Genre: Platformer Developer: Capcom/Disney Publisher: Capcom Players: 1-2 Released: 1994
Ahhh, yet another Genesis game from my youth. Looking back, I really did play a lot of Disney and cartoon-based games. But thankfully I had the right judgment of playing the better ones, such as this well-rounded platformer by Capcom.
The Great Circus Mystery stars Mickey and Minnie Mouse in an all new adventure. In a surprising twist, it was developed and released by Capcom in 1994. It is technically a sequel to the SNES game Disney’s Magical Quest, but for the Genesis version of the game, the Magical Quest subtitle has been removed, since there was no Magical Quest 1 released on Genesis.
This game stars Mickey and Minnie in their first co-op Adventure. Mickey and Minnie are on their way to the carnival for a nice day, when they arrive at the carnival just to see everything wrecked and abandoned by Baron Pete! Both want to find out what’s up, so they go off on an adventure to find Baron Pete.
The gameplay of this game is rather interesting. Mickey and Minnie have a variety of different costumes that they change into that give them different abilities. Almost one different one is found in each level, from a sweeper outfit that sucks up enemies, to a cowboy outfit that has you bouncing on a wooden horse shooting corks out of pop-guns. It gives a wide variety of different gameplay options, especially since you can change outfits on-the-fly at any point in the levels. You basically just go from level to level progressing through each stage. Simple platformer gameplay, but spiced up with each of the different costume’s abilities.
There are five different levels in Great Circus Mystery, each very diverse. You go from the abandoned carnival, to a haunted house, to ice caves, and many other different places. The levels are also designed very well, and their layouts change continuously throughout the levels. Not one level in the entire game looks the same the entire way through. In order to finish a level, you have to get through the whole level from left to right and fight two bosses. You fight a mid-boss halfway through the level, and another boss at the end.
Another interesting thing about the gameplay is that along the way you collect coins hidden in blocks and enemies that you can spend in a shop run by Clarabelle Cow that’s behind a door in a specific place in each of the levels. Sometimes there may be one door that leads to the shop; other times there may be two. In the shop you can upgrade your outfits and buy extra lives.
And to top the game off, you don’t need to play it all in one sitting. There’s a password system, and as many continues as you like. Great Circus Mystery is pretty easy and also pretty short though, so I wouldn’t find any reason for someone to not finish it within a few hours. The co-op also makes for some good fun when a friend is over. Whereas most platformers have the disgustingly boring alternating gameplay, this game freshens things up with simultaneous play with a buddy.
The graphics are pretty good. Everything is detailed, crisp, with some of that Disney feel. But it doesn’t really feel all that much like a cartoon compared to say, World of Illusion or Quackshot. Sure, it’s bouncy and animated just the way a game based off of a cartoon should be, but that Capcom style and layout is still seen here. That doesn’t affect the game very much though.
The sound is pretty good, all the songs sound very appropriate for the levels. There’s carnival music at the carnival, eerie music in the haunted house, the usual. Nothing sounds really out of the ordinary or bizarre. The sound effects fit their purposes well enough and don’t really stand out. There is a decent variety to them as well, so you don’t have to hear the same thing over and over again throughout the game. The sound effects are also placed lower in terms of volume to the background music.
In Conclusion, Capcom delivers a good all-around Disney platformer with The Great Circus Mystery. It doesn’t feel or look very similar to Castle of Illusion and the other Sega-made Disney games, but it can still hold its own against them.