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The Top 7... Kickass Disney games

5. Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse | 1992

We thought long and hard about Mickey’s stature in pre-3D videogames. The general consensus is that Castle of Illusion, a Genesis/Mega Drive classic, is one of, if not the best Mickey games of all time, though in hindsight we believe that’s due to a total lack of decent entries up to that point. If you look back with today’s criteria in mind, then we absolutely have to go with the SNES Magical Quest – it’s got branching paths, big colorful bosses and best of all, alternate costumes that could be swapped at will:


Above: They do things! 

The first four levels revolve around these outfits and their specific abilities. When you begin as plain ol’ Mickey, you can only run, jump and throw items. Then you don a magical turban, find a magical fireman’s coat and finally a Bionic Commando-style grappling hook that functions just as well as the NES classic (no surprise, as they’re both from Capcom).


Above: The turban lets Mickey shoot magical beams and breathe underwater 


Above: A trip to hell itself isn’t so bad with this fireman’s outfit 


Above: Swinging is fun and easy with the extending arm 

This is another brilliant example of using a license properly, not falling back on it entirely. Mickey alone could have sold this game, but as was common in Capcom’s early Disney games, the gameplay was fleshed out beyond contemporary offerings and would have proudly succeeded without the license at all.


Above: A general store would sell you goods… if you could find it 

The best moments come late in the game, when you have to use all of Mickey’s suits in tandem to solve puzzles and tackle enemies that any one costume could not. Hey, we’re not saying it’s fit to stand up against modern side scrollers, but in its day (and even a few years beyond) Magical Quest was one of the most well-rounded Disney games available.


4. Aladdin | 1993


Above: Rated “GA” for Georgia 

Oh, to be alive during the First Great Console War. Specs aside, SNES and Genesis exclusives fought battles on playgrounds like valiant war heroes. Now normally, Capcom was the reigning king of Disney development, having consistently cranked out quality product that did the brand justice… yet there was still one schoolyard aspiration left sorely unaddressed.

And wouldn’t you know it? This time the Genesis did what Nintendidn’t. Or at least Virgin Interactive did, and with the help of the Disney animators no less. While the SNES Aladdin fell back upon faux 3D shading and single pixel button-eyes, the Genesis version looked infinitely more fluid and expressive.


Above: Daggum, that looks just like the movie film! 

To top it all off, the Genesis version didn’t shy away from the sword-slashing aggression, whereas the SNES Aladdin seemed to prefer a Disneyfied focus on throwing apples and defensive parkour handsprings. But if you still need further proof that Sega/Virgin “got” Disney games years before Kingdom Hearts, look no further than the hidden nods found buried within greater Agrabah.


Above: Can anyone see the Beast? 

Digital DisneyTrivia: Both the Genesis and SNES versions of Aladdin were eventually ported over to the… NES!? Although, the port of Capcom’s version was incredibly “unofficial” it finally won out in the visual department.


3. Tron 2.0 | 2003

It’s beyond fair to say that gamers have kept Tron alive with far more vigor than Disney itself. The Tron games have been delighting the masses since 1982 on multiple platforms even though it took Disney over a quarter of a century to recover from its fatal box-office error and concoct a sequel. In the meantime, fans finally got the pseudo sequel they deserved in the form of 2003’s critically lauded PC game, Tron 2.0., thanks to Monolith Productions, the developers of No One Lives Forever and the F.E.A.R. series.

Although, to truly see what a revelation it was, you gotta look at the pixelated puke that had come before:


 
Bruce Boxleitner reprised his role as Alan Bradley, while the player assumed the digitized skin of his son Jet, who must combat a corrupted version of the original Tron program. But do you really care about the plot? A good Tron game need only do one thing right:


Above: BAM - Tron 2.0’s tricked out Cyber Hog!!

Not to discount the gorgeousness of 2.0’s neon lined environments, nor the wonderfully tech savvy 1337 speak (the sniper rifle is called “LOL”), but the Light Cycle arenas remain the game’s crown jewel. All the nausea-inducing camera angles and impossible turns of Tron’s deadly game of competitive Snake were preserved, and you could bring the action online where it ran like a fanboy fever dream.


Above: As if Rez were a first-person shooter

Best of all, with the original cast members appearing, authentic levels based on technology reflective of the day (such as PDAs and firewalls) and the fact that the title of the upcoming film shares its name with the security program found in Tron 2.0, it appears the game could be considered canonical even if it never intended to be.


Above: Disney can keep with the times, it’s just a very slow process

Digital Disney Trivia: Many Disney animators refused to work on the Tron film in 1982, fearing that computer animation would replace them. Cut to 2009 - Pixar is Disney’s most profitable film producer, oversees the entire entertainment division, and remains completely committed to the production of quality 2D animation.

