The best and worst of Mickey Mouse

3. The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse

Above: Yep, Pluto’s back in the kidnap cannon 

We hate to bring it up again after having just gushed over it in this week’s Top 7… Kickass Disney Games, but if it weren’t a sentiment worth repeating, Capcom wouldn’t have spun it off into two sequels, right? For starters, you weren’t resigned to being a defenseless rodent in red underoos, no no no. Mickey got fancy-pants suits fit to wage war!

Adorning the various costumes morphed the notoriously timid rodent into an aggressive mouse of action, easily on equal footing with his contemporaries. Firing spells, vanquishing flame and grappling like a bionic commander were just a costume change away.

Any game starring Mickey Mouse is fighting an uphill battle against being perceived as a kids’ game, but luckily this was brought to us by Capcom and its knack for colorfully balanced gameplay. Switching up abilities eventually provided a fair bit of depth, as it allowed players to solve puzzles and defeat enemies Mickey couldn’t ordinarily pull off without his clever wardrobe. However, this Quest did fall back on some typical NES bullshit for the ending.

Above: Also known in the game world as the “Mario 2 Cop Out” ending 

2. Kingdom Hearts II | 2005

Above: Portrait of a badass

Yes, we called the original Kingdom Hearts our #1 favorite Disney game. But we’re talking Mickey-centric games now, and that’s where the sequel’s time to shine. Rather than putting Mickey into a submissive role, a Disney universe in peril reimagined by Square-Enix easily got away with warping the icon into the role of a noble king… an altruistic diplomat… and an acrobatic Jedi ninja who wielded a weapon of icy virtuous death!

Above: “Everyone chill… I got this”

Allegedly at the behest of Disney, Mickey spent all of the first KH fighting battles off screen like a crusading King Richard. That was remedied in the sequel, where you may now behold his Keyblazin’ asskickery in all its rumored glory. Plus, the mouse would even join Sora’s party, and you could control him for a short time.

Above: “I am gonna rip your head off and piss in your neck hole… Huh-HA!”

1. Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse | 1994

Hate Mickey, you say? We hear you. Part of caring about what’s now perceived as the soulless emblem to a tyrannical corporation is a love for the medium that popularized Mickey in the first place. Mickey Mouse is, always has been, and always will be a glorious benchmark of animation. That said, it’s doubtful there’s anybody out there not wearing footy pajamas carrying a torch for him if they’re not familiar with the cartoons for which he’s famous.

Above: Think Kingdom Hearts was the first pay tribute to Steamboat Willie?

So, we implore animation fans to turn their attention to Mickey Mania. Most of our little pre-teen brains didn’t comprehend what made “The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse” truly special beyond being a great platformer of the time. First off, you gotta marvel at the level of detail Traveller’s Tales put into the animation.

Second, and this is a biggie for animation buffs, each and every level is based on a specific Mickey Mouse short dating all the way back to 1928’s Steamboat Willie!

Steamboat Willie – 1928

The Mad Doctor – 1933

The Band Concert – 1935

The Moose Hunters – 1937

The Lonesome Ghosts – 1937

Mickey and the Beanstalk – 1947

The Prince and the Pauper – 1990

Nearly every game starring a silver age cartoon character ranges from half assed to piss poor. Even though gamers of all kinds could still revel in the fluid movement and clever puzzles found throughout, Mickey Mania should’ve warranted a purchase from animation buffs for its knowledge of the source material alone.

Above: Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised

They only downside to these charmingly authentic levels was that they must be played in chronological order, even though it looks like they weren’t designed as such. You’re looking at a bipolar rollercoaster of difficulty. Other than that, if you’ve ever once taken a course in comic illustration, or purchased one of the insanely great Disney Treasures DVDs, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of Mickey Mania.

Above: The 2D animation revival is nearly upon us!

Unfortunately, Mickey Mania came out at the tail end of the 2D era. The PlayStation version received a couple of upgrades but the polygonal writing was already on the wall. Only now, thanks to XBLA, PSN and certain Wii titles, 2D animation is making a bit of a comeback. So… since there’s about a billion more Disney shorts to adapt into gameplay… well, you see where we’re going.


  • tymime - June 17, 2012 2:22 p.m.

    No, those are not the weasels from Roger Rabbit.
  • Blinder - October 2, 2009 7:49 p.m.

