So I kinda like Disney. Let’s rephrase that; I LOVE classic animation. The amount of work it takes is absolutely staggering, and it’s better for it. With the introduction of computers; the usage of the hand drawn style of old isn’t used as much anymore, but some people use it now for a distinct style from the rest of the crowd (Cuphead for example). Let’s take a look at a game all about classic cartoons; Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mania is a platformer released by Traveler’s Tales and Sony Imagesoft in 1994. The game was released on the Genesis, Sega CD and SNES in 1994, and on the PlayStation in 1996. It was originally going to be released for Mickeys 65th birthday, but that idea was scrapped when they realized that would give them only six months to make the game. Mickey Mania involves Mickey (what a surprise) traveling back in time to various locations from his past to retrieve his past selves to stop Pete from doing whatever the hell Pete does. This is a simple platformer; run, jump, throw projectiles, solve simple puzzles; the works. Since this a shorter game, I’ll be structuring this by level. So with out further ado…
Steamboat Willie (November 18th, 1928)
You know Steamboat Willie; don’t you? Even if you haven’t seen the cartoon; everybody and their goldfish knows that classic whistle. The level is the first level, so it’s a walk in the park, however for what it lacks in challenge; it makes up in charm. There’s references from the original cartoon oozing from every nook and cranny in this level; heck the game as a whole is charming! I’ll talk you through the level. It starts with Mickey traversing the iconic steamboat while dodging music notes, steam, cats and chickens. You pass Mickey’s Steamboat counterpart on the way to the next part of the stage; the wharf. In the wharf; you’re bouncing on clones of that jerk parrot from the original cartoon and for some reason; the world gains color. Your path is blocked by Captain Pete, but the game tells you to take an alternate route and ring some bells. For whatever reason; Pete doesn’t like the bells, so he walks away. Now you fight Pete; who barely puts up a fight (All he does is spit tobacco at you), and promptly kill him. Level one’s not even over and Mickey has already committed Homicide. You jump on his corpse, jump on some falling boxes, then it’s boss time!
This is the boss. Two boxes dropping bombs and sometimes springs. You use the springs to bounce up and throw marbles at the gears to break them. That is the boss. Also while playing the game for this article; I glitches this boss. While throwing a marble at the last gear I needed to break; I got hit and died, but I died at the same time I hit the gear and won the boss; so I saw the death animation but still got the win message. Weird huh? Well on to visuals and music, and hot diggity dog; does this game look great! The stretchiness of the character’s actions, the animation on the sprites, the details in the background; it looks wonderful. The music is pretty good too! I’m playing the SNES version of this game so keep that in mind. It doesn’t use the classic Steamboat whistle we are all aware of; which is honestly refreshing; it uses a nice tune nonetheless. The Wharf theme is good too; even though it reminds me a little bit of Elmo’s Song for some reason. I had to google and listen to Elmo’s Song for this blog. I’ve lost control of my life. Oh well, moving along.
The Mad Doctor (January 20th, 1933)
From this level on, I’ll try to speed things along. The game allows you to take five hits before you die; which you will need all of those hits to make it through the level. This is showcased in this level. While traversing though the castle, there will be these skeletons as your main enemy in this stage. When you kill one; their bones scatter everywhere, which hurts you if you touch one. It’s almost impossible to not get hit while defeating one of these guys. Later in the level; you get put on this cart going a thousand miles per hour; and you’re supposed to dodge buzzsaws. It’s short, but you can lose your 3 to 5 lives doing this part. The worst part is you get one continue; which puts you back at the beginning of the level, but if you game over; it’s back to Steamboat Wille for you! The game does give you ample heath pick-ups; if you choose to risk your life for them that is. Enough about this level! Boss time!
