Personal Rating: "Worth playing"
Traditional Rating: 7/10
Genre: Platform Adventure
Disney was no stranger to the late eighties and nineties consoles back when it was Nintendo waging a console war with SEGA. Arguably two of the most memorable titles for each system were Ducktales for the NES and Castle of Illusion for the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis. Ducktales had the edge - being more fiendishly difficult than Mickey Mouse's SEGA outing but both exuded charm and were bestsellers on either system.
Cut forward 25+ years to the year 2013 as both popular titles re-emerged in full HD glory for a new generation of gamers and for the first time ever - debuting on the PC. I can see that the more modern gamer will probably find the gameplay on display here a bit antiquated and Castle of Illusion will possibly hold very little appeal for them (outside of the Mickey Mouse and Disney connection) but it's clear the intention here - Castle of Illusion is a love letter to the gamer that cut his/her teeth on these kind of games in the past. While Ducktales: Remasterd is a scene by scene remake (with newly implemented graphical cut-scenes), Castle of Illusion is more of a re-imagining taking the five levels of illusion Mickey must traverse in order to save his dearly beloved, Minnie Mouse, from the clutches of the evil witch Mizrabel and giving each of them a modern spin and a completely new lick of paint. Each of these worlds, like the original, are split into two relatively short levels with the third housing a boss battle for Mickey to overcome.
I had great fun playing this game as a child back in the early nineties so it was pure nostalgic delight exploring these redesigned levels that pay due homage to the levels from the old SEGA classic. While I never found the game on the Mega Drive to be particularly challenging it was certainly a fun romp for my childlike sensibilities back then and this remake of Castle of Illusion fits the bill quite nicely. Most experienced platform gamers will breeze through Castle of Illusion in a jiffy but the controls are tight (except for the swimming sections where it feels like one is trying to maneuver a tank through a mouse hole) and for the most part the game plays and looks beautiful on modern systems.
Castle of Illusion is a simple platformer and when put under scrutiny one can see how mechanically game development has moved along in leaps and bounds - you just have to compare this title with the recently released Rayman Legends to see that Castle of Illusion is nothing more than a nostalgic time-capsule that embraces an age when games were far more simpler and innocent without all the moral grey areas that encapsulates modern gaming today.
If you have fond memories of playing through Castle of Illusion as a child, I wouldn't hesitate to encourage you to pick it up. Chances are you will probably have families and kids of your own now so this is a great way to introduce them to the kinds of games you used to play as a kid. At $14.99 it's priced just about right for the amount of adventure time held and its a great way to spend an afternoon with an old friend from the past.