Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (1990) (Old Review)

So Sega have remade the Disney game Castle of Illusion, with new graphics and tweaked game play, available on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam. And as for me, just as the remake was released, I stumble upon the original game for the Sega Mega Drive for £5 at a charity shop, along with Desert Strike and what a deal it was, probably cheaper than the remake.

Many years ago, Mickey Mouse was one of the most well known characters by children, but he’s now lost that title to Mario, but for Disney, although he’s still around, he’s the character that is well associated with Disney. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (known in Japan as I Love Mickey Mouse: Great Mysterious Castle Adventure (アイラブ ミッキーマウス ふしぎのお城大冒険 Ai Rabu Mikkī Mausu: Fushigi no Shiro Daibōken?)), released in November 1990 in Europe, North America and Japan, developed and released by Sega (AM7).

In Vera City, Mickey and Minnie are happy because Walt Disney says so I guess, but the evil Mizrabel kidnaps Minnie so she can steal her youth, so Mickey must find some special gems to make a bridge to enter the villain’s castle to rescue her. So it’s the usual platform game in which you need to go into the Castle of Illusion and to enter levels, go through doors. The way to attack is just jump twice and use Mickey’s bum to bop them to death, Mickey can also collect projectiles such as apples and marbles to throw at his opponents. The attacks were fun to use but the game however is very challenging.

Stage 1 is easy enough with an easy boss, stage 2 gets challenging with a very hard boss, it gets harder and I was shocked beyond belief that a Disney game can be this tough. It ain’t no Ghosts n’ Goblins in terms of difficulty but for kids, it’s just gets hard over time. The music, composed by Tokuhiko Uwabo is very memorable, they might not make me hum to them but it has the Disney touch to it which makes it very atmospheric.

The graphics are excellent for it’s time, this and some others helped popularise the Mega Drive until Sonic blew people away, in the Toyland level there’s an area in which you’ll be able to play upside down, now that’s amazing, why aren’t there more levels that consist of going upside down, Rugrats: Search for Raptor did it for a one level and it’s my favourite level.

Did you Know? An 8-bit version of the game called I Love Mickey Mouse’s Castle Illusion (アイラブミッキーマウスのキャッスル・イリユージヨン Ai Rabu Mikkī Mausu no Kyassuru Irūjon?) in Japan, was later released for the Master System and Game Gear, the Master System and Game Gear versions of the game feature different game mechanics, levels and graphics. It was re-released in 1998 in Japan as part of the Sega Ages: Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck for the Sega Saturn, which features both Castle of Illusion and QuackShot.

Overall, it’s probably one of my favourite Mega Drive games so far, it has the engrossing levels, the amazing graphics, the Disney music and the insane challenge it brings into the game, I would like younger children of this generation to try this, they’ll be a pro in gaming for years to come.

A remake of the game by Sega Studios Australia was released for PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and PC in September 2013. I haven’t played the remake, but from what I heard, it’s quite faithful and brings to life the atmosphere in the levels, but has it’s flaws, so it’s not perfect, if you have a PlayStation 3, you get the original game if you pre-ordered it, nice! If you’re looking to get some corporate Disney magic in you, you can’t go wrong with the original Castle of Illusion which some how became a franchise that spawned a few more Illusion games.

You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Sega Saturn and PlayStation Network (as pre-order bonus for the remake).


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