Disney’s Adventures in the Magic Kingdom review

Just for the Holidays, I decided to bring you a review of a favorite childhood game of mine which might very well be the first game I ever beat.

This is yet another Disney-Capcom co-operation piece from the days of NES. Not as well known as Capcom’s Ducktales and CND Rescue Ranger games, heck, probably not as well known as either Darkwing Duck or even Tailspin, this game can be considered an interesting cross-genre experiment and a major marketing plug for Disney at the same time.

But is it a good game? Let’s see…

  • Gameplay: 4/5 – Although very simplistic the game has a lot of variety. Two levels comprised of platforming, one racing level, one controlling a locomotive and one where you fly a space-ship. The only part of the game where I’m not really happy about the controls is Space Mountain since you have to react so quickly to the buttons.
  • Graphics: 4/5 – Lots of variety and they even look pretty nice. I especially love the detail on the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean levels.
  • Animation: 4/5 – Very clean and well done over-all, I especially think the star effect in the Space Mountain level was a big achievement. However, there’s nothing here that would blow you away.
  • Music: 4/5 – The music is very nice and the tunes all fit the levels and situations they’re used in. The only tune that started to bug me was the overworld theme and that’s only when you’re talking to kids trying to get one of the keys.
  • Sound: 3/5 – About average and okay for the most part. Really nothing special about it.
  • Replay value: 2/5 – I particularly like the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean levels and I even wish that there had been more levels in the game made in this similar style. The gameplay has aged well for the most part and playing the game is still fun – but the shortness of the game makes it a very easily expended experience.
  • Difficulty: Easy to Hard – Autopia and Great Thunder Mountain don’t offer much of a challenge gameplay wise aside the fact that you wont know the order of the stations in GTM until after you’ve completed the level once. Haunted Mansion and POTC offer considerably more challenge but it’s still more fair even though you’ll have to start over if you die. Space Mountain might make you crazy the first few times but once you get the pattern down it becomes a bit easier.

Score: 70% – Adventures is a really short game but with a few excellent parts and some rather ham-handed parts. However, beyond its short length there isn’t anything horribly wrong with the game. It requires a bit of trial and error but is otherwise a perfectly playable title.

Individual level review:

Haunted Mansion

My favorite level in the game by far and one of three levels (minus overworld) where you get to control the game’s nameless protagonist as he ventures into the Mansion, armed with ghoul-destroying candles, to defeat the Master Specter. This level has nice platforming challenge and great spooky atmosphere. Only the fact that your character jumps so far back after getting hit is a major hick-up, meaning that you really can’t mess-up in the final stretch of the level.

***

Pirates of the Caribbean

Made in the same style as the Haunted Mansion level, however, this time you begin with no way to defend yourself and your goal is to rescue five maidens who have been captured by the pirates. You do get a candle to attack, roughly halfway through the level, after which things become easier. I really like this level too although not as much as Haunted Mansion.

***

Great Thunder Mountain

You have to guide the locomotive safely to the end of the track and to the correct station. Your only controls are which way the train turns at a crossroad and also the break, which you need to apply in order to avoid boulders and hitting gates before they open. It seems much harder than it actually is but admittedly it would have helped if the game would tell you where the right station is roughly (rather than just saying the station number and leaving you to figure it out). Free tip: The 1st  station is at the far left and you can deduce the rest from there.

***

Autopia

Kind of like a racing game except you’re not really racing anyone, just trying to get to the finish-line. Your controls include the gas, the break and the gear (up and down on the D-pad). Avoid falling into the water, flying off the track or getting stuck in that red mud and just make it to the finish line and you’ll have won the race (even if you don’t come in first).

***

Space Mountain:

Hands down the hardest level in the game. You have to react quickly to the directions and press either A or B to shoot down asteroids or space-ships. What throws you off is when the speed at which the arrows show up increases sporadically and the fact that in a few places you’re suddenly given the choise of going either left or right which throws you off easily.

***

Disney Trivia Quiz:

Not a level per se, but on the overworld screen you have to talk to the kids in order to find one of the keys. They all ask Disney related trivia. Some are ridiculously easy, others are really damn hard. But it’s a NES game so the questions cycle – but you can get stuck for a while on a series of really hard questions. Just don’t go to any levels until you got the key or you’ll have to start all over again.

***

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