perjantai 13. toukokuuta 2011

REVIEW - Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse (1994)

GENRE(S): Platform
RELEASED: October 1994
DEVELOPER(S): Traveller's Tales, Psygnosis (PS1)
PUBLISHER(S): Sony Imagesoft, Sony Computer Entertainment, Disney Interactive (PS1)

Sony Imagesoft. Hmm. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen all the worst video games I am to see in my life just yet, but if I had to make a Top 10 list of the worst games I've ever played as of now (not to be confused with any small portion of the VGMania Bottom 30!), Sony Imagesoft would probably be responsible for at least two or three games on it. In 1994, they published a platformer entitled Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse. This highly anticipated, stylish platformer was supposed to be released on Mickey's 65th birthday in 1993, but the designers couldn't settle with the time limit they were offered for its development, so it was delayed by a year. The game wasn't noticed quite as well as it could've been, but it was nevertheless a critical success, and a definite, positive breakthrough for Sony Imagesoft. What I've got to say about the game has nothing to do with who made it, but rather what kind of an enfuriating, overrated game it is. Welcome to the domain of the contrary.

Uh, oh! Uh, oh! Uh, oh!

Mickey goes on a little trip through time and his most memorable adventures to preserve them as they are, all the way from Steamboat Willie in 1928 to The Prince and the Pauper in 1990.

Mickey and Pete in Sin City.
Everything about this game is very appealing on paper, especially to a 10-year old kid who hasn't quite come up with a concrete opinion about Mickey Mouse as a character just yet. He grabs the latest issue of his favourite video game magazine and finds a very positive and visual review of a game called Mickey Mania. The game is about Mickey travelling through time and revisiting his most loved cartoons. As a sucker for movie history, including animated shorts, the kid simply wants that game. The kid can't have the game. A decade and a half later, that very same kid, now a young man, simply downloads the game off the Internet just for a chance to try it out, and he's very glad his mom never got him the game. And now I'm here.

Visually, the game is astounding. Apparently the Genesis version of the game looks the best, but this SNES version is already so ahead of every licensed game, including every Disney game of the time, it's hard to imagine a technically inferior system like the Genesis could do one better. Actually, several ones better, 'cause the Sega versions have a whole extra level and some details which are downright removed from the SNES version. I'm not here to talk about the Genesis version forever, I'm happy with the way the SNES version looks. The soundtrack's also very good, it mainly consists of whole new compositions by Traveller's Tales in-house talent instead of some usual adaptations of vintage Disney jingles. The sound effects are mostly good, but I downright despise Mickey's voice samples. Sometimes it feels you can't take one step without hearing "UH, OH!" coming from Mickey's mouth, indicating that he's in some sort of trouble which he actually isn't. That scream causes a panic attack, like this game wouldn't be hectic enough already.

All sorts of creepy bastards in the Mad Doctor's
There are some things that annoy me about some certain platformers on a global level. First and foremost, I do not like games that are based on dodging stuff rather than taking on enemies head-on. Double that if it's almost impossible to dodge all of the shit coming towards you, let's take Bubsy for example. Now Mickey Mania is no Bubsy game, I'll tell you that right now, but they share one thing in common: you never know what's going to hurt you, and how much. I also hate surprises in the form of falling boulders and falling branches, and mooses on a stampede, all of these happening at the same time and forcing you to decide what to dodge, because you can't dodge them all. I hate limited continues in a 1994 game that has got no save or password feature of any fashion. I hate damage taken from debris, especially if that debris is the remains of the enemies you defeat. I hate not being able to escape this debris in any way. I simply hate having to hurt myself to make progress. Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse is partly a good game, and a very stylish one, but it is also all about all these things I hate. And Mickey Mouse.

Just a nice little walk in the woods... with a
crazy moose on a stampede.
On my account, the style and audiovisuals of the game are pretty much the things that redeem the frustrating difficulty. The Magical Quest by Capcom, for example, is a fun game despite its high difficulty and the lack of a save feature. This game borders on impossible from the second level onward, and to top it all off, it has lengthy levels FULL of the most unfair trial and error there possibly can be, and only three continues, whereas Capcom had the decency to give us unlimited continues. Sure, you can start out with five lives instead of the default three - but does it help? Not one stinking bit. This game is pure hell to the core. It starts off all nice and easy, and so comfortable, but the second level condemns the meek to unforgiving torture by just about everything you see on the screen, even stuff you don't see. The third level, if you make it that far, takes things to yet another sphere. If you're somehow able to outrun it, you've already beaten 50% of the game. Congrats. And good luck for the rest of it. If you've made it this far, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be skilled enough to beat the whole thing.

You can attack enemies in this game by jumping on them, which is sometimes very dangerous, and by throwing marbles at them, which on the other hand are limited. Mostly the game is based on dodging enemies and obstacles, and that's what I most hate about it - it's unnatural for a platformer. I don't get what's so great about Mickey Mania as a game. It's great to look at and listen to, but personally, I have found heaps of much better and more balanced Disney-related video game entertainment elsewhere. Yes, even games that also have Mickey in them.

SOUND : 8.5


a.k.a. Mickey Mania, Mickey's Wild Adventure (PS1)

GameRankings: 90.00% (GEN), 100.00% (Sega-CD), 73.50% (SNES)

The first game designed by David Jaffe, who went on to create the Twisted Metal and God of War franchises.

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