Genre: Platform Developer: Sega of Japan Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1994
Legend of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is another game in Sega’s long running Illusion series that first started on the Genesis. This game, in my opinion, is the weakest offering in the entire series. Legend of Illusion starts off with King Pete hearing of a curse that’s killing the tree of life and drying up the river. He is told to go out and save the land but is a coward. He then calls upon his laundry boy Mickey and sends him on the quest in his place. Pete, of course, becomes the final boss when he tries to stop Mickey once he learns that whoever saves the land will become the king forevermore. Along the way, he meets Donald and Goofy, who are also kings of other lands. The story is pretty weak, to say the least, and it’s nothing more than your typical “save the world” plot with the Disney cast of characters tacked on.
The gameplay is not unlike the other games in the Illusion series, but this time around it goes for the most completely heartless, lackluster and generic feel that it can. Since Mickey is a launderer, he attacks very short ranged by throwing soap at his enemies. He can still pick up blocks and treasure chests like the rest of the series, but it takes a back seat for most of the game other than the final fight against King Pete. The bosses, though varied, still have painfully simple patterns and are overly easy, but they take too long to defeat and many of them were pretty monotonous for me by time I was done with them.
The game’s highlight is the graphics. They are (thankfully) very detailed and varied across the dozen or so stages, my favorite being the cave with the crystals. Mickey is also animated quite well, as are the bosses, and the cut scenes in between stages add a nice touch despite only glamorizing the overly cookie cutter plot. The Sega Master System and Genesis Illusion games featured some pretty memorable music, and I was hoping that the great tunes would carry on with Legend, but instead I was let down by generic tune after generic tune and by the game’s painfully bland sound effects.
I wanted to like this game as a whole more, but I just can’t. The jumping is twitchy and imprecise, and sometimes you have to hit the button several times to pick up an object. I can’t tell you how frustrated I was with the final fight against Pete because you have to grab the bombs he throws in midair and if you don’t catch them just right you’ll miss them. It’s just a lazy programming flaw and nothing more.
I know it’s a kid’s game, but they still could’ve done plenty better with the storyline. Coupled with the boring and finicky gameplay, it really brings this game down severely. Legend of Illusion is not a bad game by any means; it’s just that it couldn’t be more painfully average or uninspired. Capcom did brilliant stuff with Disney and so did Sega on its other consoles, so there’s no reason for this game to be so halfhearted. I can’t really recommend Legend of Illusion to anyone, even Disney or platform game fans, as there are just too many better titles out there. As it stands, I find this one to just be really boring.
SCORE: 5 out of 10