Sunday, December 19, 2010

World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (1992, Sega, Genesis)

Mickey Mouse has always been one of those characters that has been "around the block" in video games. The iconic rodent has been on almost every console in some shape or form, and unlike most games based on licensed characters, his track record is surprisingly clean. Most retro gamers appreciate Mickey's efforts on the 16-Bit consoles, and World of Illusion is of course no exception, despite a few minor setbacks.

The plot is this: Mickey and Donald are practicing a magic show when all of a sudden Donald discovers a box of some sort backstage. Donald's curiosity got the best of him and he looks inside, being pulled inside in the process. Mickey of course jumps in after him. When they enter, another magician challenges them to fight and defeat him in order to escape this new world they just arrived in.

Gameplay is simple yet enjoyable. It's a ordinary platformer with a cool twist: two player co-op. Both Mickey and Donald can be controlled at once, and it's substantially more fun to play with a friend. You'll notice that both heroes move rather slowly, but there is a "dash" button that can be used for quicker movement. But the kicker with this concept is the level design; there is simply too much stuff to run into that you would be better off just to ignore this feature all together, but at the same time it makes the game seem rather tedious in the process. It's a bit of a strange flaw, but can easily be overlooked.

Believe it or not, the game actually changes depending how you play it. If you play as Mickey, the game is basically at normal mode; the way the game is meant to be played. If you play as Donald, the game becomes significantly more difficult, focusing on pinpoint jumps and evading enemies rather than attacking like Mickey. If you play co-op, the game becomes much more focused on teamwork, adding some new stages designed for two players. This diversity within the game gives it alot of replay value; always a good thing in video games.

Ive always enjoyed the graphics in 16-Bit Disney games, and World of Illusion is no exception. Both Mickey and Donald animate well and the stages are bright and colorful. Bosses are visually impressive, yet easy and uninteresting to fight. The audio is decent as well, however some music stands out more than others (the ocean level sounds pretty) and the effects are a little weak on certain ends.

There are of course some issues. Both characters attacks consist of a enchanted cape that they fling at enemies; turning them into harmless objects, but the cape kind of has a awkward angle of attack which can lead to some cheap hits here and there, but for the most part the attack works just fine. The level design is a times less than perfect, there are traps placed is some very precarious areas that are next to impossible to avoid, again, leading to some mandatory damage.

Despite some pretty glaring flaws like cheap hits and occasionally weak controls, World of Illusion is a excellent sidescroller with a neat 2-Player option. The visuals are stylish and diverse, the gameplay is solid and relatively challenging, the ocean stage's music is really good, and to top it all off, it has the most iconic cartoon character around as the main character. World of Illusion is part of a consistently good "Illusion" series that is the favorite of many Disney fans, and going by this game it's not too hard to see why.

+ Colorful graphics.
+ Awesome 2-Player option.
+ Diverse gameplay options.
+ Relaxing ocean tune.

- Questionable "dash" option.
- A cheap hit here and there.
- Inconsistent sound design.

OVERALL: 8.2 out of 10

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