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Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (NES) artwork

Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (NES) review


"It’s not every day that one gets the chance to visit Disneyland. The enchanting premise of a land filled with dizzying rides, tacky restaurants and harshly overpriced souvenirs is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of. I myself had long wished for this dream to be realised. So when a short, furry, big-eared man with a squeaky voice (the manager of Cash Converters) offered me his grey, plastic ticket to Disneyland, I jumped at the chance. Here was my chance to experience the kaleidoscopic worl..."



It’s not every day that one gets the chance to visit Disneyland. The enchanting premise of a land filled with dizzying rides, tacky restaurants and harshly overpriced souvenirs is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of. I myself had long wished for this dream to be realised. So when a short, furry, big-eared man with a squeaky voice (the manager of Cash Converters) offered me his grey, plastic ticket to Disneyland, I jumped at the chance. Here was my chance to experience the kaleidoscopic world of fun first hand, maybe even see the famous Disneyland marching band in all of their resplendent glory!

Alas.

No sooner had I put on my big, novelty cowboy hat and stepped through those hallowed gates, when disaster struck. The marching band, which I had been chomping at the bit to see, had been locked out of the premises. I soon learned that some “dippy dawg” had, in a rare moment of confusion, misplaced the six silver keys required to undo this heinous turn of events. As the news spread a pandemonium ensued. Babies screamed, toddlers threw tantrums, and women fainted. Something had to be done, and as the twelve-dozen buxom supermodels screaming “save us King Broccoli!” will attest, I was the man to do it.

Therein lies the premise for Adventures in the Magic Kingdom. A normal day in Disneyland has been taken hostage by a crisis, six silver keys are missing, and you, the boy in the cowboy hat, are Mickey’s only hope. The six keys in question have been scattered throughout the attractions, each of which will send you hurtling through a mini-game and on your way to success. The marching band is depending on you; can you come through for them? For the young, or simply the young at heart, this truly is an adventure in the Magic Kingdom.

The adventure begins with you and your cowboy hat standing at the front gate. The top-down view shows a serene environment, the cool wind blowing the smell of cotton candy all around the park. The soft pinks and greens of the grass and stores are soon swallowed up by an inky blackness as you approach your first trials. The first two silver keys, held hostage separately by pirates and ghosts.

These two stages provide a side view of the action. The haunted mansion comprises of a few screens of ghost eradication, before testing your skills with some precision jumping. Gothic chandeliers plummet from the ceiling, an antique chair flies through the air, books leap from the bookshelf in some kind of macabre dance, trying to knock you from your platform. It can be a very intense and frustrating stage, but the most rewarding of the game. The pirate adventure isn’t too far behind, pitting you in a race against the clock to free the six hostages on Pirate Island, and escape from the gnarled clutches of this troupe of swashbuckling oppressors. These action-oriented stages are the most involving of your trip, and provide the bulk of the game’s fun.

The rest of the stages are most disappointing. Three of them put you in vehicles, sending you on journeys where survival is the only real criterion for success. The first is a race against “Panhandle Pete” on what is more of an obstacle course than a track; simply making it through the course alive is grounds for receiving the silver key. The second is a dismal stage in which you navigate a mine-car from one station to another. Included in that treacherous middle ground are loose boulders, miraculously rolling sideways across the mountain, gates that refuse to open and a multitude of dead-ends. At times it’s more of a gamble than anything else as to whether you wind up at your destination. The third of these transportation terrors is an uninspired game that sets you on a course in a spaceship, Mickey Mouse has navigated the course, now you just have to push the buttons when they appear on your screen. Not the most fulfilling endeavour.

The stages are rounded off by a quick walk around the expansive grounds of the theme park, answering Disney-related trivia in return for your next destination. This quick jaunt around Disneyland caps off a wholly unremarkable experience. The soundtrack may at times be pulsating, and actually heighten the action, and it’s always good fun to watch a little boy in a cowboy hat run around, but this game is, by and large, a dud. Of the six separate forays into Keysville, only two leave a lasting impression, and these aren’t enough to push the lifespan of the title too far past the hour mark.

There aren’t enough redeeming features in this game to make it worth tracking down. One does inherently extract a small amount of satisfaction from sending a lit candle spiralling towards the backside of a grime-spitting ghoul, but the childish nature of an overwhelming majority of the game spoils the overall experience. There’s an endless supply of material in which Goofy does something stupid; there’s no need to check in here just to see him lose six silly keys.

The marching band sucked too.

Rating: 4/10

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Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)

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