Title: Gargoyles Remastered
Developer: Empty Clip Studios
Release Date: October 19, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Action Adventure
I love nostalgia. In fact, I actively find myself looking for experiences that remind me of my younger days through gaming. However, while Gargoyles the animated series consumed my Saturday mornings, I never played the video game adaptation. With the release of Gargoyles Remastered, I finally have the opportunity to dive back into this gothic world to see what I missed out on. That said, I can only imagine the frustration this game would have caused me as a kid, given the many headaches it’s given me as an adult.
Graphics and Menus: A Mixed Bag
Gargoyles Remastered packs in everything from the original Sega Genesis release with some added updates to the graphics and systems. When it comes to the remastered offerings, it’s all pretty surface-level, but I did enjoy the one-button press switch to retro graphics.
However, the menus lack personality and flair, bringing down the overall presentation. The main menu doesn’t offer many extras either. I would have loved to see an art gallery or history here to enhance this remastered effort, but what you see is what you get. Outside of new difficulty options, this is a faithful recreation of the original, for better or for worse.
The Disappointing Gameplay Experience
However, the key word there is worse because this game is not good. After the first stage, I can see why it isn’t regarded as one of the Disney Software greats next to The Lion King and Aladdin. Well, let me just add the original graphics are awesome. As boring as the environments and enemies are, the gothic presentation in pixel art looks amazing. Also, the music is great no matter which mode you play in, but that’s where the compliments stop.
The game’s frustratingly challenging platforming sections and lackluster combat left me longing for a more enjoyable gaming experience.
Gargoyles Remastered throws you into the action from the start. Upon starting a level, you’ll be attacked within seconds, which becomes a constant theme for level beginnings moving forward. You have a basic melee attack tied to a button press, so get to mashing because that’s your only attack for the entire game. Strangely, it’s really difficult to even tell if your hits connect. The Remastered animations, while they resemble the cartoon, don’t really translate to this style of gameplay, making me wish they developed an entirely new game and simply offered the original as an extra.
Navigating the Challenges
Further, some enemies seemed to absorb attacks as I stun-locked them until they eventually fell. I never could tell if I was hitting the enemy or not. In the event that multiple enemies are approaching you, there’s no defense; you simply have to hope that you have enough health to make it through. I will say that although this game is very challenging, the biggest obstacle isn’t the enemies, environmental hazards, or even the bosses. No, it’s the vaulting poles. I think the developers knew this because there are level sections dedicated to these annoying things that take pixel-perfect precision to get through.
The entire gaming experience comes off as broken as I found myself constantly trying to cheese through each section. Even during bosses, there are ways to stun lock them without taking any damage. It’s sad, but I honestly became so frustrated with dying that I opted for such low means to progress. There’s also a rewind feature that works exceptionally well, as you can trigger it with the press of a button. However, there isn’t an onscreen menu that lets you see the timeline or anything.
Despite its graphical charm, Gargoyles Remastered feels like a missed opportunity to breathe new life into a childhood favorite
Aside from that, the experience is over before it began. There’s very little to experience through the game because you’ll see pretty much everything it has to offer from the first stage. Your approach to combat or navigation doesn’t change outside of a few maze-like puzzles. It creates an experience that I was never excited to pick up and play.
A Remastered Nostalgia Trip for Die-Hard Fans
No one asked for Gargoyles Remastered, and I can see why. While the 16-bit gothic graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay does not hold up regardless of what style you’re playing in. The combat is dull, the platforming sections are frustratingly difficult due to bad controls, the bosses are laughable, and the experience is over before you know it. Although the added modes and rewind feature are cool, I’d say this is a Remastered release for the die-hards only and not a reason to play a game that you think you missed out on.
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