Surprise! It’s the Mad Doctor himself! Like the skeletons; if you hit him he throws a bunch of objects at you, but this time they’re potions that explode! Great. You do get a bunch of health refills (see the stars in the picture above). This level looks great; the stuff in the foreground is a nice touch, the backgrounds are well detailed, and it just looks foreboding doesn’t it? The Mad Doctor theme is something akin to Spooky Scary Skeletons, so I automatically like it. Well that’s that. What could be more terrifying than spider-skeletons, normal skeletons, and bats? Well…
Moose Hunters (February 20th, 1937)
The first time I played this I never heard of Moose Hunters. I watched it. It was a good cartoon. After beating this level I never wanted to look at a moose again. This was one of the most infuriating levels for a first time player ever. I mean that. The level is just one long screen. That’s it. The obstacles include falling tree branches that come down to fast for you to react too, moose that charge at you which Pluto warns you to jump over by pointing at it (I didn’t see Pluto do this for a while, so it was basically random), and boulders that make it hard to jump over the charging moose. I almost put this game down and never picked it back up again thanks to Moose Hunters, but the sad thing is I love the look and music in this thing. Just look at that background! It looks like a Bob Ross painting! And MAN the SNES version of this theme is really good! Instead of the country banjo for the Playstation or like an Egypt theme in the Genesis; it uses a more “Frolicking in the forest” thing. Ugh, and to top it all off; the boss in this is really easy. You just eat apples to keep running from the moose and try not to trip on rocks. Just… let’s move along…
Lonesome Ghosts (December 24, 1937)
Strap in fellas; this is when the game gets hard. Ghosts! Lots and lots of ghosts being jerks, because they’re bored. They do all sorts of spooky things; like flood the house or raise the floor. They are everywhere! Some throw their hats, some hit you with planks of wood, some just kinda float there. The level looks great! The snowy outside, the spooky basement, the calamity of the haunted halls; it’s all great. The music is pretty alright too; with the Basement theme being all spooky, and The Haunted Halls theme called Phantasmal Jokers is cheerful; like those wacky ghosts. There is no boss in is stage. Huh. At the end at the stage; you see Ghost Hunter Mickey repeatedly running into a wall; which I will find infinitely funny. The day I get a gif of that; I can die happy.
Mickey and the Beanstalk (September 27, 1947)
Well right off the bat; if there’s one word to describe this level it’s vibrant. The enemies are large and detailed; the vast background ; it looks wonderful. The music is okay; I guess. The first part of the level is pretty mellow and nice; the second part of the level literally uses Moose Hunters again; the third part I’m neutral on; and the fourth part is okay I suppose. Once again no boss… I think I’m running out of steam… Luckily one last level to go! The Prince and The Pau-
The Band Concert (February 23rd, 1935)
Wait, what? What’s this doing here? This is a bonus level in the Genesis one; I don’t need to talk abo- Screw it, let’s just get this over with. This is the first Mickey cartoon to have color, and it’s one of my favorites. Too bad it’s only used as a bonus game. You find this by finding a secret in Mickey and the Beanstalk. You jump from box to box until you reach Band Concert Mickey at the top; where you get an extra continue. The look is quite nice with a nice 3D effect on the boxes. This 3D effect is used many times in the SNES and Genesis versions. The song is sort of based on Flight of the Bumblebee; which isn’t the one that they used in the original cartoon, but it fits nicely hear anyway. No more surprises! It’s time for…
The Prince and the Pauper (November 16th, 1990)
Well this certainly is a jump ahead; isn’t it? I’ve never seen this one before, but I have heard of it. I scanned the Wikipedia article, and all I got out of it was that Horace Horsecollar teaches Prince Mickey trigonometry. The thought of Horace teaching trig makes me want to watch this flick. I’m rambling aren’t I? My apologies. Anyway this level is the last challenge! The final stretch is here, and the amount of crossbowmen and dagger throwers is disconcerting at first, but if you tough it out… you’ll make it past the first part of the level. The next part of the level contains even more enemies! Think that’s it? You climb up a tower while the fires of hell burn below you, THEN you climb the inside of the tower with enemies inside it while those same fires chase you faster. Mickey Mouse everybody.
After one last hallway of despair; it’s time for the final boss. The one, the only, Pete! He ground pounds, throws swords, sends spike balls. When he ground pounds; he’ll send down a spiked plank of wood. You put it under him when he ground pounds five times, then it’s on to phase two! More spike balls and a new strategy. Hit the buttons in the corners to send wrecking balls down and your done! The level looks (once again) great; nothing more to add here. The PAP theme is an upbeat medieval romp and OH MAN THAT FINAL BOSS THEME. Glorious I tell you; Glorious.
This is the second time I’ve beat this game, and I still enjoyed it. This is a beautiful, yet flawed game. We need to spread the word about this game. Maybe one day; we can get a remastered version of Mickey Mania, like DuckTales or Castle of Illusion, but until then..
That’s all Folks!