Castle of Illusion
Developer: Sega Studios Australia | Publisher: SEGA | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Platform / Adventure / Casual | Website: n/a | Purchase: Steam
Hot on the heels of the Ducktales remake follows Castle Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, a beloved classic from the 16 bit era. When Minnie is captured by the evil witch Mizrabel, Mickey has to leap into action and traverse the castle of illusion to save his girlfriend. With Minnie locked up in a tower as Mizrabel prepares to siphon off her youth, Mickey is in a race to collect the seven gems needed to reach her.
I remember how impressed I was when I saw the 16 bit original all those years ago, but it never really grabbed me in the way that Ducktales did. I can however appreciate that fans of the famous mouse was eagerly waiting to see what Sega would deliver with this update. The first thing that becomes apparent when playing this title is that it is not just a straight up remake. Instead, the developers used the themes from the original to create a new experience. You’ll still face the same enemies and bosses, but everything has been given a brand new visual overhaul. Instead of the 2D style of the original the game is now 2.5D with levels wrapped around a 3D plane. This adds more flair to the stylish visuals and makes the platforming a bit more interesting due to the perspective shifts.
Occasionally levels open up for 3D sections where Mickey has to run away, Crash Bandicoot style, from something big rolling at the screen. There are also some 3D jumping sections which can be tricky if you don’t pay attention to Mickey’s shadow to ensure that you land on solid ground after jumps. Everything is tied together with a new castle hub that is ripped straight out of Super Mario 64 and requires the collection of diamonds during levels to unlock new stages.
With only five levels consisting of two stages plus a boss battle each, the game is rather short and I managed to complete the entire experience in one sitting. There are hidden cards and chili peppers to discover in order to unlock new costumes as well as speed runs to attempt, but this doesn’t extend the longevity by much due to the short levels.
The game is also rather on the easy side and if it wasn’t for the controls that felt a bit floaty I would have finished everything even faster. Even the boss battles are a walk in the park and apart from the final boss, I finished each one without losing a life. Falling down chasms only cost you a block of health or a trip back to the nearest checkpoint if you lose all your health. Enemies are dispatched by jumping on their heads or lobbing projectiles at them with the latter option the best due to the occasionally dodgy collision detection.
The audio is nice and I appreciated the option to toggle between the remastered soundtrack and the original score. The story, as basic as it is, is narrated by none other than Sully from the Uncharted series (Richard McGonagle.) Mickey also provides a few quips with his iconic voice. I played the game using a gamepad and to be honest the controls felt a bit fiddly. I don’t know if this is due to the framerate being capped at 30 fps or input lag, but it does take some getting used to.
While I cannot fault the polished visuals and audio the gameplay suffers when compared to newer titles such as Rayman Legends. It is nice to see classics being reworked and it’s clear that this game was lavished with more attention than the usual cheap cash-ins but it still falls a bit short of modern standards. If you are a fan of the original you might be able to overlook some of the issues, but it would have been better value for money if it was combined with one of the other titles in the “Illusion” series.
*Review originally published September 2013.
- OS: Windows Vista SP2+
- Processor: 2.8 Ghz Dual Core (minimum)
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: ATI 2600/Nvidia 8600 (minimum)
- DirectX: Version 10
- Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core (recommended)
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: ATI 4850/Nvidia 8800 (recommended)
- DirectX: Version 11
- Hard Drive: 2 GB available space