Review by AndrewTS
Reviewed: 10/24/02 | Updated: 10/24/02
Now this is how you do a license justice!
Nearly every gamer eventually learns a harsh lesson, the hard way: licensed games, with few exceptions, generally suck. Take a look at practically every Acclaim licensed game (okay, they make lousy games anyway), or such disasters as Superman 64.
The fact is, a lot of companies rely on the name on the box to sell the game, and put little effort into the game. Other times, it's that the license doesn't lend itself well to a game.
Oddly, Mickey Mouse, one of the most popular cartoon characters in history, has escaped this trend. With the seminal Castle of Illusion and this game--Mickey Mania--Disney has another testament to their wisdom in choosing developers for their games. Almost every Disney game out there is a good one. And a lot of effort went into this game...heck, many may be surprised to see the Psygnosis and Travellers Tales names, as well as be surprised to see ''Sony Imagesoft'' on the box years before Sega would be developing on SONY's game system.
At any rate, Mickey Mania came out in the mid-nineties, around the time other successful Disney games such as Aladdin and the Lion King were surprising gamers. And like them, came off very well.
Mickey Mania traces Mickey's history by making levels out of his most popular cartoons. This is done in the action platformer style, just like nearly all of the Disney games. The game even begins with Mickey's debut cartoon, Steamboat Willie! Harken back to the days when cartoons didn't have to include mutilation of each other, and before Disney made straight-to-video sequels of their classics, and ripped off anime titles for new movies (Lion King vs. Kimba the White Lion and Atlantis vs. Nadia, anyone?). It's very fitting that Mickey get this royal treatment due to his status--he's had so much influence and is such a part of American culture--although his Club did introduce us to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (for shame, Mickey).
Mickey Mania is one of the most beautiful 16 bit games EVER! All of the featured characters have plenty of animation, are drawn in great detail, and are quite large. There's AMAZING color--64 colors?! I don't think so. Mickey and the Beanstalk's garden section looks nearly as good as Rayman's first level, or the table top level. To say nothing of the Prince and the Pauper's halls and library. The enemies look ready to jump off the screen, and overall the game looks like a living cartoon, putting the visuals up there with the Earthworm Jim and DKC games (in some places surpassing them).
In addition, cool visual effects are seen in nearly every level, such as scaling cranes, a rotating tower, the Mode 7 style moose chase sequence, and more. Little details like embers shooting out of fireplaces, smoke coming off candles, and more--there isn't an ugly moment to be seen in the game. Well, except for Pete, of course.
Mickey can do more than the average mouse, but he doesn't really have that many moves at his disposal. The head stomp maneuver--a favorite among fuzzy platform heroes--can be used by Mickey, but it won't work on a lot of enemies. Thus you can be trying to use it to attack and you may get damaged instead. Generally though, remember that ground based enemies can be stomped, and any flying enemies usually can't unless they are flying low enough to be cleared.
The usual form of attack will be tossing marbles, which Mickey collects as he goes--when you run out, it's down to stomping or avoiding until you find more.
Mickey walks quite slow, but builds up some speed if he keeps going--but generally you won't be going fast. Precise jumping will be part of the battle, but you must land perfect. Like with attacking enemies, this can be tricky. A lot of these cartoony games often suffer from a common problem--control. Sometimes collision is iffy and you may miss a crucial jump. You have 5 ''hits'' to start, shown by Mickey's gloved hand in the upper left corner. Unfortunately, a lot of the times you die will be due to falling in pits, which contributes to the lowered score.
Once you get used to the control, Mickey is fun to use, but the awkwardness at first may leave some frustrated at getting their butt kicked on a game starring Mickey Mouse!
Also, there are a number of sections where you will likely die a LOT--usually by falling into pits/off the screen. Pits are the bane of a platform lover, but they were all the rage back then. We hate them and hope to never see them again, but in here I'm not too surprised to see them.
However, it just takes some learning to overcome, and it won't take that much effort to get to the cool bosses!
It's a CD game! It damn well BETTER have good audio!
The soundtrack is a remixed version of the cartridge music, and sounds great, sets the moods, and heightens at the right times. Nothing overly intense, save for the boss music. It can be quite memorable, with the Mad Doctor level's themes in particular.
Mickey himself chimes in with voice samples now and then. A few words here and there, as well as introducing the level. More samples are included than in the cartridge games.
The game is fun to play, but with not that many secrets, is only worth replaying just for checking out the levels again and improving your own skills. There IS a secret level, which you can find by looking thoroughly. However, it's a shame more wasn't done with the CD format, such as adding an entirely brand new level based on any Mickey cartoon. There is an additional boss battle on this version, though.
The game has its flaws, but overall is a great, fun-filled adventure for anyone, not just Mickey fans. Younger gamers may find it too difficult--but there is a level select code for the lazy. Another great platformer for the Sega CD to join that worm and hedgehog!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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