Fangirl Friday: Castle of Illusion

One of the things Dear Betrothed and I have decided to do once we’re in the new house is a regular retro gaming night. We’ll take turns choosing retro games to play, and I plan on whipping up a themed dinner or cocktail to go along with it.

The house building is a way’s from being finished, but last weekend we had our first unofficial retro gaming night at his mom’s house.

First up for my choice: The 1990 Sega Genesis classic, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse! If you had a Genesis back in the day and never played the gem (pun intended!), I’m sorry. The pun there, you see, comes from the fact that the game has you play as Mickey, collecting precious gems as you race to save Minnie from the evil witch Mizrabel.

(Side note: As a kid, I never realized Mizrabel’s name was like “miserable,” or that, unrelated to this game, Cruella DeVille’s name was like “cruel devil.”)

Take a look at those state of the art 1990 graphics!!!

Castle of Illusion is a classic single player, side-scrolling platformer with a boss at the end of each level, unless you play on the easy setting.

The game play is pretty standard for platformers of its day: scurry to the end of each level, collecting as many goodies as possible while either dodging or eliminating baddies by jumping on them. You don’t unlock any special maneuvers over the course of the game. Rather, Mickey’s platforming weapons include high jumps (by holding the jump button when landing on an enemy) and throwing poison apples at enemies.

The enemies are pretty simplistic in the sense that they respawn in the

I’m honestly not well-versed enough in the history of random enemy spawning technology in games to know whether that was even a possibility back then. Perhaps that shall be a topic for another Fangirl Friday!

Anyway, aside from any boredom produced by the monotony in game play and enemy spawning, the real charm in Castle of Illusion lies in its quaint backdrops, adorable protagonist, and charming music. Even the way Mickey innocently bounces his hips in child-like impatience when you have him standing still — it’s all so darn sweet and nostalgic.

For a fun trip down gaming memory lane, or simply a lighthearted afternoon of classic Disney gaming, I highly recommend Castle of Illusion. It may not be the most complex platformer of its day, but it’s sure to satisfy a nostalgic gamer’s sweet tooth.

Tell me, if you’ve played it, what did you think?


One comment

  1. Love retro games. Dabbling in NES and Genesis Roms is always a good time. I very much enjoy when I can sit down and play some Xbox, but there’s something about the nostalgia of games I played growing up that can’t be rivaled. Just a couple months ago I spent the better part of a week beating the original Zelda….recreating and remarking the world and dungeon maps by hand similar to how it was back in the day when I couldn’t afford Game Informer’s magazine with all the maps and tricks in it. If you like Zelda/fantasy and you’re playing Genesis, I recommend Landstalker…it’s like Zelda and Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones in one.

    But yeah, Castle of Illusion, Sonic, Toejam and Earl, etc were all fun, mindless games. Like you said, easy to get bored with the repetitiveness of the levels and enemies, but the characters and their idiosyncrasies really made the game.

    Glad to hear with all the hectic-ness surrounding your life adjustments you still make time for enjoyable activities.


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