Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

foe_en_s4_b22.jpg

Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis) artwork

Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis) review


"What we’ve got here is a bridge too far, but it’s nothing that seven special gems can’t fix. You see, as you and Minnie pranced about in the meadows of tranquil Vera City, the evil witch Mizrabel was plotting an evil scheme to attain Minnie-esque beauty for herself. Mizrabel swoops down on her broom and mousenaps Minnie from under your nose. Guilt overcomes your reluctance, so set off after them expeditiously because that’s what your buddy Master Higgins would have done. You must find the gems a..."



What we’ve got here is a bridge too far, but it’s nothing that seven special gems can’t fix. You see, as you and Minnie pranced about in the meadows of tranquil Vera City, the evil witch Mizrabel was plotting an evil scheme to attain Minnie-esque beauty for herself. Mizrabel swoops down on her broom and mousenaps Minnie from under your nose. Guilt overcomes your reluctance, so set off after them expeditiously because that’s what your buddy Master Higgins would have done. You must find the gems and build the rainbow bridge to reach Mizrabel and Minnie, and then, take care of business.

Welcome to the wondrous Castle of Illusion for the Sega Genesis. As splendid as the game is, I like the 8-bit version better. It’s not often that this circumstance arises, but despite Mickey looking and sounding quite a bit more polished here on the Genesis in comparison to his scaled down Master System presentation, all the more refined ingredients somehow add up to a slightly less compelling adventure.

To be fair, though the game with less bits has more bite, it was released after the Genesis beauty. And yes, this game is beautiful. Many of the charming orchestrations feel as if they have been lifted directly from a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon. The first level forest and second level toy world sound all the appropriate notes, but seem like a warm up. Things get a bit harder and more harried as the third of five levels opens with soul-charging chords and an eye-opening fiery sky. The fourth level library has Mickey swimming in coffee and avoiding the marshmallows that patrol the teacups’ hallways. The comparatively tough level five castle stage, followed by the giant gear jumping area culminates in a final battle that is reminiscent - and certainly worthy - of a Dracula encounter from any Castlevania game.

The animations are understated excellence. They seem to have reached a level of fluidity where you don’t even notice the quality because your eye takes the motion for granted; this is how motion should be portrayed in a game, your eye tells you as the charismatic mouse leaps about. Mickey can duck, literally for cover, his face washed with fear. Also, he often finds himself on the brink of a precipice, thanks to your cack-handed control - this is not what is meant by keeping on your toes.

In old school Disney non-violent fashion (yes, old school; have you seen the more recent nightmare-incurring Hunchback of Notre Dame?) Mickey dispatches foes by either bouncing on them with his bottom, or by throwing various collectible, limited-use projectiles. From acorns to candles, hurl them at foes when foes won’t stay still enough for you to sit on them. You will find tossing to do less damage on the bosses than butting, however in one particular case, you will be quite frustrated if you don’t use the secondary attack; the third level boss’ agility demands its use.

All of Mickey’s enemies - whether they be leaping trees, unicycling clowns, goofy dragons, dancing letters, or bookworms - can be reverted to the pixie dust from whence they came with a single hit. The pace of the game seems strangely slower and more drawn out than the Master System version. As cutesy platformer games go, this one falls into the Bonk’s Adventure category, never attaining the speed of a Mario or Sonic game. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but whether it’s the amount of enemies that is generally lacking, or something less immediately apparent, the game never reaches even a reasonable level of intensity. Granted, Castle of Illusion features a children’s cartoon character, not Lara Croft - but it doesn’t pick up even in the later levels, and much of its engaging quality is effected by its beauty and not its gameplay. Once again, the quaint Master System version raises its head to inform us that this is why it, and not its big brother, is the more entertaining game.

Still, if you have access to both, play them both. And if you own a Genesis, and want a cutesy side-scroller, pick up Castle of Illusion (it won’t cost you much) and prepare for an enchanting, good looking - and sounding - ride. Younger children will undoubtedly be enthralled by Mickey’s magic, as well as the 'secrets' scattered here and there. For them, the lack of immediacy and intensity will be welcome omissions. Old folks: for best results, play the game on the hardest difficulty level, though that still won’t bring about the intensity that is absent.

Rating: 8/10

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 19, 2003)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Marc Golding
My Hero (Sega Master System) artwork
My Hero (Sega Master System)

You play the role of The Hero, but you look like Edward Carnby, specifically from Alone in the Dark 2, right down to the blue leisure suit and pitiful death sequences. You are the strapping, golden-domed captain of the football team, enjoying a sunset with your prudish girlfriend on the beach, besotting her with...
Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360) artwork
Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360)

I am not enamoured of any two old games slapped together (just Silent Hill 2 and 3 in this case) being called a “collection” in the first place, especially given how easily Silent Hill 4: The Room (of the same ‘era’) could have been included for more value if not quality. Moreover, the third instal...
Silent Hill: Downpour (Xbox 360) artwork
Silent Hill: Downpour (Xbox 360)

Some might argue that the canon was lost once it left the hands of its original developers; since that time it has been passed from studio to studio, each with ingenuous intentions of making the first ‘next gen’ standout. Regrettably, that still hasn’t happened.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.