The 90’s saw a slew of games featuring our favourite characters from Disney. Contrary to recent standards, back then licensed games were just as legitimately fun as other games.
Recently we’ve seen not one, but two remakes of classic Disney games; the old-school DuckTales Remastered from Capcom and the more modern re-imagining of Castle of Illusion from SEGA.
Disney would be foolish not to look back at the treasure trove of great titles from that era, whether it was on SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, or anything else for that matter. Here are just a small number of examples of classic Disney games that need to come back into the spotlight – presented in no particular order.
World of Illusion
Created as the direct sequel to Castle, World of Illusion is a landmark in co-op design. Giving the players the same abilities with distinct twists allows the level design to encourage teamwork, as well as provide lots of interesting set-pieces.
Everybody remembers this. Mechanics like this could be updated very successfully – quite easily, in fact
The game requires both players to communicate and co-ordinate their movements, and provides many interesting two player scenarios. Using each other as weights on a seesaw to bounce higher and Mickey being able to pull Donald though gaps are particularly good examples.
In a genius move, the game employs a pseudo-friendly-fire mechanic. If you fire magic at your co-op partner they will briefly play a mildly annoying but also incredibly amusing “twisting” animation. Of course they’ll want to do the same to you as soon as it ends.
This quickly descends into madness, but it often leads to immensely fun moments
If it were to come back, the solution is obvious: online co-op. Co-op has taken off in a big way since the advent of Xbox Live and PSN, so a World of Illusion remake would fit right at home. It’s probably a good idea to give us an option to switch off friendly fire in any remake though, due to the nature of online play. It would be an opportunity to up the ante on physics-based co-op platforming mechanics thanks to the new physics engines we have today, and to give Mickey and Donald some new moves too – but keep Donald’s fat tail.
This Indiana Jones- inspired sidescroller is notable for being included on a special cartridge alongside Castle of Illusion late in the Mega Drive’s life. As such, people associate it with Castle of Illusion and would love a remake of the game on current consoles.
The game featured a world map that players can travel across non-linearly, setting up checkpoints so you can return to a location and not have to replay the whole level. This makes travelling to and from locations a breeze – once you find find the key in India that unlocks the door to the temple in Egypt you are but an airplane flight away. This sense of exploration is paramount, and can easily be achieved using a similar setup, or perhaps a true open world.
Action, Adventure…..it’s all there, ripe for the picking
The game could be either 2D or 3D so long as the core mechanic of Donald’s plunger gun remains intact. In 3D, the possibilities of firing a plunger into a wall that you can later stand on increase exponentially. Classic environments could return as well, including Transylvania and the Viking Ship, and their respective boss battles Count Duckula and the Viking Ghost.
This is probably the least likely to happen, but when this game (or these games) came out it was fondly looked upon by fans. Whichever version you’re playing, you’re getting a thoroughly enjoyable, excellently made sidescroller.
The Mega Drive version featured stellar sprites and animation, while the SNES version featured exploration-based level design. Both are remarkable platformers, so If there were to be a remake, it would be difficult to choose which one to base it on.
This is the Mega Drive version, which proved to be a big hit back in the 90s. To this day it’s still generally undecided if one version is better than the other
So why choose? Take elements from both versions – music, levels and mechanics from both would satisfy fans of either version. The Rug Ride bonus level from the Mega Drive version, with its slowly increasing speed, would be in intense in 3D. The SNES version’s non-linearity and emphasis on exploration using jumping and swinging mechanics would also be welcome in any remake.
Another idea would simply be to re-adapt the film, into another game altogether. The music and story would still be the same, after all. This would avoid the problem of trying to satisfy fans of a specific version of the original game because it would be its own product. Of course it could backfire, receiving hate because it is based on neither version. Whatever happens, Aladdin needs to be looked at and considered. The film may have long gone but the game is still in peoples’ hearts and minds.
Fun Fact: this is one of the earliest known projects with which David Jaffe (of God of War and Twisted Metal fame) was involved.
Mickey Mania is different to the usual Mickey Mouse game. Rather than take Mickey on a magical quest or through a fantasy realm, the game takes Mickey through a game that’s decidedly more meta.
Each level that players go through is based on a different cartoon in Mickey’s storied history, starting with Steamboat Willie and going through some classic cartoons leading up to the then-recent Prince and the Pauper.
The projector effect that starts this stage is a nice touch. A new Mickey Mania game could tribute video games in a similar way by including 2D pixel art
A remake would allow players to play through remakes of levels based on the cartoons featured in the original game, as well as take Mickey through Disney cartoons that have been made since then, such as House of Mouse and Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers. Heck, you could even put in some levels based on some movies made since then – a Goofy Movie stage would be a fantastic addition.
Each level had an associated theme with it, be it the moose in Moose Hunters or the mischievous ghosts in The Lonesome Ghosts. This is a trend that could continue in new levels, with swordplay in a Three Musketeers level and driving in a Goofy Movie level.
This pseudo-3D effect was stunning to look at in the 90s. The upcoming Castle of Illusion remake pays homage to scenes such as these by including a similar chase level.
Remakes can be a contentious subject among gamers. Often the classic game in question is readily available for download anyway, calling into question why remakes are needed in the first place. However, when a remake is done well, it becomes a classic in its own right. The Disney catalogue is many times larger than what is mentioned here (you have probably noticed these are all from one console) and the potential for a great remake or two is certainly there. If a great game can be made from the source material, then it’s always worth updating the classics.
What do you think? Any Disney classics you want remade?