Capcom DuckTales Remastered

Copyright Capcom

Copyright Capcom

Once in a while a game comes along that makes you think “I have to play that!”. Such was the case with Capcom’s “Ducktales Remastered”, which gives the popular NES game of the same name a fresh new look, ready for high def. Developed by Wayforward, who are also known for developing Contra 4.

In this remastered offering, you play as Scrooge McDuck or one of his three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, who embark on a classic adventure to exotic locations around the world, while searching for five legendary treasures. The stages are non linear, so it is up to the player to decide where to go. Levels play very much like any 8 bit platform back in the day, with the player exploring each level to pick up health, coins and defeat the various enemies that are out to stop Scrooge as he seeks his treasure.

Ducktales Remastered is a fantastic tribute to original 80’s platformer, as well as the original NES Ducktales game. Boasting hand draw characters and a lush 3D environment, you wouldn’t think it could get any better, but it does! Ducktales Remastered features the original Disney voice actors from the 80’s cartoon show, providing voices for in game dialogue. Did I mention the original theme tune has also been included in the game? While I have never played the original NES version, the remastered offering has every bit the feel of a classic platformer. For younger gamers who are used to Skyrim, Call of Duty or Asassins Creed, Ducktales may prove to be an acquired taste, but I believe the 5-10 year old will still get fun from playing these Disney characters.  Older gamers will buy this games out of nostalgia or a long standing love for retro games.  If like me, your a sucker for the cartoons you watched growing up, then this game will pander to your inner child. Ducktales Remaster is available on the Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Wii U shop and Steam.

Left DuckTales NES, Right Ducktales Remastered

Left DuckTales NES, Right Ducktales Remastered

The version I played was for the Xbox 360, which lends itself perfectly for this platformer. The controls are smooth and sharp, ten minutes in to the game and I found myself humming along to the Ducktales theme tune, completely absorbed in to my game. It is said the development team poured their heart and soul in to this Ducktales and it really does show. The love for the material radiates straight off the screen. From the music score, down to Scrooge’s chest going up and down to indicate he is breathing. The level of detail which has been put in to Ducktales, makes it one of the best games I have bought in recent years.

Credit must also be given to Capcom, for being faithful to the original game and producing a quality title that does much for the Ducktales franchise. A lesser publisher might have been tempted to cut corners, to simply cash in on the name. Something that often happened in the 80’s and 90’s, much to the frustration of Nintendo and Sega gamers alike. Any one remember Total Recall for the NES or E.T for the Atari 2600? Nuff said!

All images featured are the property of the respected owners


Retro Tinkering In 2013

HAPPY 2013!!

First of all, let me wish you all a happy new year! Hopefully
like me you’re recovering from Christmas and want to get away
from turkey sandwiches, chocolates, funny paper hats and reruns.

Never one to sit around twiddling my thumbs, I’ve found myself
with 2 Sony Playstation 3’s to fix, as well as 2 broken Nintendo
DS consoles. Now why should I be excited about that? Well I was
given a pink NDS a year ago, with the understanding it would get
swapped for a black one. Sadly that didn’t happen and I’ve hardly
touched it, I just don’t like pink, green, blue, red, black yes!
but pink? Not so much. So one of these broken NDS’s happens to be
black! it has a minor crack on the left hinge, but nothing a bit
of superglue wont fix. So hopefully I shall be covering
dismantling the NDS and swapping the cases.

The two PS3’s are both suffering from the yellow light of death,
which means they needs stripping down and the heat gun applying
to them. This wont be the first time I have done this, but it
shall be the first time I covering it in a BMV blog.

Last but not least, there will be further coverage of the
Raspberry Pi and getting it to run arcade games. Some of you who
follow my blog, may have read about the Picade. Certainly a fun
project for this tiny computer, but not the last. There are
dozens of projects this Raspberry Pi can be put to. It’s just a
matter of thinking it up.

So till the next blog, keep geeking!
As I’m currently I’ll with the norovirus, I’m going back to
playing on the Amiga CD32 and feeling sorry for myself.

Written on wordperfect with Winuae.


Gaming 90’s style Part I

I’ll begin this post by explaining my background in gaming with handheld consoles. Which began back in 1991, with my first Gameboy. Which was later succeeded with the Gameboy pocket and then Gameboy Colour. I was never a massive fan of the Gameboy Advance. As I always felt Nintendo had once more missed the point. The one thing all Gameboy fans where screaming for was a back-lit screen. Which wouldn’t come until the arrival of the Gameboy Advance SP. By that time, I’d lost my interest in Nintendo handhelds. The appeal of 3D games on the GBA was lost on me. My Sega Game Gear was far more fun to play, ok the screen could induce epileptic seizures, but with titles like Columns, Sonic and Shinobi, it was worth the risk.

I confess when they first came out, I was too busy with my Gameboy to notice. Tho I did drool with envy at the colour screen and it’s wonderfully lit screen. How many play ground standoff’s did this cause I wonder? As many as the Atari vs Amiga debate? Who knows!

Getting in to the Game Gear in 2004, made a refreshing change to gaming on the PC. With it’s simple 2D graphics, I was 13 once again. As my library of games increased, I found myself pretty much sold on the Game Gear. While Sega may have missed me in the 90’s, I was now hooked. Aliens 3, Star Trek Holodeck, Cool Spot and almost every Sonic title are amongst me GG cartridge library.