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74 comments

  • idleactivist - August 25, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    I always loved that Inspector Gadget game, I still toss it in and play.
  • azzam - June 11, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    hey i played that chip and dale game! good times
  • ppopopp - October 15, 2009 12:55 p.m.

    What happened to Castle of Illusion? What a beautiful game (on the genesis). Also Sega CD Mickey Mania was worth a mention. Just wondering where those two show up near Chip n Dale.
  • silentsniper2 - September 29, 2009 6:26 p.m.

    oh man reading this review made me feel very old
  • Tomsta666 - September 27, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    I can't believe you put RPG faggotry in front of Duck Tales
  • Lyon85 - September 25, 2009 8:12 p.m.

    "All licenced games suck." At least I thought so until I read this article and realised I played all these games, except Tron 2.0 They really were fun games. I do recall beating Duck Tales and seeing the two endings. I was in high school when Duck Tales came out telling everyone how good It was receving a lot of crap for it and then having guys come up to me later and say "Hey man, I tried that Duck Tales game it's awesome." FUN.. a wish that was something developers today would focus on instead of on-line leaderboards.
  • JC182 - September 24, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    i use to play the lion king game all the time when i had a sega genesis
  • scbyfn4evr - September 24, 2009 4:38 p.m.

    Originial KH was better. Best Disney-related game of all time, i think. I was born in '90, so I was around for the old 2D classics (they forgot Talespin for the SNES) and I still agree with KH as #1.
  • dweller - September 24, 2009 2:57 p.m.

    I've played through Kingdom Hearts twice, and I've stalled on my second play through of Kingdom Hearts 2. I will probably never play Chain of Memories ever again.
  • Ajax89 - September 24, 2009 8:10 a.m.

    hell yeah!!! the lion king and aladdin dominate! they were pretty hard too
  • ConkertheSquirrel - September 24, 2009 4:01 a.m.

    On the final page there is that "Kingdom hearts barrage of memories poster" that lion on the front looks so familiar. If anybody knows where hes from post it cause this may very well haunt me for the rest of my life.
  • Phantasmagorical - September 23, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    I'd like to bring to attention another great Disney game. Mickey Mania on the Sega Genesis. It was made by Virgin Interactive and the sprites were done by Disney animators as well. JUST PUTTIN' IT OUT THERE.
  • Picnic1 - September 23, 2009 7:16 p.m.

    I haven't played all of these games but I would certainly have put World of Illusion(Megadrive) on that list. Forget any notion of Disney tweeness (or also sentimentality)- World of Illusion is a sometimes quite mysterious, classily presented game with excellent music and an original plot (although it also references Alice in Wonderland on one level). It has some great ideas like an underwater level that, later on, is revealed to have all taken place in a goldfish bowl and a colourful flight on a flying cork from a bottle of wine. It's actually one of my favourite games of all time. Quackshot is quite good too.
  • jehanzebnaeem - September 23, 2009 7:37 a.m.

    well, just to say it out loud, I was present when the disney games came out and have been an avid fan of FPSes and TR series and stuff... BUT. I hate Disney characters and cartoony games, I had not heard so much crap since I last talked to some moron about the FF... what is this shit?
  • MattK - September 23, 2009 3:46 a.m.

    That was my very first Nintendo Power, and the first time I WANTED a game based on magazine coverage. And yes, I earned BOTH endings on hard back when I was 10. SO worth it. Kingdom Hearts...you were worth ANY flaw because you gave me Donald Duck and Goofy, my two most favorite Disney characters EVER, as my constant companions.
  • shadowdude - September 22, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    must..... buy... kindom hearts for ds...
  • Conman93 - September 22, 2009 5:12 p.m.

    I prefer kh2 but I can see why people prefer the first one. It was much harder than kh2 which is good but I think kh2 was more epic. Also organization 13 was in kh2 and they are AWESOME. Hail to Demyx!!!
  • KHfan - September 22, 2009 5:06 p.m.

    if you think the first kingdom hearts is better then the 2nd then how come you rated it 8/10 but you rated kingdom hearts II 9/10? KH ftw btw
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - September 22, 2009 2:26 p.m.

    ahhh my lion king game was stolen
  • grumpyDinosaur - September 22, 2009 2:22 p.m.

    Oh man, so many awesome games and memories there. But one game is missing for me, Darkwing Duck! How happen? I thought it would have at least got a mention, of course maybe it's just nostalgia kicking my brain.

Showing 1-20 of 74 comments

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