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World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Review

1990’s Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse was an early hit for the Mega Drive. The SEGA-developed platformer was an excellent little game full of beautiful scenarios, smart level design and tight controls and it was gently dipped in that lovely, Disney goo that makes the experience all the more magical. A sequel was inevitable and the next two years saw Castle of Illusion making its way to Master System and Game Gear. An original sequel for the 8 bit consoles came in the form of Land of Illusion and then things came full circle with another Mega Drive game in the form of World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (that title is quite a mouthful).

World of Illusion takes “Disney magic” almost literally. Mickey and Donald are practicing a magic act when they uncover a magical box owned by an evil magician who takes the form of Pete. Pete whisks Mickey and Donald away into the magical world in the box and it’s up to our two heroes to find a way home.

The game takes you on a whistle-stop tour of Disney history with cameo appearances coming from Goofy, Huey, Dewey, Louie, The Mad Hatter and Madam Mim. It’s a wonderful throwback to a great selection of Disney classics and some areas like the sweets and library stages even resemble those seen in Castle of Illusion.

While nostalgia is obviously key to World of Illusion’s design, it still feels like a very unique game thanks to the graphical overhaul. World of Illusion is an absolutely gorgeous game to behold and the stages are full of detail and drenched in colour. Character sprites are beautifully animated which would become a trademark of Disney games on the Mega Drive.

Where the game really shines is in its gameplay. Controls are extremely simple: A to run, B to attack with your cape and C allows you to jump. Crouching and pressing C will allow you to crawl through small gaps and gimmicks such as flying carpets and bubbles allow you to traverse the air and sea respectively. Both Mickey and Donald are wonderfully responsive to control and even though the characters don’t get unique abilities, what the game offers as an alternative is much more interesting.

Playing single player as either Mickey or Donald means you will see areas of the game that are exclusive to that character. This is a fantastic inclusion that means a second playthrough with another character wields more areas to explore and more secrets.

The proceedings get even more interesting when two players play cooperatively. In co-op mode, even more new areas become available as well as a few extra gameplay gimmicks. When one character is higher than the other they can let down a rope to help the other one up. This becomes a clever gameplay addition as you work together to overcome obstacles. Another stage has you working together on a handcar and you must alternate pressing down to pump the handcar along a track while avoiding falling rocks. World of Illusion has so much to offer depending on how you play and it’s a much better game for it.

The only real negative that we can level against the game is that compared to other games in the series, World of Illusion is a considerably easier experience. Maybe Disney understood their audience better by the time World of Illusion came around and they specifically made the game more manageable for their younger audience. Whatever the reason, anyone experienced with platform games will be able to blast through World of Illusion without wasting a continue. The game is even generous enough to offer passwords if you do find yourself using a continue, but a playthrough is so short that it’s barely worth making the effort to note them down.

In conclusion, World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck is a worthy addition to the Illusion series and a great sequel to Castle of Illusion. The emphasis on co-operative play is a welcome addition and an extremely enjoyable one that opens up more areas and more things to play with. SEGA threw all their best ideas into this game and it makes for a wonderful gameplay experience that will hopefully bring friends and families together. The easy difficulty and short play-length barely detract from what is a fantastic platformer.


Written by Lewis “Sonic Yoda” Clark on 02/02/2015

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