Ducktales Remastered on Linux

Woo hoo!

Scrooge and the Terra Firmians

A recent Steam update included the latest version of Proton (4.11), Valve’s Windows to Linux compatibility layer based off Wine. Along side the improvements was a list of newly whitelisted games that meet the quality standards necessary to be automatically available to download and play on Linux. Most of the games on the list I’d never even heard of, but I do have Ducktales Remastered. I had played it years ago, I remembered not having finished the game, and I figured this would make a nice test for Steam’s compatibility progress.

Ducktales Remastered is a lovingly crafted remake of the 1989 NES classic, Ducktales. The original had good music (especially the moon song) for its time and solid, responsive controls. However certain aspects that seemed normal for the time feel downright clunky these days. “Pogo jumping,” making Scrooge McDuck hop around on his cane like a pogo stick, required you to press down for every hop. And make no mistake, the original is an 80’s game so it pulls no punches. I think it can be best summed up as “mostly fair, but unforgiving.”

Ducktales Remastered

The remake streamlines mechanics to make a better game. The original “hard pogo” is an available option, however the default no longer requires you to press down every hop. Remastered keeps the original “old school” difficulty but adds additional difficulty levels to increase accessibility. Best of all, people behind the remake knew the original had some timeless music and made sure to stay faithful to the originals while no longer being limited by NES hardware.

The art style of Ducktales really shows the care that was put into making the game. Everything has an art style that fits right in with the 1980’s Ducktales cartoon show. Most of the original voice actors reprised their roles for this game. The story has been fleshed out more, but it’s mostly to service as a flimsy pretext to include characters (and the voice actors) one last time. It’s not Shakespeare, but it doesn’t need to be. I really enjoy hearing Alan Young voice Scrooge McDuck, even if some of the random voice dialog gets a bit repetitive. “A diamond the size of …um Mrs. Beakly!” If I’m reading this correctly, Ducktales Remastered is the second to last or third to last time Alan Young ever voiced the world’s richest duck.

So how does Ducktales Remastered work on Linux with Steam’s compatibility layer? It works extremely well; perhaps too well. I was flying through the game, thoroughly enjoying this “old school” romp, when I reached the final boss battle and the game crashed. I tried again and it crashed. The game had been performing perfectly up until the end. Dismayed, I went searching to find out if there was any Proton/Wine fix for this issue. Instead, I quickly found that crashing at the final boss was a common issue for the game since its release in 2013. I suddenly remember why I had never finished the game years ago, the game would crash for me at the final boss. I had set the game aside intending to return to it and beat the game when the game was updated to fix the game breaking bug. Obviously, that fix never happened. So this was never a Proton/Wine issue. How’s that for a slogan, “Proton/Wine is so good that even game breaking bugs are perfectly replicated!”

This puts me into a bit of a bind. I love the game’s charm, the art style, the voice acting, the music, and the faithful recreation of 1980’s platforming goodness, but I can’t overlook the fact that I and many others experience a game breaking bug that was never fixed. Yes, this did work great up until the end, and yes, this does only happen at the very end of the game. However, I simply cannot recommend a game where I and others cannot complete a game due to a bug that was never fixed.