So, Disney recently announced remakes of both DuckTales and Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. If Disney wanted to, they could stay on this 8 and 16-bit revival kick for a long time, because they made a lot of games back then. Just to give you an idea, between 1987 and 1994 (a time period roughly covering the heyday of 8 and 16-bit gaming) there were a whopping 16 Mickey Mouse games released. That’s just Mickey Mouse, and I’m excluding all the weird educational PC Mickey games in that number.
When you take into account all of their TV, classic cartoon and movie characters there were dozens upon dozens of Disney games released on the NES, SNES, Gameboy, Game Gear and Genesis. Not all of them were good. If you’re listening Disney, here are five classic Disney games that deserve a remake, and five that most definitely don’t…
Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)
Okay, so this is an extremely obvious inclusion, but no article about great classic Disney games would be complete without it. Amongst my friends Chip N’ Dale was actually even more beloved than DuckTales. Thankfully Capcom has pretty much come out and said Chip N’ Dale will happen is DuckTales sells well.
During the early 90s Disney after school syndicated cartoon series + Capcom pretty much always equalled gold. TaleSpin was the one exception, which was a shame because TaleSpin was possibly my favorite of Disney’s syndicated series. Basically Capcom just went with the obvious and made a bland, overly difficult side-scrolling shooter out of TaleSpin. Unlike their other Disney games, it’s clear Capcom just wasn’t inspired by the TaleSpin license.
The Jungle Book (Genesis)
One of the highlights of owning a Sega Genesis were the various Disney movie-based games made by Virgin Interactive. These games looked great, animated well, and really captured the spirit of the movies they were based on. Oh, and they played well too! The SNES usually got ports of these games, but they usually weren’t quite the same, and in some cases they were actually totally different (usually inferior) games. The Jungle Book was one of Virgin’s first Disney games and one of the best they did.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (NES)
Oh God, this game. Every kid who owned an NES played Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (How could you not when it had Jessica freakin’ Rabbit on the cover?) and we all hated it. This is the one time Disney made the mistake of letting licensed game hucksters LJN (aka Acclaim) get their hands on one of their properties, and the results were predictably heinous.
The Lion King (Genesis, SNES)
Another Virgin game, The Lion King was easily the best Disney movie-based game of the 16-bit era. Actual Disney animators drew the game’s sprites and backgrounds, so they look totally authentic and move beautifully. The SNES port of The Lion King was actually pretty decent, so I’ve listed both versions in this case.
Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Quest (Genesis)
Not all 16-bit Disney movie games were good! SunSoft (not Virgin) made this Genesis Beauty and the Beast game, and they mostly dropped the ball. For one, you play as Belle instead of, you know, the big cool kickass Beast. Apparently another game was made called Beauty and the Beast: Roar of the Beast, in which you play as Beast, but I never played it and have no idea why they would bother making separate Belle and Beast games in the first place.
QuackShot Starring Donald Duck (Genesis)
As a kid I always assumed QuackShot was a slightly strange 16-bit sequel to the 8-bit DuckTales games. Of course it was actually a totally unrelated game made by Sega instead of Capcom, but it mostly lived up to DuckTales’ standard of quality. In fact, in some ways young me liked it even more than DuckTales, if only because it’s top-notch 16-bit graphics more closely matched the look of the DuckTales TV show, and Carl Barks’ Duck comics. Also, Donald has a plunger gun and plungers are used on toilets. Hee hee.
The Lucky Dime Caper Starring Donald Duck (Game Gear)
Yeah, I was one of those kids that owned a Game Gear instead of a GameBoy. Come on guys! It was in color! I mean, sure, it ate six double-As in a couple hours, but it was worth it! Anyways, like most Game Gear games, The Lucky Dime Caper was just kind of bland and boring. It probably wasn’t that bad, but after DuckTales and QuackShot, young me found it to be a crushing disappointment.
The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES)
Sega’s Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is getting the remake treatment, and it deserves it, but Capcom made their own Mickey games during the 16-bit era that were arguably even better than the Illusion games. The Magical Quest games were based around the clever gimmick of Mickey being able to wear various costumes, each of which gave him unique powers. The game also packed in a lot of fun references from classic Disney cartoons over a decade before Epic Mickey did it.
Mickey Mania (SNES, Genesis)
So, during the 16-bit era Sega was making their Illusion Mickey games, and Capcom was making their Magical Quest Mickey games, both of which were very good, and then out of nowhere came this game. Made by Sony and Traveller’s Tales, Mickey Mania certainly looks nice, but it just doesn’t play anywhere near as well as the Illusion or Magical Quest titles. It’s not a terrible game, but I’m including on the “bad” list because I think it fooled a lot of people back in the day that thought they were going to be getting another top-notch Sega of Capcom game.
How about you folks? Any childhood Disney favorites I failed to mention? Any bad ones you feel like railing on about? Hit the comments and let the world know.