castle_of_illusion_mickey_mouse-213x300-1-2Mickey Mouse and the Castle of Illusion. I worked at Software, Etc. in 1990 when this game first came out. I recently traded in my NES for a new 16-bit Sega Genesis. I skipped getting the Turbo Grafx 16 because I knew it was only two 8-bit processors and not a true 16-bit processor. Though Bonk was a pretty fun game.

I was hesitant to try this title because I was never a big Disney fan and the theme actually portrayed the title as a bit childish.  I was a senior in high school, and Mickey Mouse? It didn’t add up. But I was a sales person for the store and I read positive reviews of the game in the trade magazines, so I decided to give it a try.

To this very day, this game comes down to one of my all time favorites. I told my wife I wanted a classic Sega Genesis for Christmas and this was the first game that came to mind. Now I loved Sonic when he became the mascot for the Genesis, as Mario was for the Nintendo, but this game was special.  For the time, the graphics were impressive and the story was actually intriguing. But what made this game was the game-play itself – the usability, the playability. It was responsive, intuitive, and handled with ease. This was well ahead of anything else out at its time, and I liked the control better than the 3 Super Mario Brothers that proceeded it.

mickey_mouse-castle_of_illusion-300x210-1-2Like Super Mario Brothers, this was a platform style game where you controlled the character along the ledges of each scene avoiding dangers, hunting for secrets, defeating enemies, and ultimately getting to the end – while collecting everything you could find along the way.

If I had a chance to remake a game today, I would choose this game.  I would only enhance the graphics, keep the game-play, and add a save feature.  Most of all, I would add two-player to the game.  Sharing the experience with someone else enhances any game.

I also think if they took the Mickey Mouse out of this game and added a unique character, video game history could have been made.  Crash, Mario, Spyro, Gex, Sonic, whatever – this would have put a stake in the ground but it ultimately looked like a kids game.

HippoBytes ratings:

  • RetroReview Score: 10 of 10 – keep in mind, its a retro-perspective and this game was perfect.
  • Still fun today: yes, more than many games, I picked it up again and didn’t want to stop.  My wife even tried this for the first time and and a hard time putting it down.

Shortly after, Disney put out another Mickey Mouse game, Fantasia, based on the popular animation. The usability, or game-play, was so very disappointing to Castle of Illusion, I easily put it down not to play again.