Never did I think that Mickey Mouse and Bionic Commando would have something in common. And yet, here we are. Back in 80s and 90s, before Capcom was known for charging exorbitant prices for content that was already on your disc, it was known for excellent licensed games based on Disney characters (except for Mickey Mouse Capade; that game just sucks). For the NES, they published highly regarded games such as Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, and The Little Mermaid. As one of their first forays in the SNES era, Capcom published The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse in 1992. It is a bit of a departure from their previous games since it had very diverse gameplay for a side-scroller of the time. It would eventually be followed by two sequels, but none matched the charm of the first one.
Story At the beginning of The Magical Quest, we see Mickey, Goofy, and Donald playing ball while Pluto runs around. Goofy throws a long one which bumps off Mickey’s head. Pluto goes off to find the ball and gets lost. Goofy then goes off to find Pluto, telling Mickey not to worry about a thing. Knowing Goofy, however, Mickey worries even more and sets off to find Pluto, himself. Mickey then falls off a cliff and lands on a strange land with weird creatures and magic. He runs into a wizard who tells him that Pluto was captured by Emperor Pete, the ruler of this world. He warns Mickey against going any further because Emperor Pete’s Magic has never been beaten. Mickey, reluctant to lose his friend, presses on. The wizard then agrees to help him on his Magical Quest by scattering useful boxes across the land.
Is that Pluto in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Graphics The graphics in this game are great. Mickey looks really cute. He actually looks a lot like his Epic Mickey counterpart, except that his eyes are bigger in this game. The game is very colorful, and the art design is beautiful. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful games to ever grace the SNES. The characters also look very cartoony, which is great given that the property is based off of a cartoon character. The characters aren’t animated as smoothly as other cartoon based games of the era, such as Aladdin on the Genesis, but the animations are still nice. For example, when Mickey is drowning he really looks like he’s in mortal fear. One of the coolest animations in the game is the leaf creatures that float softy to the ground and then get up and walk. Monsters also look very nice but, unfortunately, most of them look like Pete, so it gets a bit monotonous.
Pete Snake Boss
Sound This game has a very fitting soundtrack. It sounds very Disneyish without actually using any Disney tracks. It can be epic or whimsical when need be. Some of my favorite tracks include the music from the Dark Forest and from Snowy Valley.
There’s nothing really special about the sound design, but it is appropriate for the game. Mickey makes a cute little squirm whenever he is hit, magical shots sound very whimsical, and enemies make funny farting noises when they get hit on the head.
Gameplay Where the game really shines is in its gameplay. The game starts off simple enough with Mickey being able to walk, run, jump, and grab things. Soon enough, you’ll realize that there’s more to the game than meets the eye. On your quest, you’ll run across magical floating yellow boxes which you will be able to grab and throw at enemies. Sometimes, when you grab a box, stuff will fall out from it. Some of these things are Heart Containers (give you an additional life heart) and Coins (allow you to buy stuff in the stores). Bigger boxes will give you additional coins, apples (points), and even Mickey Dolls (1ups). There’s also another variety of boxes which is red. These boxes reappear as soon as you grab them from the air. You can also pick tomatoes and propeller boxes. Both will allow you to travel to greater heights. Finally, chickens will drop a single coin whenever you “pluck” them.
That guard is about to get a splitting headache.
Speaking of coins, they are used to buy stuff from stores hidden throughout the land. These stores sell: Half Magic (halves the magic used), Half Hydrant (halves the water used), Magic Lanterns (fill up your magic), Fire Hydrants (fill up your water), Hearts (fill up your hearts), and Heart Containers (give you an additional life heart).
“You want to return your items? Do you have a receipt?”
The coolest aspect of the game is the costumes. There are three costumes that you will acquire throughout your adventure. These are:
Magician outfit: Allows you to breathe underwater and shoot magic. There are three levels of magical strength (hold down the fire button). You can replenish your magic by picking up magic lanterns. I wonder why Capcom/Disney didn't use Mickey's Sorcerer outfit for this. Fireman Suit: Allows you to destroy yellow blocks with a stream of water, move gray blocks and boulders, and put out fires. You can replenish your water supply by picking up fire hydrants. Climbing Suit: Allows you to grab yellow and red blocks, take away shields from enemies, climb up mountains, grab onto grey blocks, and grab and swing from swing points. Radd Spencer, eat your heart out!
The Magician’s Outfit, Fireman Suit, and Climbing Suit.
The suits are absolutely necessary for completing the levels. There are six levels in all and they are all completely different. There’s Tree Tops, a Dark Forest, a Fire Grotto, Mountains, Snowy Mountains, and Pete’s Castle. Most are stunning, especially the Snowy Mountain level which features an Aurora Borealis type formation in the background and very soothing music.
