Retro Revolution: Disney Diamonds
Posted on Saturday, September 29 @ 08:08:53 Eastern by KevinSA whole poop-ton of licensed games suck. At this point, it's almost a given that a game with a big name attached—like Iron Man 2 or Superman 64 or Simpsons Wrestling—are going to be terrible, if not worse. But believe it or not, back in earlier days, some of those licensed games were actually competent, despite sometimes being either extremely easy or frustratingly difficult.
So after a trip to Orlando last week for a few rounds of Epic Mickey: Power Of Illusion, I decided to dive back into my library and yank out a few gems from licensed gaming; specifically, those gems with the mouse ears that have affected my life somehow. There are too many for me to go into detail here, so leave your favorites (or banes of your existence) in the comments!
Disney's Adventures in the Magic Kingdom (NES, 1990)
Back when games were hard and gamers were harder, Capcom was tasked with porting the Magic Kingdom into a tiny cart worthy of the Nintendo Seal of Quality. The end result was Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, a masochist's delight with various levels scattered around the Anaheim park. The whole point was to get all six of the silver keys needed to open up the park's gates and start the nightly parade, and to do so a player needed to answer a quiz, pick the right path, win the race, finish two platforming levels, and maneuver through an asteroid field. Don't worry, it all makes sense in presentation.
But what I remember the most was the lack of parade. 22-year-old spoiler, everyone: There is no parade at the end. In classic gaming fashion, the game ends with a happy shot of you—with your oversized cowboy hat—standing with Mickey and Goofy, happy as a clam. I shook my fist and claimed vengeance when I finally beat every stage in one sitting, but how could I stay mad after visiting the park? I couldn't. I tried anyway out of spite, but then I saw parts of the light show and parade. Now I just feel old.
The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES, 1992)
I have some fond memories of Mickey's SNES-bound quest. In order to save Pluto, Mickey had to roam through a magical world defeating magical bosses and collect his own magic in the form of unique hats (like a turban and a fireman's cap). It was some of the most out-and-out colorful programming I've ever seen in a video game, pastel backdrops behind pastel bad guys. It wasn't terribly amazing in the long run, but it was definitely pretty and handled well for the day.
DuckTales (NES, 1989)
Ah, those kids and grow'd-ups from Duckburg. Playing as dear Uncle Scrooge, you're off to find some of the greatest treasures the planet has ever hidden… and by "find", I mean "loot the ever-loving crap out of." As much as I enjoyed bouncing on my somehow rubbery cane, there's really something a bit messed up about cave robbing and searching around just to get even more exceptionally rich. But that's Scrooge's MO, so I can't fault him for that.
Okay, I can, but he can afford better lawyers.
Gargoyles (The Board Game, 1994)
Though there were Genesis and Game Boy games based on the cartoon, there's a version of Gargoyles that's rarer still. It came with a VHS tape to be played along with the board game itself and kept the game down to… twenty minutes? A half-hour? (It's hard to tell as I don't have it anymore, and info online is scarce.)
However long it was, it was the first time I played a game that was both a game and video, which made for some interesting yelling the third or fourth time I played it with cousins as we tried to figure out when a character would interrupt our turns. Screw you, Demona! You kept me from rolling the dice that one time when I coulda won!