I was a huge fan of the Disney platformers from the ’80s and ’90s. I would play them whenever I got the chance. That hasn’t really changed much. I still get excited when a Disney platformer gets revived. My favorite old school Disney game was World of Illusion with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. When its predecessor Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse was revamped I jumped at the chance to play it. With some revamps I walked away disappointed but I am happy to say that I was not this time. Everything that made the game fun the first time is still here and better than before.
I love that when you first start the game it dives right into the story. The game starts with Minnie and Mickey having a picnic. Then the evil witch Mizrabel comes along and kidnaps Minnie. The reason being that she is jealous of her and their happiness. Mickey does his best to follow her and rescue her but to no avail. He gets advice on what to do and heads for Mizrabel’s castle. There he must fight his way through all of Mizrabel’s illusions. The only way to free Minnie is to collect all 7 rainbow gems. In order to do that you must defeat 7 bosses. A simple straight-forward story but it works. Games don’t always have to have complicated, long, and sad stories in order to be great.
Fans will be happy to see that a lot of the original is still here. When it comes to remakes its all about what to leave alone and what to change. Some games have gotten this wrong but Castle of Illusion gets this right. One obvious area Sega gets right is the graphics. Completely updating the graphics was definitely the right choice to make. In the original you couldn’t really explore anything. You spent most of your time getting from the beginning of the level to the end from a 2D side-scrolling perspective. That is pretty much how most platformers are today as well. Castle of Illusion mixes things up and adds the 3D perspective as well. It makes for some pretty interesting gameplay. One minute you are jumping from one mountain of blocks to the next from a 2D perspective to turning the corner in 3D.
You also get this mix of 2D and 3D from the castle. The outside of the castle is 2D perpspective but once you enter Mizrabel’s castle you get a fully explorable 3D world. Being able to explore the castle and take a look at your surroundings is pretty cool when that wasn’t a possibility the first time. You can’t pull this off without having high quality graphics to back it up. The graphics in the new version just really come to life and stand out. At the same time you still recognize elements from the old game such as the apples, cards, mushrooms, and toy soldiers. Another update I loved is the audio commentary from the narrator. Depending on the lines the narrator helped to add comic relief to the game but also helping you get more into the story.
The difficulty here is nothing to sneeze at though just like the original. Back in the day there were no such thing as saving your progress mid-level and coming back to it later. That hasn’t changed here either. If you die before you reach the checkpoint in each level you will have to restart the level all over again. You don’t have unlimited health or lives either. Once you have spent all your lives you will be asked whether to exit the game or go back to the castle. It is also easy to get hurt in each level. Even if Mickey just bumps into a enemy by accident you will lose health. Getting the precision, timing and rhythm right are important to beat each level.
Which brings me to my next point the controls. Since each level requires precise timing with the controls I do not advice playing the PC version without a controller. Just using the keyboard for the PC version makes the game frustrating. In order to get the jumps right in certain parts you have to press all the arrows and the space bar at once. The controls on the keyboard are simple though. You just use the arrows to move Mickey, press the spacebar to jump and ctrl to throw apples or marbles. When you start the game it does recommend using a controller and so do I if you don’t want to break you keyboard in frustration.
Another element that is still the same as the original is the points. You can rack up points as you progress in each level. You can replay each level as much as you want if you want to get a higher score. When you first beat a level you unlock a new timing mode as well. You basically race through the level to beat your previous timing. Castle of Illusion is user-friendly in that people of all ages can play. It can be a fun game for kids and adults alike. The game used to be available to PC, PS3, Xbox 360 but due to business issues the game is only available for android, iOS and Windows app store at the moment.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse has rich,vibrant, and polished graphics that far exceed most in its genre. It’s also a lot more challenging than most in its genre as well. It is one of the best remakes I have played in a long time. Sega did a great job of updating the game while at the same time keeping some elements the same. The story isn’t complicated, complex or depressing. It is game any Disney or Mickey fan young and old can get into.
REVIEW CODE: Here at Brash Games we have a strict Review Code policy, Paul Ryan owner / editor is the only member of staff at Brash Games permitted to obtain review code and distribute it within the Brash Games review team. No other person is permitted to request review code and or send review links or contact the publishers in any way whatsoever. Should you wish to send us review code please email paulryan-at-brashgames.co.uk.
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