For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.
After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:
I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."
We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.
Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
23- The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse:
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
As the highest rated game that resulted from the 16 bit Disney/Capcom alliance, I expected much more from Mickey Mouse than I actually got. Not a bad game at all, Mickey Mouse however is upstaged by Uncle Scrooge in the NES, and Simba in the SNES.
Ultimately, The Magical Quest proves lacking in magic, and is only a good game. More Yen Sid would have worked wonders on this game.
"Where are ya' pal"
Starting Mickey into the perilous path towards Emperor Pete's castle is the unfortunate kidnap of Pluto. Of course, Minny, Goody, or Donald could have been kidnapped interchangeably and little would change. Regardless of his reason, the world's most famous mouse goes through six different stages while faced against the bull-looking cat.
With little thematic element actually taken from Disney classics, The Magical Quest is obviously lacking a central creative style. Take for instance the Wizard who helps Mickey earlier in his quest. Instead of the droopy-looking character we got, it could have been Yen Sid from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" or even Merlin.
All levels show the lack of a central premise. With unimaginative settings, the levels end up repeating platformers cliche, with a forest level, a fire level, a snow level. Compare that to the Lion King game, where the levels gain a lot of the flavor provided by the film. Similarly, the game's enemies, its music, and even its gameplay has nothing to do with Mickey Mouse or Disney. Only the titular hero and Pete signal the Disney connection.
Essentially, this is a game with Mickey's face simply plastered over. It doesn't gain anything but brand recognition, and it loses by not using the huge creative output of past Disney shorts.
Mickey is only Wallpaper: -3
Unimaginative Design: -3
"Follow the Emperor's Statues"
In the pursuit of Pluto, Mickey is armed with three central mechanics. The time-proven technique of jumping on your enemies heads, picking-up objects and spinning them, and the three costumes he acquires throughout the quest.
Jumping is handled as usual, with Mickey having the signature floaty jump of the Capcom SNES platformers. The spinning mechanic is an interesting, albeit underused mechanic in the game. In its most basic form, Mickey can grab block and stunned enemies, and spin them like a top forward to attack other enemies. Additionally, he can grab environmental objects, and spin them for interesting results. For instance, a flying tomato starts floating upwards after being spun; taking you with it upwards if you grab it in mid-flight. Unfortunately, such creative applications are rarely used, and it ends up a lost opportunity.
Other than jumping and spinning tops, Mickey adorns three different costumes that lend different abilities to him. The Magical Turban gives Mickey a projectile attack, allows him to breath underwater, and even breathes life to a magic carpet. Wearing a firefighter suit allows Mickey to effectively fight fire, push blocks with his water hose, and even interact with ice in interesting ways. The final mountaineering costume is the best of all, proving that a grappling hook improves any game.
Each costume works well in their respective stages. However, there is limited interaction between the costumes in each level, underscored by the annoying animation whenever you switch costumes. Ultimately, the costumes work really well in one stage, and feel somewhat underused in other levels. This is perhaps due to a game that is short and underdeveloped.
Signalling the end of each section is a giant stone door shaped like Pete's face. And each level is made of several sections, a mid-boss, and an end boss. This equals roughly 6 hours of gameplay or less, with little for replays.
Costumes are Cool: +4
Short Game: -2
"Use it wisely and be careful"
Surprisingly, Mickey Mouse proves to be a challenging game. While the regular level is easy enough, the bosses prove to be the game' highlights, as well as its most demanding obstacles. Both in design and gameplay, each boss offers enough menace and a unique twist to challenge the player.
Take the first boss for example, what first starts like an easy pattern boss, soon proves to have more tricks up his sleeves. Basically some snake creature with Pete's face (isn't that some nightmare fuel?), the boss alternates his jumps, and offers some projectile action as well.
Other bosses offer their own unique challenges as well, most incorporating one of the costumes in the fight. Even the mid-level bosses offer some interesting challenge. With each boss fight an actual obstacle, it will demand pattern memorization as well as serious twitch work from the player. Culminating into a satisfying end to each battle.
Great Boss Battles: +5
"Gawrsh Mickey, I still can't find Pluto"
Just like the basic, and even poor characterization of Mickey, the game shows a lack of polish in its whole design. While the world graphics are colorful, and the backgrounds are pleasant, we get some phoned in music tracks.
All in all, this a game that aesthetically bounded by it Disney connection, yet makes no effort to benefit from it. Since I already criticizes this earlier, I am just going to comment on the design aspects of the game.
Graphically, the game probably is among the best visually in 1992. With clean sprites, and well animated characters, the game comes to life best in motion. Each level offers its own unique taste as well, with both foreground and background combining to make-up lovely levels, even if they have nothing to do with the Disney universe.
However, the game's soundtrack is simply weak. With no single track being memorable, I don't know whether it suffers from repetition or if the tracks are simply indistinguishable from each other. In an age where the melody made the game, there was no magic in Mickey's soundtrack.
Good Graphics: +3
Terrible Music: -4
I confess that I don't understand why this game is as highly rated as it is. I am even surprised to see calls for it being remastered like Ducktales was (a much superior game). While I had my fun with Mickey, I actually enjoyed most other Disney/Capcom games better.
Even more baffling is the decision of IGN to put this game at #23 in their list of top 100 SNES games. Topping it against much more superior platfromers like Donkey Kong Country 1 and 3 (2 is higher in the list), Kirby 3, and even Capcom's own Aladdin and The Lion King. Simply baffeling.
1- You can spin tomatoes and then hover with them.
2- Look around for extra heart containers, you will need them.
3- You can grapple the egg of the bird boss, and then hit him with it.
4- You don't need to defeat all the mid-bosses in the final level, they are just trap doors.
5- Use Turban Magic to shoot the carpets in order to use them.
Now we are at the gates of the top 20 games, which means I have already played most of these games (so I won't be reviewing them here). However, I missed some gems, and one of them is the much beloved Castelvania IV @ #21.
Here is hoping its deserves all its love
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