Arriving just a few short weeks after DuckTales Remastered proved to be little more than a visually spiffed up retread of a classic ‘90s platformer, it’s a surprise to find that Sega’s similarly Disney-themed Castle Of Illusion prioritises a wealth of innovation over any inherited fortune.
Although Mickey once again sets foot inside the Castle Of Illusion, this time the gothic palace has been realised in 3D, which allows Mickey to roam its many levels and access new rooms with relative freedom. Each of the returning stages are also given a twist, with Mickey squashing enemies under the mighty force of his boot (replacing the infamous rump-first attack of the original) across familiar locales inventively reinterpreted in enchanting 2.5D.
What it lacks is a degree of mechanical polish. Mickey’s jump is lightweight and imprecise, a hangover of the original and a critical oversight that undermines the rest of this creative reinterpretation. The camera spins and zooms around the environment in order to subvert expectations, but the control inadequacies underpinning the gameplay leave too much frustrating error rarely at the fault of the player.
Yet when it comes to retro reissues Castle Of Illusion possesses more depth and inventiveness than most. The combination of a myriad of diverse environments, quirky set-pieces and a whimsical tale (read by (500) Days of Summer narrator Richard McGonagle) does much to elevate a substandard platformer into a quaint nostalgic romp. Fans will no doubt lap it up; everyone else will be less forgiving of its flaws.
Reviewed by Bryan Murray