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GAME REVIEW: 'Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse' remakes magical classic

September 12, 2013 8:53pm
Remaking classic video games can be a tricky situation, especially when developers seek to improve on the original release by adding new features and gameplay tricks that add depth and replay value to the new build.

Sega and Disney Interactive Studios’ remake of "Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse" fits that description, and comes at a time when old gaming franchises seek to make the jump to next generation consoles and platforms by way of digital release and distribution.

Centering on the familiar Disney mascot’s quest to rescue his beloved Minnie mouse from the clutches of an evil witch, the game is a delightful and nostalgic throwback to two decades worth of tried and true gameplay, while adding new layers of fun and excitement to make it stand out for the next generation.

Originally released in 1990 for the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive), the newly reimagined "Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse" for 2013 entices fans of Disney and video game lovers to explore an old concept enriched with modern takes of what today’s innovations in technology could allow.

Mostly a 2.5D side-scroller, the game comes packed with full and luscious 3D graphics, along with superb voice acting for the characters as well as narration by the great Richard McGonagle.

Gameplay utilizes the same mechanics that made the original great. Players navigate Mickey through the various levels and stages inside the Castle of Illusion, jumping and dodging various enemies and obstacles in order to save Minnie from the clutches of Mizrabel, a wicked old witch intent on stealing the female mouse’s beauty. Mickey defeats enemies by bouncing over their heads, which helps our hero reach higher areas as well. Alternatively, Mickey can also collect apples and marbles that he can use to throw as projectiles against opponents. Throughout the game, players can also collect various items that increase the main mouse’s health, as well as bonus items that help in the quest to save Minnie.

Various new features to expect in this version include some new gameplay elements that weren’t seen or possible in the original version of the game. For instance, the titular Castle of Illusion itself can be explored in depth, with players unlocking closed doors by collecting gems throughout the game. Replayability is also given a boost through the inclusion of unlockable costumes for Mickey, which players can acquire by getting collectibles such as playing cards scattered throughout the game. However, Mickey’s task won’t be a run in the park either, as numerous changes to stages, puzzles, and enemies make the game a tad more challenging than it previously was.

For the equivalent of $15, this remade version of "Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse" will certainly please those looking for a bit of “old school” in their games, especially those who grew up playing the original in the 16-bit era better known as the “Console Wars” generation.

Much like fellow Disney game classic Ducktales that got a High Definition remake in the form of "DuckTales: Remastered," this game takes me back to old times, and it’s nice to see a Mickey Mouse game that’s goes back to the roots of generation that’s enjoyed magic and fantasy stories, and this one doesn’t disappoint in weaving together a simple yet relatable adventure where you root for the hero to triumph against evil.

"Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse," developed by Sega Studios Australia, is now available as a paid downloadable game for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. — VC, GMA News
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