    I thought for sure you guys would have included a story about Virtual Magic Kingdom this week. It was Disney's promotional MMO that they closed down because they weren't making any money on it, which in turn broke a lot of childrens hearts.
  • FistfulofPelican - September 26, 2009 6:18 a.m.

    Ugh. I really didn't like Mickey Mania. Sure, it looked good and was really faithful to the source material, but it played like crap. Magical Quest, on the other hand, is awesome.
  • Weegee - September 25, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    I used to love Mickey Mouse Speedway. More than Mario Kart 64. But that was back in the days where I also played Tigger's Hunny Hunt. Go figure.
  • A2guy - September 25, 2009 1:43 p.m.

    I actually remember mickymouse speedway, and likeing it as a kid.
  • Obama69DoctorFunkenstein - September 24, 2009 11:52 p.m.

    Holy shit, i totally forgot about Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle II on gb for years until i saw this ! i used to play that game hardcore when i was very young :O
  • V13Dragongal - September 24, 2009 8:41 p.m.

    oops! i meant to say, shows how much i know about mickey.
  • V13Dragongal - September 24, 2009 8:40 p.m.

    Cool article.i didn't know mickey mouse was in SO MANY games.i only knew about two.shows how i know. Yay! i commented befor cyberninja, he allways beats me.
  • Yar - September 24, 2009 7:41 p.m.

    Eh... I kinda liked Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle, and this article didn't change my mind. It seemed a bit rushed, since all you basically said about it was 'It used to have Mickey Mouse. Anyway, IT SUCKED LOL!' Solid reasoning FTW!
  • TheWebSwinger - September 24, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    Hmmm can we all just agree to call this the Week of Antista? :P But seriously, this is great stuff. Also loving the Old-Time Disney stuff on Twitter.
  • TheGiaour - September 24, 2009 7:07 p.m.

    Well now I see your colleagues were right, you have been busy Mr. Antista. Thanks for bringing back memories, good and bad, of ol Mickey himself.
  • DirkSteele1 - September 24, 2009 6:36 p.m.

    I did half expect to see Fantasia on the Mega Drive appear on the worst list, though I would have protested a little. Yes, the controls were not as smooth as they could have been, but it was a hard as nails challenge which I appreciated. Castle of Illusion will always have a special place in my gaming history, but no World of Illusion? I know it starred Donald Duck as well, but was a great game. Kudos for putting Mickey Mania at the top of the list though. Might be time to pull the Mega Drive out of the cupboard, dust it off and take it for a spin.
  • alicerose13 - September 24, 2009 4:44 p.m.

    I have Mickey Mousecapade in my house right now. I played it when I was a kid and was afraid of it (it was really hard and Pete was scary! lol), so I decided to go back last year and try to play it again. I beat it! In all its insane difficulty!
  • Felixthecat - September 24, 2009 4:07 p.m.

    This is the best part of Week of Disney so far, i am expecting more tommorow that matches to this high standard. But fantastic article, Mickey (or should i say Mortimer) is the best and has one of the greatest voices in cartoon history.
  • Conman93 - September 24, 2009 3:23 p.m.

    Lol at the 'chill everyone I got this' picture. Go Mickey!!!
  • dweller - September 24, 2009 2:49 p.m.

    Great article! Castle of Illusion reminded me the time I rented World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. The point to my story is this: I beat the game as both Donald and Mickey at the same time by myself. I was bored, it was easy, and I had two controllers. I just had to alternate between the two constantly. It did add to the challenge.
  • zombiekiller13 - September 24, 2009 2:06 p.m.

    Gah, Mickey Mousecapade. A friend of mine owned this. We actually tried to beat the game, but couldn't get past the second stage. Also didn't know the goal was to save Alice. Hell, I don't think we knew anything about our goal...I assumed it was Mickey's attempt to cut the invisible leash Minnie was keeping him on.
  • Geminiman82 - September 24, 2009 12:33 p.m.

    Chris, that was an amazing article! I'm so glad they had you doing the week of Disney because you really know your stuff man.
  • Godz_Mercenary - September 24, 2009 12:01 p.m.

    Mickey Mouse is pointless in this day and age. I'm hoping he will be confined to history soon. This is the age not Mickey. My Nephew and Niece (6 and 2) have nothing Mickey related and watch nothing Mickey related and they ask for nothing Mickey related. Goes for Donald and Goofy too.
  • Timothy_Lemon - September 24, 2009 11:58 a.m.

    man speedway usa was so good. wish i was 10 again.

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