“Castle of Illusion” brings classic SEGA game back to life in a faithful adaptation
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 23:09
Over two decades after its release, the Sega Genesis classic “Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse” returns in the form of an updated HD remake of the platforming classic. But does it still retain the Disney Magic after all of this time?
The short answer is yes. While far from a title that will revolutionize the way we play platforming games, the new “Castle of Illusion” is a respectable attempt that faithfully re-captures the spirit of the original game, all wrapped up in a 21st century presentation that can only be described as absolutely charming.
“Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse” is an HD remake of the classic Sega Genesis game of the same name that was released over two decades ago. With titles such as “Castle of Illusion” and “World of Illusion” on the Sega Genesis and the “Magical Quest” series on the Super Nintendo, Disney took a big gamble in letting their mascot, arguably the most iconic children’s character of the 20th century, enter the fray as a video game star alongside other 16-bit rivals including Mario and Sonic. Their gamble paid off, however, and the Illusion games have been fondly remembered for years (leading to the development of a spiritual successor last year with “Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” for the 3DS).
As Mickey Mouse, your goal is to rescue a kidnapped Minnie from the evil witch Mizrabel who seeks to steal Mickey’s girlfriend’s youth.
The remake of “Castle of Illusion” draws heavily from the original. Rather than opt for the hand painted look as “Ducktales: Remastered” recently did, the game uses full polygonal models often against a familiar 2D plane. However, the game will occasionally let you navigate in three dimensions. Despite this, areas and their theme music (wonderfully rearranged by Grant Kirkhope who previously worked on classic Rare games such as “Banjo Kazooie”) have been pulled straight from the original, and given an HD makeover. The package is surprisingly well put together and when coupled with the presence of a narrator, you truly get a feeling that you’re playing an actual storybook. The Disney charm is absolutely overflowing in Castle of Illusion’s presentation.
Despite all of these wonderful achievements in presentation, “Castle of Illusion” fails to knock it out of the park completely. The game will only last you a couple of hours, unfortunately, even if you try for completion. The platforming mechanics and camera system are also far too unrefined. Mickey’s movements and jumps feel a bit to “floaty” to truly allow for precise platforming precision (think more Sackboy, less Mario). When coupled with a sometimes shaky camera, these shortcomings unnecessarily and tediously increase the difficultly of what should be routine platforming sections.
Most of the time however, the title as a whole feels far too simplified, with only the very final levels offering any true sort of challenge to the player. Another shortcoming comes in the form of generally uninspiring and unmemorable boss fights, in contrast to those seen in “Ducktales: Remastered.”
But for everything “Castle of Illusion” gets wrong, it retains enough charm to merit its purchase for children and true Disney fans. The colorful narrated storybook style presentation, inspired soundtrack and overall good natured environments make it an easy recommendation for such groups. While its not destined to be the classic its predecessor was, the all new “Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse” is at least worth a look.