Disney just released a remaster of their 1995 Sega Genesis game, “Gargoyles.” This was a challenging platformer loosely based on their 1994 hit cartoon series of the same name. At its original release, Scott Larry of GamePro called it “One of the best games for Genesis…” However, what about this remaster? Is it worth playing?
The story is pretty straightforward: Ancient Vikings created a magical weapon that they used to attack the home of the Gargoyles. After the siege on the castle, Goliath goes under a spell that keeps him locked away for a thousand years. Upon his release, he must fight the evils of this ancient weapon to save mankind. The story is simple and direct to the point. The only issue someone may have is that the screens that tell the story go by quickly, so it’s easy to miss them; otherwise, it is fun.
The game features two very different art styles. It has remastered art, which is designed to resemble the actual cartoon. This redesign is gorgeous in specific areas, such as the city skyline level called “Stone and Steel.” The incredible parallel to the original animated series also creates a beautiful sense of nostalgia that could cause the player to desire to go back and watch the show. Sadly, however, the art causes a few of the scenes to be relatively flat and lose some of the “darkness” of the original game and the series itself.
A selling point of this game is that players can switch to the original art and music at will. As with most pixel art-based games, something is missing when not playing on a CRT television. With that caveat out of the way, the original graphics bring a type of dark texture to the world of the Gargoyles. Scenes that are otherwise very well-lit in remastered view are darker. This is not bad, as it adds to the game’s ambiance. While artistically it loosely points back to the actual cartoon series, thematically, it does a better job of creating the Gothic feel of Gargoyles.
The Music and SFX
The music of both classic and remastered are gorgeous in their own ways. The remastered music is very much orchestra baed. It beautifully matched the various scenes and made them feel far more cinematic. The sound effects all seemed very natural for this format. They once again connected the player back to the original cartoon.
Meanwhile, the classic music has its own charm. While still from the 16-Bit era, the creators did a great job creating ambiance with the chip-tune-styled music. However, the sound effects in the classic mode were a weaker portion of the game. While graphically and musically, there was a texture and darkness to this game, the sound effects were sometimes too cartoonish. While this may be a product of the age the game comes from and the limitations of the original platform, I found it breaking the experience sometimes.
Gargoyles comes from an era when gaming was notoriously tricky. Players often had to make pixel-perfect button hits to make certain jumps, swings, and even hits. Sadly, this was not fixed in the remastered version of the game. In fact, there were moments in the remastered graphics where gameplay was made more difficult because of the newer graphics. Hitboxes were often awkward from enemy to enemy. At times, players are unsure if they are hiting a NPC, while at other times, a player could have an NPC’s stun locked while the player spams the hit button. There is a certain rhythm a player can find themselves in, however, during their play through, but that does not alleviate the difficulties of the game. Players will find the single button “rewind” feature to be their ally throughout the game.
So is Gargoyles: Remastered worth getting? This game does a fantastic job of hitting all the nostalgic buttons for older gamers. The remastered artwork and music are genuinely beautiful. While still having many of its original issues, the rewind feature does make a world of difference for a play-through. With its release price being only $15, while it is not a must-get-out-and-buy type of purchase, it is a fun one that you can spend some time with if you have the extra funds.