HOLY CRAP. Castle Of Illusion is amazing!

#1 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

I'm really surrised there is nobody talking about this game in the forums.

Castle Of Illusion is a game I have fond memories of because a bunch of friends and I traded the controller around trying to beat it at a sleepover when I was young. I never had a Sega Genesis, so I never played the game ever again. When I saw that they were remaking the game, I was excited to play it again and hoping that the new game would do my memories justice.

It doesn't. The new Castle Of Illusion, from what I can tell/remember, has almost nothing to do with the old game aside from the general theme. This is going to upset nostalgia gamers, and I can imagine Jeff dumping on it just for that reason.

But what Castle of Illusion IS, is an absolutely gorgeous, clever and fun celebration of Disney. To some extent, it feels like what Warren Spector was probably TRYING to do with Epic Mickey. I can't over-stress how gorgeous this game is. To some extent, it feels like a "next generation" game. It's not that the visuals are high poly models or that it uses some complex physics or something, it is just so overrun with loving attention to detail that it feels on a whole other level than other games of this generation. By that, I mean that it is essentially a "platform game", but the "path" frequently feels completely invisible because the environment is so completely cohesive. Details like the way that mickey's ear (I guess) shifts around on top of his head so that both ears are showing whether he is in profile or facing the camera are just amazing. The game makes me wish I had a much bigger tv (I use a 17 inch monitor). The orchestrated music is incredible as well. The rumbling of the low end strings sounds rousing during things like chase scenes, and it makes me even more angry at the games industry for abandoning videogame music in favor of incidental musical stingers (to be more like movies.)

The level design is fantastic. The game isn't hard, by any stretch of the imagination, which would be major points off in my book, except that there is always a little challenge just off the main path to keep you interested, and these can actually be fairly difficult. It's fine if games are easy, so long as there is the option for challenge and difficulty for those who want it. It's also incredibly clever. My only potential disappointment is that they won't crank the difficulty up on some of the more clever puzzle interludes for them to really shine.

The game basically steals the hub interface of Super Mario 64 and applies it to Castle Of Illusion. That's totally fine, in my book. In fact, when the OG Xbox was brand new, there was a mickey game in development to make the launch window. It turned out to be some kind fo point and click gimmick game that was quietly cancelled, but I always hoped it would be a Mario 64-like Mickey Adventure. Castle Of Illusion feels exactly like what I hope that would have been.

At this point, (just cleared world 2) the only negatives I see are that the game is, as I said, somewhat easy. Lives don't really matter, which means 1-ups and health upgrades don't really matter. WHich means collectibles don't matter. WHich means you have no incentive to complete challenges to collect them. In that way, it fails in it's design, but that's common for games these days. many gamers would probably see it as a plus to not have the "stress" of having to worry about those gameplay elements. Also, mickey controls a little clunky. This reared it's ugly head in once chase scene where I died a few times trying to get mickey to turn a corner from "3d control" to "2d control" (like an old playstation game). His jump is also a little too floaty, but that is in keeping with the original game, I believe.

IN the end, if you love platform games, buy this game.

If you love Disney, BUY THIS GAME.

If you want to see SEGA somehow, out of the blue, do something right for a change, buy this game.

If you want to play a game that is charming instead of mean spirited or angst, buy this game.

If you have 15 bucks... Buy this game!

#2 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3532 posts) -

Well, you at least talked me into checking out the trial version.

#3 Posted by Wolfgame (677 posts) -

Surprised this title isn't getting more traction today. Your post certainly has me even more excited for the game. Gonna be bogged down in programming classes till this weekend but I am certainly planning to check it out.

#4 Posted by ProfessorEss (7253 posts) -

I feel like we would've seen a quicklook on here today had Rayman Legends not just come out.

#5 Posted by Wolfgame (677 posts) -

Wanted to hop back in and say I played through the 360 version in full yesterday and found it to be a very pleasant experience. It took me a while to get used to the jumping, but everything blended together to create a fantastic retro experience. The detail in the environments and the way the music seamlessly transitions depending on the area of the level you are in was simply amazing. I encourage those of you curious about this game to consider trying the demo, I could see why it may seem like a shoddy game if you only use the quick look as a reference, but this is what a hd remake is supposed to be. The total package here was created with love and affection for the retro platforming era. I highly recommend this game to anyone who has fond memories of older platformers that most of us grew up with.

#6 Posted by Doskias (300 posts) -

I tried the trial on 360 and it seemed pretty cool. Beautiful to look at, and all-around a pleasant experience. Not thrilled with the responsiveness of the controls, but I can get over that.

Protip: in an area free of enemies, push the left stick in only slightly to view Mickey's fantastic walk cycle. He walks like Mickey Mouse, and I love it.

#7 Posted by Baillie (4026 posts) -

World of Illusion was so much better, guys!

#8 Posted by AlexGlass (688 posts) -

Yeah, I recently went back and tried playing some of the old school Genesis Mickey Mouse games. They are really good platformers. I bet so many people think they're just kiddy games. I was guilty of this myself. But they really are great and fantastic games. I will definitely keep an eye out on all MM games from here on out.

#9 Edited by NMC2008 (1227 posts) -

@baillie said:

World of Illusion was so much better, guys!

I strongly disagree, I thought WOI was boring as shit, but of course, that's my opinion.

But yeah, COI is amazing, I 100%'ed this already.

#10 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@wolfgame said:

Wanted to hop back in and say I played through the 360 version in full yesterday and found it to be a very pleasant experience. It took me a while to get used to the jumping, but everything blended together to create a fantastic retro experience. The detail in the environments and the way the music seamlessly transitions depending on the area of the level you are in was simply amazing. I encourage those of you curious about this game to consider trying the demo, I could see why it may seem like a shoddy game if you only use the quick look as a reference, but this is what a hd remake is supposed to be. The total package here was created with love and affection for the retro platforming era. I highly recommend this game to anyone who has fond memories of older platformers that most of us grew up with.

Yeah, the level of detail is just staggering.

As I'm replaying it trying to 100% everything, I'm thinking about that concept of build quality. because it's typically not something that people talk about in games and it's certainly not something that makes for a back of the box checklist. People tend to care about "number of levels" and "number of hours of gameplay" or "storyline" but there's no way to quantify something as nebulous as this games staggering level of craftsmanship.

Like the use of color, for example. Like mickey's "mickey mouse noises" prompting a huge SHHH!!! from off camera in the library level or all the little A enemies yelling "a! a! a! a!". Stuff like that, and even the nararator's terrible puns, put a huge smile on my face.

So many games are all about the payoff, but this game is actually enjoyable just PLAYING it, which seems to rare. Also, I'm not sure how people call it easy. I'm a pretty seasoned gamer and it took me a while to beat certain sections, like the final confrontation.

#11 Posted by CornBREDX (4754 posts) -

@jazgalaxy: Ya it's a pretty neat game- it inspired me to write about it somewhere. It's one of the better remakes of a classic I've seen. It's kind of a shame its so short, but at the same time playing it (for the most part) is a lot of fun- there's no padding out or whatever of the game play.

It is pretty easy though. I mean I died a lot but I still finished it in a little over 2 hours. That's pretty simple.

There isn't really much else they could do with it, though, and I'm fine with that. The game is what it wants to be.

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