Sadly tho my trusty GG has been showing it’s age. Having already repaired the failing caps on the sound board twice. I couldn’t help notice that the screen was
becoming increasingly dimmer over time. This is due to the capacitors on the main board wearing out. Slightly apprehensive about replacing all the caps inside the GG. It came as a welcome relief to discovered someone who was offering a refurb service on Ebay. After exchanging emails, I discovered James was no stranger to consoles. With an impressive 400 serviced Game Gears already to his name. I felt happy letting him do the job. Usually I would have undertaken the task myself. However its wise to know when to stand back and bow to experience. I had two repaired sound boards to my credit, compared to James and his 400 fully refurbished consoles.

In all the refurb took only a couple of weeks, when my GG arrived back. It was like a totally different console. I can not begin to describe the difference the
refurb has made. The screen quality is vastly improved. Originally I had assumed that was how all GameGears looked. As it turned out, the failing caps where contributing to the problem. The sound is now at least 3 times louder thanks to James doing a thorough job on the sound board.

He also repairs Atari Lynx consoles and was kind enough to service my Lynx II after it stopped turning on.

James is worth his weight in gold and I recommend any retro gamer with a poorly console to seek his help.  You will find him on ebay via his username “Gearforgames“.

 


Fixing a Gameboy Screen with lines

In my last article, I covered how the Gameboys one let down was its low resolution screen. After 20+ years of service these screens are beginning to show their age as one by one, they begin to fail. If your Gameboy is one of them, the chances are it is afflicted with pesky lines running vertically up the screen. For many this means the end of their Gameboy. My own original Gameboy suffers with lines running horizontally across the screen, which is less common and not as easy to repair. Yes you heard me right, dodgy Gameboy screens can be repaired with a little know how and in some cases you don’t even need to use a soldering iron.

In To The Beast

Opening your Gameboy for the first time might seem daunting to some. Even to those of us that are used to repairing gadgets, the process is just as worrying. Luckily there is a wealth of information online, documenting the insides of the classic Gameboy. In fact a quick look on Youtube will bring up a dozen or more tutorials on how to repair the very screen issues being covered in this blog. It was through watching several of these, that I began to see where the old Gameboy was failing and how best to fix it.

I was intending to make a video showing how to fix the screen. But with the amount of videos already covering the subject, I decided it would be easier if I just include what I believe to be the creme de la creme for you to follow. All that hard work searching done for you, aren’t I nice!

This video is excellent at explaining the problems behind the screen and worth watching if you with to learn about the Gameboy’s LCD screen.

The following video guide requires you to own a soldering iron and apply it to components inside your Gameboy. Proceed at your own risk!
USE THE GREY MATTER!!! USE COMMON SENSE!


Horizontal Lines??

Now this is where things become a little sketchy and sadly disheartening. My classic Gameboy suffers not with the typical vertical lines, but horizontal ones. So how to fix them? It would seem the general consensus is not to bother even trying. The two ribbon cables connecting the LCD screen to the main PCB can not be disconnected. As such the aging solder begins to dry and crack. Unlike the bottom ribbon cable which deals with the vertical lines. The cable that deals with the horizontal is sandwiched behind the LCD and the PCB. Making any attempt with a soldering iron very hazardous. Your more likely to melt the cable then you are to mend the fault.

Even so, I still attempted a repair. Instead of using a soldering iron, i opted to use a hot air gun. The sort you would use for removing paint. I used this method of heating and softening solder on a PS3, to fix the “Yellow Light of Death”. So finding people where suggesting it online as a possible fix, did not come as a surprise.

With the Gameboy apart, and the screen laying on a non flammable surface. I set my heat gun to the lowest setting and hovered it above the screen until it turned black. Usual you can see the effect the heat is having on the solder as it begins to soften. Sadly it did not fix the issue of the horizontal lines. Which leads me the think my screen is properly dying.

Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to grab another. As I much prefer my classic Gameboy to the GB Colour or pocket.

Well I hope thats helped some of you, please drop me a post if you’d like me to cover anything in a future blog.

For now, keep geeking!


Update BBC Micro’s and Retr0 bright

So about a month ago I was toying about with the Beebem on the Nomad. A great emulator and well worth installing if your running Linux and happen to have a soft spot for retro gaming. However as is often the case with me, my thoughts drifted to the acquisition of a real BBC Micro, specifically a model B. Mainly because it was the model B, which I remember using at school and for some reason I always made sure I was sitting with this particular series. I honestly have no idea where this affinity with the “B” comes from.

So with that thought well lodged in my mind, I posted a “wanted” on the Amibay website, asking if anyone

Generous people on the internet, no way!

had an old Beeb gathering dust in a closet, which they’d be willing to give a new home. After several weeks and no resp

onse what so ever. I concluded it had been a good idea, but people where holding tightly on to their micro’s and I really did not have the funds to buy one from Ebay. If you consider a monitor, floppy drive, Model B bought all together or separate, the postage alone is worth crying over.

Then the unexpected happened, I hadn’t been on Amibay for several days and was surprised to find I had an email waiting for me when I logged in at the beginning of this week. A very polite message asking me if I was still looking for a BBC Micro and if I was, I could have one, with monitor, floppy. All for the price of postage and a couple of beers. Yes you did read that right, I’m not pulling your leg. There still exists generous people on the T’interweb!

As one might imagine, I took my time typing out a reply at around 30 letters a seconds! No sooner had I sent my reply. I received a response, saying the Beeb was still available and mine pending funds to cover the postage and consumption of fermented vegetable products. So without further ado, money was sent as soon as I had it to send. Now all I have to do is wait until next week, when hopefully the courier will be gracing me with a new addition to the vintage collection.

How long till me Beeb arrives!?

 

Retr0Brite

Finally have the last ingredients for making the retrobrite formula, originally I had intended to test the process out on a defunct A1200, but now my candidate shall be an aging Gameboy. Which sadly has succumbed to the effects of yellowing plastics. Watch this space for news on how I get on.