In the mid-to-late 90s, Disney produced a cartoon Gargoyles It stood out a bit from other shows in the animation landscape. With its sequential storytelling format, rich story, and dark tone, it quickly gained a cult following throughout its run, though it never gained a large enough fan base to allow House of Mouse to blossom into a major franchise.
At the height of the show’s popularity, a video game adaptation was produced for the Sega Genesis during the twilight of the fourth generation of game consoles, although it met with middling reviews and sales. Now that Gargoyles is looking to make a comeback with the recently announced Disney+ show, it’s fitting that Disney is re-releasing the game as Gargoyles Remastered from Cali Clip Studios. With some new additions like a rewind feature and updated art and music, this revival of a half-forgotten cult classic is okay, but like other 16-bit Disney titles, it hasn’t aged that well.
The narrative in Gargoyles Remastered is loosely based on the show’s storyline, but as expected of a tie-in game from the ’90s, it doesn’t feature anywhere near the deep storytelling of the show. The plot here is handled entirely through a series of still-image cutscenes before and after levels, with a few sentences roughly explaining the premise. The basic gist is that you play as Goliath, the leader of an ancient magical clan of gargoyles from Scotland who fought evil Vikings, and after spending over a thousand years as a stone statue you are transported to modern day Manhattan. Upon awakening, Goliath finds that he must once again battle his old enemies in a new age, who seek to use the relic known as the Eye of Odin for their own nefarious purposes. It’s a great story considering the scope of the game it appears in, though it feels a bit shallow when one knows the much deeper story underlying it.
Gameplay follows the basic template of a no-frills side-scrolling action platformer. Goliath has a few swipe attacks, a close grapple move, and a double jump, while if he can speed up, he can blast through weak walls with a charge move. There are five (technically six) levels to fight your way through, each designed in a relatively linear and somewhat chaotic fashion. The whole thing takes you an hour at most, provided you don’t lose lives and have to start over.
While it’s fun to experience a somewhat obscure piece of gaming history, it’s clear that Gargoyles came out at the height of an era where developers made games unreasonably difficult so kids couldn’t beat it for a weekend rental. Enemies take enormous amounts of health, while rare, hidden health pickups restore almost nothing. During the challenging platforming segments, there are frequent instances where off-screen enemies will hit you with a variety of attacks. The hit detection on your attacks is weird, it doesn’t make it completely clear that you didn’t actually hit the enemy even though it looks like the attack connected.
To its credit, there’s something oddly charming about a retro game that feels jockey this way, but the novelty wears off pretty fast. Fortunately, Gargoyles has made it a much easier experience this time around thanks to the introduction of the Rewind feature, which lets you replay things in seconds to retry difficult sections as many times as you like. This certainly makes things more bearable, but it also has the effect of removing the difficulty that made this game ‘long’ in the first place. Roll the credits after an hour and there’s nothing to do but replay from the beginning.
As for its presentation, Gargoyles Remastered has a neat feature where you can seamlessly switch between the original Genesis release and the new remastered version with the tap of a button, unlike the excellent Wonder Boy: The Dragon Trap. Gameplay and physics are identical between the two versions, so which one you use is a matter of personal taste. We acknowledged the 16-bit original’s more exotic visuals and crunchy sound bites; New art and remastered soundtrack Well doneBut it feels a bit out of character and loses the original atmosphere.
It’s also a bit disappointing that Gargoyles doesn’t have the gallery content featured in the Disney Classic Games Collection. This isn’t entirely unexpected given the TV show’s status as the unloved stepfather of Disney’s ’90s cartoons catalog, but it would still be nice to see concept art, marketing materials, and some developer interviews about the making of the original game. or show. Additionally, one can’t help but wonder why it was omitted here, given that Disney has already shown a willingness to feature such content for recent re-releases of other games from the same era.
For that matter, it seems odd that Gargoyles Remastered is a standalone release and not included as DLC in the Disney Classic Games Collection. The Jungle Book and the SNES version Aladdin A few years after that game’s initial release. Maybe it’s not ‘classic’ enough? At launch, Gargoyles Remastered will run you 15 bucks, but you The biggest A fan of Gargoyles, the value proposition for this release is undoubtedly low.
Gargoyles Remastered is an OK remaster of an OK game. Its moody 16-bit visuals and challenging difficulty will no doubt appeal to some, especially fans of the show, but its short length and mostly illogical design certainly keep it from greatness. If you can find it on good sale down the road, we’d say it’s worth it — it’s entertaining enough despite its flaws — but you’re not really going to lose a ton if you opt for it. Get over it.