Published on September 9th, 2013 | by Tony0
Review: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (XBLA)
A big portion of digital gaming of late has been the much loved remake or touch up of a once loved classic.
The list is huge with the likes of DuckTales, Flashback and the game I’m reviewing today, “Castle of Illusion”, being some of the most recent games to be given a new lease of life to new players and fans of a game they once loved as a child.
The sad reality to this is that while sometimes it works really well and makes older gamers remember why they fell in love with the game the first time around, new players forget this game was made in a time long ago from what we get today.
You see, I grew up on stuff like After Burner, Altered Beast, Kid Chameleon, Wrestle War, and other games that have since seen a release on XBLA like Bass Fishing and all the Sonic games, and some have stood the test of time, but sadly others have not.
Judging by reviews, Flashback was not a lovely trip down memory lane, but DuckTales seem to hit the right note, so remakes or re-releases always balance on a knife edge of how gamers react to them.
Castle of Illusion for me holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. Back in the day Castle of Illusion was not just a simple game with Mickey Mouse tagging along for the ride, but it was the first time gaming really got me excited.
While the whole Disney aspect of the game did serve to provide some of the pull of the game for me, the actual hook that made me love it so much was the music and look of the game.
You see in my mind for the first time I was not playing some computer game, but I was playing a storybook that had me being the hero, and not just any hero, I was a Disney icon.
Just like many children who were ’80s/’90s kids, TV was my normal escape back then, so to have a game that at the time felt like a cartoon, it really excited what little brain cells I had.
You had everything. Cartoon icons, the evil witch, levels that looked like something you would dream about as a small child, it just had everything.
Present day and Sega Studios Australia had the hard task of bringing this game back to life once again, so did they do a good job?
Castle of lllusion has the most simple story, and thankfully nothing has changed since the first release in the ’90s.
The loved up couple of Mickey and Minnie Mouse are out having a picnic when the evil witch Mizarabel kidnaps Minnie giving Mickey the task of coming to the rescue.
He does this by beating several worlds, which end with a boss battle and you unlocking an Emerald gem which has a handy use.
By collecting all of these Emerald gems in the game, you will then be able to use them to build a bridge across to the castle in which the evil Mizarabel lives and try to save the love of your life, Minnie.
Right away I will tell you guys now, Castle of Illusion will not win any awards for game size as I finished this game in around 3 and a half hours, but, and this is a big but, do not let that put you off.
While it does sound short you must remember that this game was made when memory cards were just a dream, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in challenge.
If you are a gamer with a short fuse I would tell you to stay clear as the final boss alone took me a good hour to beat since the game is hard as nails.
With harsh checkpoints, only 5 bars of health (if you’re lucky) and a jump button that seems to not work well with either the analog stick or d-pad, you will find yourself cursing at the TV.
You see, a simple miss timed jump and you find yourself going back a decent chunk of the game, but in regards to health on boss battles it will cause some gamers to loose hair over it.
Now before I put you off the game completely with the above comments, please don’t let that be the case, as behind those niggles and quirks that the game has lies a really beautifully put together game.
The game has been developed by Sega Australia really well. With a smooth sounding narrator talking you through the game at certain points it really adds to the game while not getting in the way.
Onto the look of the game and fans both new and old will be impressed on how Sega Australia have captured what was something so simple looking back in the day, as those worlds now have a new lease of life and look beautiful.
One such level that springs to mind is the Library section that sees you in a food level where cakes and sweets are everywhere, and it just looks colourful and bright and made me remember why I loved the original.
The main combat of the game is the simple Mario style jump on the head, or the much loved thrown apple or fire item.
That being said combat is very rare in the game and only on boss battles will this actually come into play, other than that you can quite easily jump over enemies.
The menu for the game has also had a face change with the castle now taking centre stage as a menu which allows you to view the collectables and paintings that you unlock through your travels.
This adds to the replay factor after finishing the game, as you have such things as Chili Peppers, statues and cards that are hidden in levels throughout the game.
That being said though with the cost of the game coming in at £9.99, I still feel that Sega may be overcharging a little for what you get, but that is just my opinion.
Summary: A wonderful trip down memory lane for me, but might not be to everyone's taste. Very challenging, but also very short.