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Disney’s Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse

Why can't all my trips down memory lane be this good.
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information
Back in my day sonny…
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In 1990 there was a console war waging.  Both Nintendo and Sega were competing for the same audience, much like Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are today.  For me, it was a great time for gaming.  I owned (ahem… my mother) both systems.  And like now, in the 90’s exclusives would be the staples of these machines.  Mascots like Mario and Sonic were being born.  It was a golden age of licensed tie-in’s and shameless money grubbing.  The difference then though, was these games were generally good and hold up quite well.  Even Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse couldn’t escape the renaissance of licensed gaming. 

Where’s my Mouseketeer hat?

The 2D platform game from the 90’s that was granted a reboot in 2013 is Disney’s Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse. This complete overhaul to the old version was accomplished by Sega Studios Australia and published by Sega and Disney Interactive Studios. This remake is not just updated graphics and a few new areas to explore.  Sega Studios Australia went all out and recaptured the essence of the beloved franchise. Making an entirely new 2.5D experience for today.  I must say, they got this spot on that cute little black mouse’s nose.

Ohhh… pretty…

With every level from the old version being beautifully re-created in lush back drops.  It never looks dull. The environments consist of shaking plants and walking trees in a mysterious forest, to spaceships whizzing by while exploring a toyland riddled with nutcrackers, robots, and unicycle riding clowns. Each Act in the game has a very unique theme that is oozing with character and charm. Even the projectiles on each level are specifically themed to that environment.  The level of detail, from the tiny eyes on the mushrooms, to the droopiness of the witches nose, is just incredible.

That mean old witch!

The story that drives you through this delightful visit down memory lane, is minimal but works.  Mickey and Minnie are having a picnic when a terrible witch, Mizrabel, takes Minnie away to her Castle of Illusion.  You of course play as Mickey Mouse.  Your journey entails of gathering seven rainbow gems from various bosses in said castle.  Which consists of seven different Acts, with 2 stages each concluding in the 3rd stage being just the boss.  Once all the gems have been collected you can go save your beloved Minnie. Defeating that old hag took a lot of patience and dedication.

Old school

There’s no deep upgrade tree or any fancy RPG elements here.  Each Act presents different challenges and enemies. This is a straight forward platformer.  Unlike our harsh times of the past when games were unrelenting and difficult. Castle of Illusion still offers plenty of challenge in it’s platforming, enemies, and bosses. At times the controls felt a little loose. Though, that may of been just me freaking out. The repercussion of failing and running out of continues holds no weight though. Many times over I would run out of continues, only to just have more magically appear.  Now I’m sure there are purists who would frown upon this. I found it a much welcome change. It allows such a high replayability with the lack of frustration. 

Give it to me baby, one more time.

To be honest I didn’t have real high hopes for this game. I’ve been let down before by remakes of beloved classics. I was afraid this would do the same.  To my surprise, I fell in love with this game all over again.  I didn’t care about achievements, I just wanted to collect everything and replay these fun little nuggets of classic platforming again and again. The pacing is great. The levels are never too long and you can always sit down for hours trying to unlock the different costumes, paintings, and statues around the castle.  This game was more than just a pleasant trip down memory lane.  It is an outright testimony to the superb design and character from the spectacular teams, from both eras. 

by: Greg Magee


Disney’s Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse
Why can't all my trips down memory lane be this good.

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I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.