It looks a lot better in person. Seriously.
Each level features a mini-boss and an end level boss. Most of the bosses are pretty cool and require use of your costumes. There’s a pretty cool boss sequence were you have to defeat a bird by hanging from swing points, grabbing eggs with your hook shot, and throwing them at the bird. The only downside to the mini-bosses and bosses is that most of them look like Pete, which kind of kills variety.
The best boss fight in the game.
Conclusion The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse is a great game from an era long gone. Now adays, licensed games are usually quick cash-ins that clever gamers have learned to avoid. Perhaps, the upcoming Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion for the 3DS will allow us to relieve those days.
Trivia The game was remade for the Game Boy Advance in 2002 under the title Disney's Magical Quest Starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Published by Nintendo, the GBA version adds Minnie to the game as a playable character who is identical to Mickey in terms of gameplay. The GBA port also introduced a save feature and a character select screen similar to that of the SNES version of the second game in the series.
Unlike its sequels, the first game in the series lacks the ability to save or load progress (which means players would have to the beat the game in a single sitting), and although it supports two players, they cannot play simultaneously; a player only gains control when the other dies.
I loved this game as a kid. Fun platforming and it looked great. Picked it up awhile back for my new SNES collection and it held up really well. I'll take Mickey's less impressive animations and great control over Mickey Mania's great animations and floaty, imprecise control.
Ooh, what a nostalgia trip. I used to have the second game, "The Great Circus Mystery," which one of my best friends and I used to play together all the time as kids. Not a lot of games back then had true two player co-op, and it was short enough, so it was the perfect game to play together whenever she came over for the day. Each level was unique and the game didn't feel like a Mario clone at all, which I can't say for a lot of other licensed platformers of the time.
Nice review for an old favorite of mine, SirMaster! I loved this game back on my SNES (wish I still had my copy). It didn't have the look of Mickey Mania but rather had the classic Capcom touch that undeniably gave the Capcom Disney games a certain look and feel.
Climbing Suit Mickey was always a bit tricky, if I recall correctly. I didn't have much Bionic Commando experience at the time, so the swinging mechanics felt pretty fresh for me. It did feel pretty liberating when I was swinging around in dangerous locations in the mountain levels underneath the cliffs. I felt very daring!
I agree, the music in this game was very pleasant. I also really love Dark Forest and Snowy Valley.
Mickey makes a cute little squirm whenever he is hit, magical shots sound very whimsical, and enemies make funny farting noises when they get hit on the head.
Oh, and seeing this Nintendo Power cover back in the day was glorious:
The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse is a great game from an era long gone. Now adays, licensed games are usually quick cash-ins that clever gamers have learned to avoid.
That's true to an extent, though I will say Disney Epic Mickey on Wii did a decent job of using the Mickey license in creating a fun and interesting game. I do look forward to Power of Illusion.
It's so sad this game won't ever see the light of day on the VC (what else is new?). Might as well go and get a SNES cart for this one!
It weird, I only vaguely remember this one. I guess I was wrapped up with other games when it came out. I'll definitely look for this cart in the future just like I did with Uniracers. Thanks for the review!
@malmo I used to have the second game and played it with my sister. Unfortunately, I lent it to someone and she "lost" it.
@roykoopa64 I loved the climbing level a lot. By the way, that Nintendo Power magazine brings back memories. I agree, it's unfortunate that it is highly unlikely that we'll ever see many great licensed games on the Virtual Consoles.
@Abdooooo Thanks. I have actually never played Uniracers. Is it good?
To be honest, I haven't gotten a chance to pop it in my launch SNES that still works. Once I do I'll definitely consider writing up a review. This one has hyped me up for the new Mickey installment coming to 3DS.
Around the time this game came out, I borrowed a SNES from a friend and he had this game. I loved it so much I played through it probably half a dozen times.
As fate would have it, my wife and I have been on a SNES/NES kick lately and picked this game up JUST LAST NIGHT! Not sure when we'll get to it. We still have to finish Animaniacs (SNES).
We also picked up DuckTales (NES) and Buster Busts Loose (SNES). Back in the day, I loved playing DuckTales at a friend's house so when DT2 came out I just assumed it would be as good or better. So, I have always had DT2 but not 1. Not anymore!! bwahahah!!
It's amazing how the series never got new installments after those first 2 (and a GB port?). But it is neat to see Duck Tales content in the first screens for Epic Mickey: Power of Illusions. I know people have been asking Warren Specter to make a DT game for a while... this is probably as close as we'll ever get.