Friday, April 26, 2013

Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken (SFC) Review

Written: April 21st-26th, 2013
Year: 1994 | Developed by: GRC | Published by: Tomy | [ O ]

Disclaimer: Some spoilers ahead
Reaching for the stars has never felt so good  =)
A lot of you may recall that last year I created a first impressions post of this game.  My "impressions" posts were a way of covering games that I just played and share how I felt about them for the moment (as well as good ways to discuss about games I haven't completed or beaten yet).  Lately I thought of sharing my thoughts on the game in the form of a full-fledged review since my initial thoughts only consisted of a few paragraphs (the last one admittedly being longer than it should've been).  I remember hearing about this game for the first time in RVGFanatic's website years ago, and from what I had read on there it sounded like a really fun experience, taking place in Disneyland of all places.  I still haven't been there but I would like to visit it one day.

Throwing water balloons underwater is
possible
Prior to experiencing this game I played three other 2D sidescrolling Mickey Mouse platformers.  In the order that I played them, the first one I played was Mickey's Wild Adventure for the PlayStation One, one of my favorite games ever and a childhood classic that had tons of charm and was lots of fun; the music was memorable too (it's a shame that the Sony version never came out in America).  Then in early '12 I managed to catch up with The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie and The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse, two really great, really charming, really fun SNES Mickey Mouse games by Capcom (even though the former didn't have memorable music and the latter had a lackluster ending).  That summer I ordered Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken from eBay, the second Super Famicom cart I imported from Japan, and I really enjoyed it since then.  =)

The game begins somewhere in Tokyo Disneyland as Mickey and gang are preparing for the latest opening.  However something has gone wrong.
Mickey Mouse's girlfriend Minnie informs him that the others have been taken by Pete and his crew and are each held in different parts of the theme park.  It's up to Mickey to rescue the others otherwise the event will be ruined and Pete will have the upper hand, possibly try to run it himself.
But he cannot go unprepared, so Mickey straps himself with two balloon tanks on his back and brings along a big supply of balloons.  One will fill it up with helium and the other will fill it up with water.  So as Mickey prepares himself Minnie wishes him luck on his mission and the journey begins.  Will our brave mouse succeed in his Japan-exclusive Disneyland endeavor?

Would you look at that pirate ship looming in
the distance!  =)
This is a 2D sidescrolling platformer, with a diverse set of controls to back you up throughout your quest.  Mickey controls good to a point (more on that shortly), for he's got two sets of balloons in his disposal which he can use to either attack enemies or float in the air to make further progress in each area.  By holding the Y button you'll be filling the balloons with water, and the bigger the balloon is the more impact it will have on the enemy.  You could even drop it on your enemies from above and even use it to bounce yourself upward.  Holding down the X button will fill it with helium, being light enough to take you midair.  However, the longer you hold down the button the more the helium gauge will decrease.  Depending on how much you've got left, you can launch yourself really far in any of the eight directions you please should you let go and pop the balloon.  You can drop yourself down if you let go of the X button without touching the control pad; it's even possible to throw the balloon upward by itself while you duck.  Mickey can also jump, duck, swim, and run as well by double tapping, although the running controls aren't exactly responsive here.  At the end of each stage you'll be fighting against Pete, who'll always be attacking you in different ways.

Pete has come to haunt you for defeating him
so many times in the past!  O=
The areas in this game look really good, and I like how each division of Disneyland has their own unique look and feel.  =)  The stages are brimming with color and there is a good amount of detail and charm in each of them.  One such example is the first stage, which is the Adventureland portion of the park where it's mostly rendered in blue hues, which then segues to a fiery exposition inside a building, leading outside the cave into the open sea with the sky beautifully lathered with shining stars.  Another takes place in Tomorrowland where it's all futuristic but whimsical at the same time, ending in a rollercoaster ride to the shuttle under a gorgeous night sky.  The third stage is refreshing to look at as it's really colorful and it largely takes place outside with all the critters and the water-filled log rides.  Every other area looks great as well, and some of the ending shots are truly fascinating.

Donald was overjoyed when Mickey told him
they would star in a Nintendo-exclusive Mickey &
Donald
 game the following year
I would also like to give a shout out to the character and enemy designs here, they are fun to look at!  I like how simple Mickey's design is here as oldschool as it is, and the animations he exhibits are really nice and charming. Like Pete whenever you face him, you face various forms of his henchmen (in one stage they might be pirates while in another they'll don astronaut gear), and a few of them might disguise themselves as mimic chests (don't you just love those?).  Aside from the henchmen you might have to put up with creatures like ghosts, robots, fish, bats, bees, crocodiles (?), and even dragons among others; I think the roster of enemies are designed nicely.  Pete's diverse get-ups are brilliant, especially the last one, which I'll get to.  Even Mickey's friends look good here, especially Scrooge McDuck.  Yes, you read right, Scrooge McDuck is in a Mickey Mouse game, how awesome is that???  =D
"Hot dog!  It sure is swell to see ya, Scrooge!"  =)
"It's a pleasure to catch up with me favorite mouse again!"  =)
"I hear that we'll be in another game eighteen years from now."
"Yes, that is true, Mickey!  See you again in Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion!"
"Oh, boy, that game is gonna to be a classic, haha!"  =D
"Dinnae get ye hopes up, laddie."  =(

