodrayne had very small amaount of these story scenes compared what it could’ve had.

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