Castle of Illusion (MS): COMPLETED!

Castle of Illusion.
Aww. What they don’t realise, is there’s a cat just outside. Waiting.

I have always maintained that 16bit Disney platformers (and, actually, most of the newer ones than that) are dire. Without exception. Yes, even Aladdin. Even World of Illusion. Even Quackshot. All of them. 8bit Disney platformers, however, are a different class. On both the Master System and NES, there’s a massive selection of quality Disney titles, and one of the best, is Castle of Illusion.

Castle of Illusion

It tells the same story as the Mega Drive game with the same name, and broadly visits the same worlds as you try to save Minnie from the evil witch Mizrabel. The Master System version obviously looks cut down and isn’t as pretty as the 16bit version, but it plays so much better. The levels have more platforming to them, the carrying items mechanic adds a bit more to the game, and Mickey doesn’t throw apples for no reason at all.

Castle of Illusion is fun from start to finish, with some excellent bosses (I’d never noticed before how the chocolate boss rips off a classic Mega Man mid-boss before though!) and clever level design. There’s a bit in the clock tower level where you have to use the same key twice via two different routes which I thought particularly ingenious. It takes a slight shortcut hiding two of the seven necessary Rainbow Gems in the levels rather than have seven levels (therefore having just five), but that’s hardly a big complaint.

Land of Illusion next? I think so…

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Sonic the Hedgehog (MS): COMPLETED!

Sonic the Hedgehog
Impossible.

Sonic the Hedgehog on the Master System was, at the time, quite an achievement. It may not have been as technically polished as the Mega Drive original, but it was a good approximation given the more limited hardware, and it steered away from simply being very, very fast by focussing more on the platforming. I quite enjoyed it at the time.

It has been quite a long time (read: over a decade, I expect) since I last played 8bit Sonic the Hedgehog, and several things surprised me: It was just as easy as I recall. It stands up better today than I expected. Mostly, I was amazed at how I still remembered where all of the hidden Chaos Emeralds were. Except for the one in Scrap Brain Zone which I stumbled across, luckily.

Those electricity pylons are really weedy compared to the Megadrive ones.

It’s a fun platformer with some excellent music (Jungle Zone was always my favourite, and still is) and one of the best games of its type on the Master System. When you compare it, technically, to earlier games like Psycho Fox and Alex Kidd (both still excellent) this does things unheard of on the console at the time.

And that’s it completed, with all the Chaos Emeralds in tow. Excellent.