Back in the 90s, Disney was on one hell of a roll, releasing hit movies like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Toy Story. They also put out a bunch of quality shows like TaleSpin, Gummy Bears, and Ducktales, but one show that achieved quite the cult following was Gargoyles. It wasn’t like anything else the House of Mouse was doing at the time, opting for a much darker tone instead of the familiar warmth and colour of other outings. Gargoyles Remastered is based on the Sega Genesis title of the same name, albeit, you know, remastered.
Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember it, and while it wasn’t a massive step away from other popular platformers from the time, it was cool that Gargoyles got its own game. The choice to remaster it does feel a bit left field, yet I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the recently announced Gargoyles live-action tv show coming to Disney Plus at some point in the future. Whatever the reason, it’s always a nice trip to replay Disney platformers as they were always pretty decent, if not a touch challenging. Gargoyles Remastered is short and occasionally sweet, but it often shows its age when it matters most.
Following Goliath, a Gargoyle who after being in slumber for a thousand years, travels from Scotland to New York to fight old enemies who want to use something called the Eye of Odin. That’s about as much story as you’ll get here, mainly because everything else is touched on briefly between levels. What is pretty fantastic about the remaster is how you can switch between the new graphics or the original 16-bit ones, along with both an old or new soundtrack depending on your mood. They can be switched with a touch of a button, and it’s a neat feature that’s only been implemented in few games previously.
What does let Gargoyles Remastered down is the gameplay. Goliath only has a handful of moves that are repetitive and only ever challenging thanks to the lack of clarity when hitting or being hit. You can slash at enemies, grab them, or charge, and some have shields to block you, while others are inanimate meat puppets. Then you’ve got the enemies that use ranged attacks like arrows that hit you out of the blue. You can double jump to evade, so at least that’s something. Whenever you slash at an enemy, it’s never clear if you hit because there’s no feedback in the control, and it doesn’t get represented through animations on screen. Not a dealbreaker, but it makes combat rather dull.
For those that enjoy a challenge, Gargoyles Remastered can be a tough cookie. It always was, and a way to counter that steep difficulty is the rewind button that allows you to go back a few seconds before you died or struggled to replay instantly. It’s a cool feature that helps in some situations, but the game shows its age and never really does anything to charm you or make you enjoy its gameplay. It’s a rather beautiful game regardless of the era you choose to play in. There’s a fantastic level of detail in the 16-bit art style, and the newer visuals are smooth, making it look just like the animation if made in the present day.
Gargoyles Remastered isn’t going to bring in a ton of new fans, and if you’re playing out of a sense of nostalgia, you’ll get something from it. The visuals are wonderful even if the combat is underwhelming, and the lack of feedback for your attacks is something that would have been welcomed. We’ve already seen Aladdin and The Lion King return from the past, and while Gargoyles isn’t going to do a lot of business, it’s not going to break the bank if you fancy taking Goliath for a whirl around New York City.
Art style is gorgeous
Rewind feature is great
Combat is repetitive
Hit feedback is lacking
No extra content