Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse: Sneak Peek Hands-on

The 1990 Sega Genesis classic “Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse” is getting a 3D makeover on the PC, Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network this September and from our early hands-on, Mickey is at his near side-scrolling best.

The story itself needs no introduction. Minnie Mouse is kidnapped by the evil witch Mizrabel, who wants the sweetie pie’s youth. It’s up to Mickey to then obtain seven gems that will allow him to build a bridge to get to the castle tower where Minnie is being held captive.

Sure, it’s not something you’d see in a Fallout game, but the story was written in 1990, calm down. Regardless of the simplicity of the story, the gameplay holds up just fine. Traditional and old-school, the side-scrolling adventure will take you back to your youth when games like this flooded the marketplace. Even younger gamers, who have only briefly experienced older Mario and Donkey Kong Country titles, will find this title a refreshing addition to the genre.

That being said, if you grew up on the original version of “Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse,” this prettier version won’t do you wrong either. The enhanced graphics, narration, great boss battles and adorable cut-scenes add a level of replayability that will entice veteran games all over again. The added coat of paint also plays a huge role in introducing the game to children who never experienced it the first time.

While the graphics, voiceovers and 2.5D elements make the game feel fresh and new, the controls, at times, are finicky and not as responsive as you’d like. Enemies in close proximity to Mickey are often more difficult than they should be and bounce-jumping, the game’s big gameplay element, is also sometimes a pain. The controls take a little more getting used to than many older gamers would like, mainly because this game was originally meant to be played on a D-Pad- not an analog stick.

But regardless of the control issues, “Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse” on the PC, XBLA and PSN appears to be a fruitful and fun new-look at a classic that can be quite addictive. Simply put, if you have a kiddo in your home who has Mickey Mouse Club on DVR, this game has the goods to quickly become one of their favorites.

The new and improved version of “Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse” is set for a September 3 release on the PC, Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. Those who pre-order the game before September 2 will also get the original version.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12939 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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