It certainly is a Summer for great Disney games, isn't it? Along with Disney Infinity coming our way in August, we're getting a double dose of nostalgic favorites with Capcom's DuckTales Remastered and Sega's Castle of Illusion HD Starring Mickey Mouse. But this isn't the only year that we've seen Disney magic come to life in video games.
So we've decided to be old-school and look back at some of the best games involving the House of Mouse over the years... and we don't just mean Mickey Mouse exclusively. Other franchises also got a taste of Disney magic in their own little way…and here they are.
Of course we're going to start with DuckTales. This game got a HUGE amount of attention at PAX East a couple of months ago when Remastered was announced, even to the point that older gamers were singing along to the theme song during Capcom's press conference. The original is still a treat, filled with plenty of cane-hopping fun and boss battles, as well as hidden items that will keep you exploring for hours. The hard-to-find sequel DuckTales 2 is worth playing as well.
Kingdom Hearts (Square Enix)
One of the greatest moves that Square Enix managed to accomplish was teaming up with Disney to create a breathtaking new role-playing series, one that would take new characters and combine them with some old favorites like Goofy and Donald. The result was a series that would become one of the company's most popular with audiences both young and old. Even though we won't be seeing a part three anytime soon, we will get Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix on PlayStation 3 later this summer. If you haven't tried this series yet, you won't find a better place to start.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Sega)
Back when Sega was looking to push its 16-bit Genesis console, it got a major boost with some help from Disney. Castle of Illusion remains one of Mickey Mouse's greatest game accomplishments, with simplistic yet enjoyable hop-n-bop gameplay, lusciously designed worlds and gems around every corner. We can hardly wait to see what the HD treatment has in store for the gaming community, and we'll let you know what we think of it following E3.
Disney's Aladdin (Sega)
We've seen the debates on Twitter with folks insisting that the SNES version of Disney's Aladdin, produced by Capcom, easily tops Sega's version for the Genesis. Upon closer inspection, they're both really great games. Still, if we were stuck in the magic lamp with just one version, it'd have to be the Genesis one. Featuring great music from Tommy Tallarico (straight from the film), strong Disney animations, classic David Perry-produced gameplay and lots of laughs (guards wear boxers in the desert?), it simply is a dream come true. But, if you own a SNES, that version isn't too shabby either – especially if you love Capcom games.
Mickey Mania (Sony Imagesoft)
Before David Jaffe got rolling with Twisted Metal games and other creative endeavors, he worked with Sony Imagesoft on a Disney platforming adventure, one that would be a stand-out for Disney games in the passing years. Mickey Mania ingeniously puts players into classic Mickey cartoons, including Steamboat Willie and The Mad Doctor, as he attempts to save older versions of himself from peril. Featuring great music, wonderful gameplay and some cool visual effects (for the time anyway), it was right up there in quality with Castle of Illusion. It's just a shame that the PSOne version didn't get a digital release on PlayStation Network here like it did in Europe.
Chip n' Dale's Rescue Rangers (Capcom)
DuckTales wasn't the only franchise to find its footing on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System. Chip n' Dale also made a splash with not one, but two fun adventures. The Rescue Rangers games supported co-op, so you could team up with a friend to defeat enemies, collect items and just plain have fun. For good measure, you could also throw your ally at someone, in case you were feeling mischievous. The sequel Rescue Rangers 2 fared just as well as the original, though fewer copies were made, which makes it a collector's item on eBay today. Hopefully we'll one day get an HD remake of these games, just like we're getting for DuckTales. In the meantime, track down these games and bring a friend.
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (Sega)
Following up on the original Castle of Illusion, this sequel adding Donald Duck into the mix. This allowed for one of three ways to play through the game – either as Mickey or Donald or working together in a co-op fashion. Each version was different, with new stages and enemies to conquer, and the gameplay was simply divine with a lot of magic put behind it, despite being simpler than Castle. Throw in awesome music and graphics, and you have an adventure that deserves a second chance on the digital front. If Castle of Illusion sells well enough, we just might get it. Fingers crossed.
Tron 2.0 (Disney Interactive)
The team at Monolith Productions – the same ones that made F.E.A.R. such a ghoulishly good ride – did a solid job recreating the Tron universe for this first-person shooter. The game is filled with plenty of twists and turns and neat visuals as you found your way through this alternate universe. Another highlight was the light cycle battles, which represented a new way to play them (unlike the 80's arcade version) where every right turn counted. The Xbox version of Tron 2.0 wasn't bad, but if you're looking for definitive version then the PC version is the way to go.
What are your favorite Disney games?