Trapped in a room full of treasure and pirates
dressed up as treasure chests
Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken, in my opinion, has a largely good soundtrack.  It's not only fun to listen to (for the most part), but it also helps lend a lot of atmosphere to the surroundings, which has a fantastic end result.  =)  The choice of instrumentation is interesting but it's really good.  The third stage theme is wonderful, for it's so lighthearted and evokes a lot of charm; the fourth stage theme is mysterious yet quirky, and the fifth stage theme is so beautiful and ambient that it is just breathtaking.  The title and ending themes are cool, and the boss themes are fun and catchy.  The sound effects are decent, for they're not bad.  Whenever Mickey gets hurt he makes a squeaking sound, the air and water balloons sound fairly accurate, and the rest are all right.

This area looks cool, cool as ice
The main goal of the game is to save all your friends and vanquish Pete (six times) so he won't take over Disneyland.  There are six stages in the game, and at the end of each stage is a friend awaiting your rescue.  In order they are Daisy, Donald, Elvira "Grandma Duck" Coot, Scrooge McDuck, Goofy, and finally Pluto.  However, as is customary in games like these, it's a lot easier said than done.  In Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken's case it's truly an accomplishment that is easier said than done because it's a very challenging game.  I'm not kidding, not even Mickey's Wild Adventure can touch this as far as high difficulty goes.  Okay, I should probably go into this in full detail.

Tomorrowland is ahead of its time!  =)  I love
it!
The game has three difficulty settings, and depending on the setting there may be more or less obstacles in each area than in others.  Your health is depicted as small balloons, and you have a high health count for your capacity is eight balloons, no matter the setting you play.  On easy you begin with eight balloons, on normal you start with five, and on hard you commence with three, but that's not the only difference.  Depending on which setting you play you may have to battle more or less enemies, there might be more obstacles to avert, and there may be less to no secondary platforms on Hard (near the end of the sixth stage particularly).  The boss fights won't be different, but some elements in the stages (a giant ghost creeping up on you on the way up in the beginning of the fourth stage for example) might be faster than they were if you were playing the easier modes.  But that's not all!

Astronaut Pete fighting Mickey in a moving
shuttle
Part of the reason the game is as difficult as it is is due to the way the controls were structured.  Using air and water balloons to aid your journey is actually a really interesting play mechanic, but the controls aren't spectacular.  Mickey's jumps take a bit to get right, when he's underwater he doesn't swim fast enough (but it is possible to walk and run underwater so long as you've got enough oxygen), and the air balloons take so much practice to get right as there are moments that require you to time your launches right.  Some moments require that you do consecutive flights in mid-air, but if you let go at the wrong time then you'll fall straight down.  There's also the deal with holding down the direction you want to fly to once you pop the balloon, making sure you don't pop it while not pressing any direction unless you feel you have no choice.  The controls aren't bad, though, they're really not, for they can be managed with enough time and practice.  All they needed was a bit of fine-tuning.

Riding a mine cart as you avoid being struck
by swooping vultures
In my newest Super Castlevania IV review I expressed my disapproval for being knocked back by enemies on certain games (not all of them), and I don't know if I stated it, but the reason that bugs the hell out of me is because until you're back on the ground (or until you lose a life) you cannot do anything about it!  But you want to know what's worse than being sent back after being in contact with an enemy?  How about momentarily losing control as you're knocked straight down?  =(  It's not much of a problem if it happens on top of a platform, but should you sustain damage while you're flying through the air on top of a bottomless pit, then you'll be falling straight down to your death.  And admittedly it can get a bit annoying when it happens.  Another aspect that makes the difficulty what it is are the stage designs.  While several of the stages are designed nicely, there are a few that can be really hair-raising at best, in particular Stage 6-3 where you must successfully fly through the stage consecutive times with your balloon while timing it right; there are a few secondary platforms in the easier setting then there are on Hard (where there are none).  Failure to do so will result in starting the portion over again.  The way this stage portion is designed is so devious that it can get frustrating.  What could possibly be make all that worthwhile?

*crackling thunder*
*blinks* =o
=O
<=O  *blinks*  <=D
*summoning his minions as he blows you away*
<='D
.......  *applauds enthusiastically*  WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!  =D
BEST PETE EVER!!!!!!!!

