Monday, December 29, 2014

Nerdicus Genesis Review #48: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Title : Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Publisher : Sega

Developer : Sega

Genre : Platformer

Players :  1 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $20-$30

Ahhh, the memories I have of this game. I feel like EVERYONE knew about this game, regardless of the fact if they had a Sega console or not. When I was younger, my family and I would head over to a family friends house for dinner typically on a random weekend so we could just mingle, and basically just hang out with each other. I loved those days, typically because there was always a great Italian feast and dessert involved, and of course, a whole lot of video gaming. If we weren't playing board games that night (which we typically did), I would sneak away into my friend's room and play his Sega Genesis. Remember folks, I never had a sega genesis growing up when I was younger. I didn't get mine until much later. But boy, did I want one.

So the two sons each had a Genesis, with one of them only being obsessed with sport games (which he made me play him in Madden seemingly every time I was there), and the other kid having the good 'ol action games. One of which was the Castle of Illusion, and I played the bejeezus out of it.

I had a better appreciation for platformers back in the day, basically because I typically needed something I could play fast and not have to worry about beating it. If I could get in a few levels of action, I was usually entertained enough. The fact was, I never even beat this game until a year or so ago, because when I played this at their house I was only able to play it for around 30-45 mins at a time. Still, I enjoyed every minute of it.
Of course, Disney games were always impressive for some reason. Not all, but most of them anyway. And hell, for me to be interested in a game starring Mickey Mouse who annoyed the hell out of me is saying something.

What is it that makes this game so great? Well, let's find out and enter the Castle of IluuuUUuuUSsiIIOOOoONNNnNNn!!!

Here we have an original Disney story line created strictly for the Castle of Illusion video game. There is no film references, and it's not based on anything that previously existed (which Disney typically did). Instead, they created this fresh new idea involving Minnie Mouse being kidnapped by an evil witch named Mizrabel (who does look a lot like the witch from Snow White).Okay, so they couldn't come up with an original idea...another kidnapping, but you know what, at least they tried. It was still a nice change of pace from just the movie / animated series to game ports that Disney was typically doing.

You control Mickey, and are tasked with having him invade various worlds taken over by the witch and collect Rainbow Crystals. Collect enough of these Rainbow Crystals, and you'll be able to make a Rainbow Bridge to the castle in which Minnie is being held. There you have to use your Rainbow Coins, to buy Rainbow Cookies in order to poop out Rainbow Nuggets to battle the witch. That doesn't happen, but that's a whole lot of rainbows, eh?

It's a standard platform fare. A whole lot of jumping, considering it's your main means of transportation and attacking enemies. Stomp on their heads, and they're typically rendered paralyzed or destroyed depending on the enemy type. You can also use enemies as a way to get to higher ground or otherwise unreachable areas. Fear not though, you'll also find projectile weapons to hurl at your foes!

The thing that really captured my attention as a kid was the variation of all the different worlds and how each were themed entirely differently. I was a sucker for completely odd-ball level designs, and this game did the trick. Enemies changed based on the world you were in, so at least you were guaranteed a fresh view with each passing stage.

Not to mention, you are greeted with some truly epic boss fights at the end of each level which you need to defeat in order to be granted your precious Rainbow Crystal. The real damn shame with this game was that it was ridiculously easy at some points, and then unbearably hard at others. It's like the game couldn't find a happy medium.

Hell, the game even offered some sort of easy mode where you don't even have to beat every stage in order to beat the game. That was always bizarre to me.

The game was pretty damn appealing for the Sega Genesis with vibrant graphics and superb character animations, and I'm talking about a game early in the Genesis lifespan. Sure, there were a lot better looking games that came out down the line, but this was something that was meant to make a customer want to buy a Sega, and it certainly had that effect on me. Mickey did look a little bit......odd...though..Always smiling..always swaying. TOO DAMN HAPPY.

Castle of Illusion also had one of the best soundtracks the Sega had to offer, and you know how much Sega music annoyed me. It felt like a Disney animated feature with changing tunes from the dramatic to upbeat that really set the stage for the game and created a nice mood during the gameplay. 

This is a lesson in platforming done right. Castle of Illusion isn't trying to do too much, and does everything just right. There's not much excess, and the game play is simple enough that anyone can just pop this game in and play it, and be greeted with hours of enjoyment. It certainly brought back a lot of good memories playing this game, and anyone would be lucky to have this part of their Sega collection.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next time - Keep on Gaming!



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