Received: October 9th, 2012 / Written: November 3rd, 2012
Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse
Year: 1990 | Developed by: Sega (AM7) | Published by: Sega
|The Itsy Bitsy Spider came down to greet|
It wasn't until some time early this year (2012) that I would finally get to experience another retro 2D Mickey Mouse platformer, Capcom's The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie for the SNES console. Then on my birthday (April 5th), one of the games I was given and was going to play was its predecessor, The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse, also on the SNES. And during the summer, I purchased a Retro Duo system, which lets me play not only NES and SNES games, but also Super Famicom games, I decided to start importing SFC games from Japan (one of the best things to happen to me as a gamer). One of the first games I decided to import was the obscure, Japan-exclusive Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken. All good, very fun games in their own right, and I'm glad that I got to play them all! =)
|Swim away from those piranhas through|
these perilous water caves
|I've never seen Mickey look so panicked|
The controls for this game are nice, yet simple. There are two main types of action: jumping and throwing items (should you have them at your disposal). It's been so long since I touched the croissant-shaped Sega controller, so I wasn't certain how the buttons would function on the SNES controller. The back of the RetroGen box was kind enough to tell which button was which in the transition (i.e. Genesis B = SNES B, Genesis A = SNES Y), and I really appreciated that since I found it very helpful. Each realm is divided into small portions, and at the end of each stage there is a boss encounter. The thing about the jumping controls here are that you have to hold down on the directional controls in order for them to be defeated, otherwise you'll take damage from them. Holding down the jump button while pressing down on the enemies will make you bounce high. How effective! Every realm has a different kind of item to throw towards enemies, and finding a bag will give you ten items. Mickey can also duck, swing, swim under water, and run down diagonal slopes. At times there are moments when you'll come across small white gems (for bonus points) and stars (which serves as a health power-up). The area design layouts are good, and the controls are fairly responsive.
|Warning: Do NOT play this area on an empty|
Sega's 16-bit machine isn't particularly known for displaying impressive sound capabilities, but the music presented in this game is not bad. In fact, many of the songs are catchy, energetic, upbeat, and are just so much fun to listen to, despite the console's sound quality. The forest and toyland themes are lighthearted, the water cave themes sound epic and adventurous, and the boss themes sound really pumped up and energetic. The theme that plays during the portion with the spider-webs and when you're swimming inside a coffee cup in the library sound whimsical and adds a magical sense of feeling and wonder. The other songs are good, too, and a few of them sound dark, even. The sound effects, interestingly, have a higher quality to them than the music does; and I know that sounds crazy, but that's what it sounds like to me. The way the door closes in the castle hub as Mickey enters sounds crisp with a good quality. The other sound effects, like when Mickey jumps on the enemies, he collects items, or the sound effect that plays when a clown is struck and the unicycle is riding on its own is humorous. The ending suite is nice, and it gives you a sense that you've done a big accomplishment.
|Swingin' on through to the other side|
Sega's first Disney-licensed game is a fun platformer, and I can see why it's often touted as such a classic. It plays like a charm (though it seems like Mickey has floaty jumps sometimes), looks like a charm, and even sounds like a charm. It's one of those cases where a game can be most effective at its simplest. It's rare, but the game somehow fits the bill. Playing in each area is such a joy, the amount of creativity is good, exploring some of the bigger areas is an exciting moment, and the boss fights are fun, even though they have simple patterns to defeat them. One thing I noticed about this platformer is that it can be beaten in over a half hour. When it comes to games that are so fun to play yet are so short in length, that can either be a bad thing (*cough* Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! *cough*) or it can be a not-so bad thing, depending on how you view it. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse has only five stages, but they've got a good amount of challenge to them, and yet oddly enough I'm not bothered by its brevity. It's a fun game while it lasts, and it's a rather addicting one, too. Quickly became one of my favorites, and it's become my favorite 2D Mickey game so far. I heard that there was a version of it made for the Sega Master System, only it plays a little differently. Mickey's first 16-bit Sega adventure was so successful among gamers and critics, that it garnered some sequels: Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse on the Sega Master System, World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck for the MegaDrive/Genesis, and lastly Legend of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse for the Sega Master System. Recently there was news that there's a new Mickey Mouse game for the Nintendo 3DS Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, which is both a follow-up to the Nintendo Wii game and an homage to Castle of Illusion. In fact, that's one of the reasons I bought this game (to prepare myself for the 3DS game), aside from being curious about it, and I'm hoping the 3DS game lives up to its hype and is a good, faithful follow-up to Sega's classic. But, who knows, in time we'll see; just a few more weeks left to wait. I'm glad I got to play Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse; it's one of the best MegaDrive/Genesis games I ever played, and I daresay it's the best Disney game ever made! It's simple yet effective! =)
P.S.: If I were to give this game a grade, it would be a 9.5! I couldn't have picked a better first Genesis game! =D
P.S. 2: The ending is well-done, and the post-credits scenario is nicely done, too, though it leaves so many questions.
P.S. 3: Two years later Capcom would create their answer on the SNES to Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse called The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse. How does it stack up to this game? If you stick around, I may just review it one day. Stay tuned and take care!