Okay, let me explain.  First of all , look at the overall theme and tell me you do not recognize it!  The fact that it's paying homage to the under-appreciated (in my book) 1985 animated film The Black Cauldron is pretty awesome, and Pete dressed up as the Horned King is genius!  Second, I love how dark and foreboding the background is for it does a great job of evoking darkness and is part of why it's outstanding!  Third, I love the way the battle is set up and the several phases you'll be going through, as it is just epic!  And speaking of epic, just listen to that music!  It just screams "final confrontation" and is proud of it!  =)  I don't care if this game isn't as good as Capcom's Mickey's Magical Adventure trilogy or even Mickey's Wild Adventure, this ultimate battle against Pete just trumps them all!  =D  It might not seem like it from just looking at these still shots but trust me, when you play this game and experience it for yourself you will be overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence that is Horned Pete.  As far as I'm concerned this makes the trip all worth it.  Wow, am I excited!  =D  *dons pair of shades*  B-)  Yeah.

Ride down the water
All right, so time for my final thoughts on Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken.  What do I think?  Even though I pointed out the flaws with its controls and how some elements attribute to its difficulty, it's actually a pretty fun game.  =)  Granted, some polish with the jumping and air balloon controls would've been nice, and some stage designs were a little too long or dastardly designed, but honestly there's so much that makes up for those.  The areas are so wonderful to look at (some of them are even surreal, which work so well), and the soundtrack is mostly great (the only exception being the Cinderella's Castle theme because it can get very depressing and annoying after awhile due to the difficulty).  As I said before, the balloon system is pretty clever and the way it was executed is pretty decent.  I enjoy the interaction between Mickey and his friends even though it's all in Japanese, and there is so much charm to be found here.  There's a password system to continue your progress, and thankfully it's only comprised of four character slots filled with basic shapes.  Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken is one of those games where you'll see more of the ending the higher the difficulty setting you play, and the finale scenario is very rewarding, especially after you beat Horned Pete which is just an epic final boss battle to boot.

While I've never been to Disneyland, I do wish to go there someday since I often hear that it's a fun place to go; and the various areas found here give me a pretty good idea of how it would be like in there (minus the spikes, enemies trying to hurt you, trap doors, and bottomless pits, that is).  It might be frustrating at times, but the challenge is commendable (there is a clever yet peculiar way of crossing through wind gusts without being blown upward in the second stage) and it's a fun way to spend an hour and a half; I think GRC made a very good game here.  Maybe not as great as the second Super Famicom-exclusive title starring Disney's mouse Mickey & Donald: Magical Adventure 3 (more on that awesomeness another day), but it's good fun in its own right. If you want to play a Mickey Mouse that offers a good amount of challenge, you'll find it right here.  If you're looking for something easy, you may want to skip this one.  If you enjoy all (good) things Disney, I recommend you import it and give it a shot.  It's definitely worth playing, and I'm glad got it last year, as I enjoy playing it every once in awhile.  =)
7.5/10
Thank you for reading my review, please leave a comment and I hope you have a great day! Take care!  =)
P.S.: As long as we're talking Disney, I hope DuckTales Remastered on the Nintendo Wii U will serve as a great comeback for Scrooge McDuck; it's a shame that most kids nowadays don't know about him or his many adventures.  Yes, I heard the news regarding the game's focus group, and I can't help but find that sad.  =(
P.S. 2: Was I excited over Horned Pete or what?
P.S. 3: Any time you hold down the Select button while standing still Mickey will look directly at the screen.  Uhhhhhm...  point, game?  =\
P.S. 4: I wanted to add more in the post-scripts by briefly venting my thoughts towards certain Disney shows I don't personally like, and how I blamed some of them for the above news, but it would've taken too long so I decided not to.  =(
P.S. 5: One more thing:
for those that played this game, did anyone actually reach that chest up above?  I tried and I tried but I could never obtain it!

4 comments:

  1. Nice review!

    I've thought about tracking down this title before, but I had kind of forgotten about it until just now reading your review. I'll have to track down a copy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. =) I have to warn you though, the game packs a mean challenge, but if you persevere then it will be manageable.

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  2. Again, I do agree that the game is good, and for a licensed game, that is good news.

    Yeah, I do detest the KB system when it's not ironed out. When it is, hey, I'm satisfied that I don't take cheap KB I can't fight back against because I made some "mistake" that in fact has a horribly counterintuitive solution. But when it isn't, yeah, being effectively 1HKed because I got hit is so stupid. I praise Kid Icarus Uprising for doing something to address the fact that unconditional flinching turns you into a punching bag, something that horribly plagues Super Smash Bros. beyond belief. And yeah, as to Mickey no Tokyo, that #%^&*%#$&* vulture section I do agree about.

    6-3, I will agree on because of how self-explanatory that issue is. It's a miracle I got it on my first go during my LP.

    As to that stumper treasure chest:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ERyPqdv4x0
    5:18. You have to place a filled water balloon on the edge and then dash jump off of it to bump your head into the rocks. It's precise, so I myself needed a few repeat tries to hit the blocking rocks.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tip, Master Knight, that really helps! =) That one chest has been really bothering me since the first time I first played the game, as it seemed liked I couldn't get to it; I'll try that technique you shared the next time I play it.

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