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Review

Gargoyles Remastered Review

Pay a man enough and he’ll make another remaster

I love Gargoyles. It’s an all-timer of a cartoon, darker than some of the more popular Saturday Morning Disney fare, a Shakespearean fantasy that gives any modern animated series a run for its money. Complete with a cast full of Star Trek alumni, it holds up incredibly well. Sadly I can’t say the same about Gargoyles Remastered, a time capsule of a release that does the bare minimum to remind us of the good old  of licensed platform games.

The original Gargoyles, released on the Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis, if you’re so inclined) back in 1995, was a decent enough platformer that survived on solid visuals for its time and some challenging levels based upon the TV series. This updated release, developed by Empty Clip Studios in conjunction with Disney, recreates the experience with visuals more akin to its animated heritage and a splash of modern audio cues, and that’s about it. This is as bare minimum a remaster as you can get, but that’s just the tip of the rock monster iceberg.

The modern look matches the original TV show decently enough

As a platformer, Gargoyles is stuck in the past in the worst ways. Its controls feels like you’re constantly fighting to get where you want to go, whether jumping from one platform to the next or swinging between grapple points. Mundane button mashing makes up the majority of your time as lead character Goliath, as there’s very little strategy involved in fighting the usual rogue’s gallery of villains, and boss encounters are bland at best. Maybe back in the day it was more than enough to get by, and at least here there’s some difficulty options to make things a touch easier (or harder, if you’re a devil) but it’s hardly going to light a fire under anyone who missed the game the first time.

That’s the crux of Gargoyles Remastered’s problems. Outside of living out an old-school platform game flaws and all, there’s nothing else to this package to make it worthwhile. There’s the customary rewind feature for those that find its frustrating controls a little too much to handle, and you can switch between the shiny modern visuals and its original Mega Drive style at any time, but that about wraps things up. There’s no behind the scenes content, no attempt to liven things up between levels with modern cutscenes. It’s as simple a repackage as you’d fear, which is incredibly disappointing considering some of the other work within the field of late (The Making of Karateka comes to mind).

If you do want to go down memory lane, it’s more entertaining switching to the original design than the modern edition. It still doesn’t hold a candle to some of the other Disney platformers of its day (hello Aladdin my old friend) but at least there’s a little charm in its 16-bit style. The modern cartoon aesthetic doesn’t pull enough weight to paper over the cracks, which is a missed opportunity for a series that deserves a lot more respect than what’s on offer here. I do have to question whether that was a decision Disney enforced, to which I have to wonder whether rereleasing this in a collection with a few other titles may have been a better option. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of other games to choose from that could have made up a decent enough set.

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Or you can switch to the original look, which isn’t half bad

Final Thoughts

There just isn’t enough to Gargoyles Remastered to recommend it beyond those who are either hoping to relive some memories or those morbidly curious. The new lick of paint loses any sort of magic once the first level wraps up and the remainder of the package is far too threadbare. It’s difficult enough trying to sell an older platform game to an audience caught up in Super Mario Wonder fever, it’s even worse when you barely put the effort in to make it stand out.

Reviewed on PS5 // Review code supplied by publisher

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Gargoyles Remastered Review
Leave it in the shade
Gargoyles Remastered feels very much stuck in its roots, a curse that sadly can’t be broken by a new layer of animation, never mind the moonlight.
The Good
Decent modern cartoon aesthetic
The original game still looks half decent too
The Bad
Bare minimum included content
No real changes to gameplay outside of difficulty options
Controls remain frustrating
It simply doesn’t hold up after all these years
5
Glass Half Full
  • Empty Clip Studios
  • Disney
  • PS4 / Xbox One / Switch / PC
  • October 19, 2023

Gargoyles Remastered Review
Leave it in the shade
Gargoyles Remastered feels very much stuck in its roots, a curse that sadly can’t be broken by a new layer of animation, never mind the moonlight.
The Good
Decent modern cartoon aesthetic
The original game still looks half decent too
The Bad
Bare minimum included content
No real changes to gameplay outside of difficulty options
Controls remain frustrating
It simply doesn’t hold up after all these years
5
Glass Half Full
Written By Mark Isaacson

Known on the internet as Kartanym, Mark has been in and out of the gaming scene since what feels like forever, growing up on Nintendo and evolving through the advent of PC first person shooters, PlayStation and virtual reality. He'll try anything at least once and considers himself the one true king of Tetris by politely ignoring the world records.

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